makingthenoise (mtn); photo by Joshua Schnable.

It’s actually paradoxical to talk about music “made” on the monome. The monome, the open controller, is after all, a grid of buttons. It has no sound of its own. But as such, perhaps its design as a blank canvas – without any indication of how a single button may function, without a screenprinted logo or name – that allows computer musicians to project upon it whatever they wish. The monome, more than any other object designed since the emergence of computer performance, is emblematic of what digital music can be. It’s an empty digital grid, like viewing the world of music software under a microscope.

It’s also, therefore, possible for the monome to disappear, leaving behind a spectrum of what people are doing with music on computers. That was what was most striking to me about the music of the monomeet on Saturday in Princeton, NJ: it covered a range of techniques, from glitchy granulation to breakbeat rhythms derived from turntables. Listen to what

In the lineup: tehn (aka Brian Crabtree), the instrument’s creator, playing on the Max/MSP patch mlr that is partly responsible for the monome’s set, through Daedelus, Brian’s friend who helped raise awareness of the strange box of buttons around the world. There are also fantastic sounds from mtn (makingthenoise), picture in the photos here, Edison, ro, %, and altitude sickness.

Here’s what the live sets sounded like. Bet you you can’t hear the monome.

Latest tracks by monomeet

More photos from the event:

makingthenoise (mtn); photo by Joshua Schnable.


tehn in action; photo by me.

  • Feels like watching the birth of the future.

  • It was a great time for everyone. I came away with the same thought… It was interesing to see the different genres and styles that people had while still utilizing the same hardware and set of software. It really revitalized my desire to start performing again. I felt like this type of musical performace is definitely the future. It is almost felt like it did when electronic music became prevelant in the underground rave seen in the 80s and 90s. I look forward to creating some unique sets and performing at some interesing venues.

  • 7oi

    damn! I'm feeling so much regret at the moment for putting my monome 64 up on ebay. It really is a beautiful box of buttons with a group of great musicians forming the community around it. I shall miss all that, but I kind of need the money, being a resident of the country that is the text book example of a country with a totally crushed financial system (Iceland). Fortunately, though, I still have my part time job in a bookstore and a monome to sell to provide to my family of 3, going on 4 in the next few days.

    …but I really wish I could hold on to my monome. Maybe, one day, I'll be able to afford another one, hopefully then a 128 or even 256. I hope so.

    Anyway, if someone's looking for a monome 64 and promises to take good care of it and use it a lot to make great music:

  • pirahna1

    This is like, all my current favorite artists at once. Edison, RO, %. Man, I need to get to the next meet!

    Has anyone attempted an Arduinome? I'd get a monome, but the prices/limited availability are too crazy for me.

  • hey!

    thanks for posting this peter!

    it was a really amazing weekend…

    hung out with tons of cool people…

    talked shop, and saw some of the most stunning electronic music performances to date…

    aint no stopping the monome family…!

    ya'll stay tuned!… i know tons of videos are on the way…..

  • newmiracle

    I'm SO amped for my Ohm64 coming in the mail ANY day now!

    My friends and I have been talking about the future of 'live' electronic performance. Controllers and their abilities and functions are obviously a huge part. The grid layout and the openness of the format seems to have some magic.

    When there's a blank slate for not just your product but also your tool, it kind of turns into the 'building your own lightsaber' type appeal. Everyone has their own style and quirks, even if there are broadly recongized standards and best practices.

    …wow I just nerded out there…

  • waw….

    everybody got reallllly worked up about the monomes after catching wind from novation's launchpad…

    was there some kind of upsetting going on?

  • Dustin


    I put together an Arduinome. It works great! As long as you know how to solder and install drivers and whatnot it's pretty easy. There is a really helpful community on the monome site too!! The only thing to be aware of is the Arduinome is substantially larger than the real monome. Even with the Arduinome I put together I'd really like to get a 256 someday. Even more options with 16 x 16! Very nice instruments, very well built!

  • Actually, on our own humble noisepages you'll find Owen and Jordan have put together a really extraordinary guide to the Arduinome (they were part of the group that originated the project).

    It should definitely be your first stop to learning how to build one, as they've put together the most complete and accurate directions. That plus having the forums folks to help you out is really exceptional.

    And to me, this is really the kind of 'clone' that's in the spirit of having open hardware. The whole project was all about making the gear more accessible.

    @7oi: oh, that's really quite sad. I hope we can find a way to get you another one, and to fetch a good price for it. I'd buy it off of you if I could afford it!

  • louis

    thanks for the Arduinome link peter! totally didn't know this existed. i think i might go and build one myself 🙂

    is an arduinome compatible with all max/msp monome patches?

    many thanks,


  • robb

    the max patches don’t even know what device they are connected to so, yes.

    Some apps may offer tilt functionality but I’m sure you can add that to the arduinome as well

  • 7oi

    @Peter thanks! It could be worse, though. I mean, I see all this talk about arduinomes and figure that I might just get what I need for one of those when our finances improve a bit. In any case, I might just try to sell my apartment before our possible move to NY next fall.

    I love the monome and all, but I'll regret more not being a part of the monome community for a while, or as edison put it into words, the monome family. man, I'm gonna miss that.

  • daniel door

    the daedelus live performance is so great, can't find any words describing what it does to my testicles/heart/whomb.

    thanks for the ardiunome link, peter, i was so into that launchpad thing last week, this week it's snyderphonics manta, but novembre is my time of year for big soldering projects and ardiunome it will be.

    your blog really encourages me to create digital music.

  • I wish I could have made it there!! I was in NYC on the day and I played there the night before but the tour exhaustion got the better of me. Hurrah for the monome.

  • bliss

    Was the best time I had all year. Met so many wonderful, smart people… even the publisher of this here blog. Mind expanding experience. Inspiring.

  • bliss

    Mind-expanding with a dash, to be exact. 😉

  • Was fantastic to meet you, too, bliss, after many virtual comments, etc. 🙂

    Generally, it's always lovely to meet folks I know virtually – which I think is a big part of why people came.


  • phineus

    …would've loved to be there with the stribe but my latest project (6mo old lucy) is keeping us busy at home – hope there's another meetup soon! blogged-about here: