edison – tonka truck from edison on Vimeo.

edison has become an underground sensation, a monome-playing virtuoso with soul. And now he’s just showing off. Sure, the monome lacks velocity sensitivity, but here, it remains an instrument, a 64-button sampler. It’s not so much the tool itself as the choice: edison has chosen to focus on this interface and build musical dexterity on its grid, to be a monome player. I caught the artist live at the monomeet, a get-together for the fans of the instrument, and can say he’s not just some online video wonder – if you can see him live, do it.

all one shot sounds…
no loops running….
64 buttons
64 noises….
shot on 2 HD cameras, 720p, 1 live take…..
with audio captured right to camera…..

this track is from my new album “all the information at hand”
available in january on kid without radio records…

big thanks to e-level, adam patch, mr. mike landry, dalia burde, brandon loper, eric herron, kyle westbrook, mattie bills, nava and brian and kelli

It’s the perfect way to round out this set of monome news, because it’s really more about the music than the monome.

  • Sjakelien

    This is highly impressive! Question though: would this be impossible on a regular keyboard?

    I would paraphrase: "it’s really more about sports than the monome"

  • Yeah, why not on a keyboard? Of course, there are certain advantages to having an 8×8 array instead of 1×88. 😉

  • love it!

  • For those in the NYC area who want to see some great performances featuring the monome (and probably a ton of other devices/methods), should mark their calendars for the in/out festival on Dec 12th (it's an all day thing):


    I'm sure Peter will have more on it closer to the event, but it's always good to have a heads up on this stuff, I find.

  • enuff_already

    "it's really more about the music than the monome."


    seems to me:

    it's really more about edison than the music.

  • cool buddy

    i think it's awesome!

    but it sure looks to me like there is a drum loop going on there….

    i'm just saying….

  • I think what he's saying is that the samples aren't re-triggering; he's triggering them.

    Oh, and I'm on vacation – slash – Thanksgiving week, so I'm not guaranteeing everything I write will necessarily be sharply insightful. I'm pleased to get the posts up. 😉

  • S Ford

    This is a great clip of the might Jel of Anticon records playing live on a MPC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk2KM22sbKA in a similar way. Not a Monome but it is a great tune!

  • Yeah, absolutely – lots of similarity here to the way people work with MPCs, so I figured MPC fans should like this, too!

  • edison rules!

    peter, have you seen this chili video?

  • NICK BLOWING UPPPPPPPPPPPP hahaha its good to see

    homie its well deserved.come visit seattle duder.

    big up big up big up!

  • Edward

    So was the song composed first on the monome or was the song composed in software then broken into clips which were then mapped to the monome for live playback.

  • Pingback: Das Kraftfuttermischwerk » Virtuose auf dem Monome: Edison()

  • Great stuff!!! Edison is such a great dude too…

  • edison


    thanks peter!

    and thanks folks!


    i guess a keyboard could do it…

    and for me, its about having fun and playing…

    i dont like sports….


    ya'll have fun man!

    wish i could be there to check it out!!!!


    thanks for listening hoss….

    keep trying…


    no drum loops running!

    it used to be a drum loop… but it was chopped and turned into 1 shot samples…

    there was no loops at all

    @S ford

    one of my heros!


    thanks homie! and everyone should peep chili's new ish…. excellent beat!


    man… im comin to seattle inna few!

    we gotta chill!


    the whole process is in ableton…

    from the drums…. to the sampling of my instruments… to the mixing and flipping… to the breaking and assigning…


    thanks man!

    keep that max4live going!

    cant wait to see what you guys comeup with!

  • dead_red_eyes

    S Ford, you beat me to it! I was going to say that this performance really reminded me a lot of Jel. This is great stuff!!! I think at some point, I'd probably forget which button triggers certain samples. Awesome stuff Edison!!! Great track and performance.

  • You've posted a ton of monome videos here and this is the first one that has actually stirred some emotion in me. It seems like a musical instrument for the first time.

    Very well done, edison.

  • Freddy

    hi hats and main melody are loops you cheater!

    Just kidding, nice performance Edison, somehow I keep thinking James Bond movie while listening to your songs 😉

    and… I insist your music would sound even better with a live band 🙂

  • David

    I can't stop thinking that for this scenario it would be easier (easiest?) to use a 7$ computer keyboard.

  • first of all this is a great video and a great song,but there is one thing i dont understand

    what is this hype about NOT using loops?

    arent loops cool anymore?

    if you think playing with loops is 'too easy', let me ask you a question; isnt playing chopped samples with quantized input easy too?

    ok its a little harder, and it for sure makes you look like you are really into what you are doing and you are doing something very cool and fast

    but basicly

    arent all these same?

    we are trying to trick the audience, and as long as they dont understand what we are doing, this means we are doing sth cool.

    its very nice to play this way live for one song but i always wondered how do people playing like this prepare their whole sets. isnt it very time consuming??

  • holy shit thats dope.

  • Vehical Driver

    That is what I think of, when I think of a "live performance". No sitting behind a laptop doing spreadsheets, he is actually playing. Does Edison do is entire live performance like that?

    Still, I don't know if it is really showing off the monome. You could do that with any midi controller really… or even with any sampling keyboard or MPC self contained.

  • Vehical Driver

    buggy boy:

    Playing chopped samples allows for improvisation that you can't do with a loop. If you break your loop up into 8 segments, for example, you can do 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 the first time around, and then 1-2-3-8-7-7-1-5 on the next time around, and you can be constantly switching it up. A loop you can only turn on or off.

    If I remember my math classes correctly, if you broke your beat into 8 segments per bar (or two), that gives you 40,320 different possible variations for each bar. That is a huge deal compared to a single monotonous loop.

  • clarity


  • That's great! Love the Brand Nubian, Pass The Gat reference.

  • S Ford

    @ Edison, I forgot to say great tune by the way. Keep on making making music bro. I reckon you've still got your best stuff to come; your '10 Seconds' or '64 Buttons' in your case….

    @Vehicle Driver

    Whether it is made on a MPC or a Monome means very little. It's someone making a great tune in front of our eyes, which is what matters most.

    To me anyway. Edison's done a great job, and whether the same tasks could be performed on a MPC, Novataion Launchpad, Akai APC40 is irrelevant.

    @Michael Moncur

    I am agreement that this is the first great 'musical' Monome video which has been posted on this site. Showcasing a piece of technology is different to using it making music. To make music you just don't need to be a geek but need talent, something which everyone doesn't have!

    Also, from the link for Edison's site above I came across this guy http://www.myspace.com/djegadz and this tune is just awesome http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P1W3xjUio8 which is being made entirely by mashing a akai mpd24 pad. Really awesome tune.

  • robb

    @vehical driver

    Yeah, he does whole performances like that. Also, there are way more than 8! permutations 😉


    Didn't you use MPCs before the monome? Any traces left of that?

  • Great performance,

    I've seen too many interesting new digital controls not being used to their full potential, because it actually takes time to master them.

  • Vehical Driver


    If it isn't 8!, is it 8^8?

    Anyway, I think it is fair to say there is a whole hell of a lot of variations compared to a single loop.

  • dope!

  • Sir Little Way

    If I worked this way, I'd definitely prefer the Monome or similar array over a standard keyboard – it's 8 vertical compared to a computer keyboard's 5, and it's a square space so it's never more than a diagonal reach to get your stuff done. Way easier to hit 5 buttons at once when you need to get on a change. The keys are lined up in a grid instead of diagonally shifted rows and spaced out a little more than a computer keyboard. This would definitely make it easier for me to know what I'm doing when I'm looking at it (my brain thinks in grids way better than diagonally shifted rows) and to hit buttons accurately without accidentally triggering neighbors. Also, the buttons look like they're that nice squishy rubber stuff with MPC-like feel. On top of all that you get the visual feedback of the light-up buttons explicitly showing you what sound is currently playing.

    If you can do that on a standard computer keyboard, best get out there and do it live – cause you a badass. Of course, an audience will think the Monome is way cooler and might not even get what you're doing if you use your keyboard. All you need is a cheap cam and some sort of video output and you've got instant viewer connection.

    Nice vid.

  • edison

    thanks everyone!

    @ buggy boy..

    i wasnt aware there was a "hype" on not using loops…

    and im not shure how im "tricking" folks…

    the video is a close-up of my hands..

    and yes i do every song in this fashion

    @s ford…

    thank you dood… thats very kind

    its funny you post egadz!

    thats my label manager…

    if you ever get to catch him live… he's incredible!

    so are all his records…

    we'll be touring soon!

    @ robb…

    yea i used to use an mpc…a dood left one at my house for like 9 months… then i got a 606 for the effects… then just went controller…

    hardware is a pain in the balls

    i love my setup now… i can build anything into any row anytime… in any order… that said… nothing sounds like drums through an MPC…. but i mean shit…. battery?! aint too shabby either!

    glad you guys enjoyed… and keep doing things the way you want… just dont stop doing it

  • tet

    Great job, always been a fan of more engaging performances like Edison's. I can't help but notice the similarity between the drum tracks in all his performances – mostly the same drum pattern at roughly the same BPM. I guess muscle memory becomes pretty engrained, especially when juggling that many different elements! Would love to see this change up a little bit more though… anyway, good stuff nonetheless!

    @ Edison – ever thought about bringing in a couple of foot-triggers into your setup? Of course, not as fun having to sit down for a performance… 🙂

  • S Ford


    Myspace says Egadz will be in London on May 8. I will try to get me and my beard down to that show!

  • @Vehical Driver

    Actually what i meant was not only pressing on/off. I love the idea of chopping loops and making new phrases.

    What i'm trying to say is this:

    everyone thinks/says playing loops is very easy and playing sth like chopped loops is very similar to playing loops in terms of difficulty, but it looks far more complex so people think its cool.


    im not accusing you of tricking someone:) im trying to point out the fact that trying to make a performance with a laptop is sth people dont like, so we -performers- need to show that we are ACTUALLY doing sth

  • edison



    sorry for the misread!

    my bad

    i fully agree with you…

    even on this site! people have expressed disdain for the laptop performer and non live element before…

    to each his own…


    the lore and magic charm of computer music is long long gone…

    we need to step in and seriously interact with our noise

    (everyone in their own way)

    and the audience will acknowledge…

    anyways… thanks man!

  • @edison

    impressive man, serious talent! This tour you speak of, does it include east coast dates around the NYC area?


    haha, thanks for the plug! I'm crazy excited about in/out, especially the workshops we've got planned. But the show is gonna be incredible: 6 hours of music for $10? hellsss yes

  • Daniel Ott

    Completely agree with Michael Moncur's comments. I've seen dozens of Monome videos on this site, and yet this one is the first to actually get me excited. It's inspiring me to finally get on with building my Monome kit and seeing what the baby can do!

  • edison



    naw sorry man

    west coast fer now…

    hopefully the east next time!



  • edison

    hey guys

    thanks to amazing folks like peter, brian crabtree and all ya'll who watched this…

    my label has decide to put up an advanced sale of the record…!

    check it out here:



  • This is the evolution of DJ Shadow's spawn. Funky stuff, Edison! I really like how it was filmed, too: having the face-on and top-down perspective is both educational and entertaining. Keep on bustin' those beats out with ATTITUDE!

    Playing samples live like this also adds swing and rawness, as opposed to a loop which is the same on every go-around — yes, you can edit, but realtime, as the name indicates, is spontaneous energy.

  • former fan

    i have to get something off my chest.

    i respect what edison is doing but something REALLY disturbs me.

    as soon as someone says something even remotely critical of him, his response is almost always the same; "keep trying" or "jealous because you can't do stuff". etc etc ad nauseum.

    i mean really edison…. do really really believe that you actually KNOW what we all do here behind our screen names? some of us just don't have the need to prove themselves anymore because we have evolved beyond that. you have absolutely no idea if the person leaving a comment is a garbage man or the keyboarder for peter gabriel's tour band.

    and do you really believe that because you have a few videos around or peter wrote some complimentary stuff about you that you can KNOW that your critics "can't do stuff"?!?

    a critic of edison automatically precludes their talent or success? oh please.

    i really do respect your "stuff" but your attitude is childish and embarrassing and is unfitting to your talent.

    please think about it.