my first monome video

Explanation Pending from GreaterThanZero on Vimeo.


Ableton Live provides a somewhat non-linear, modular approach to creating music. It’s popular amongst DJs in particular, and producers of hip-hop, but it has some great tools for my workflow as well.

Max/MSP/Jitter is a visual scripting language which creates and manipulates audio and video. It’s traditionally been popular in experimental avant garde circles, but a new generation of electronic musicians have adopted it, thanks in part to the monome.

The monome is a grid of buttons that light up, allowing you to tangibly manipulate any idea that can be expressed in a two-dimensional grid over time. It’s minimalist in design, and open-ended in function. This makes it an ideal interface for something as open-ended as Max/MSP/Jitter, and in many cases, the ideal instrument for musicians who work with samples. This creates a strange overlap in the user base, which makes their community a fun place to be.

Recently, these worlds have merged further with the release of Max for Live, which allow Max/MSP/Jitter developers to re-imagine what Ableton Live can be used for, and build new interfaces inside it.

I’m involved pretty heavily in the monome community, mostly helping people with Max for Live. I’ve created some tools of my own in it, and several of those are at work in this video.

Technical discussion of those will be found here. At least in theory. Thus far, it’s just me in there.

(This happens a lot when I post something too far outside of the norm. Does silence convey reverence, or pity? I’ve left the world dumbfounded.)

2 Replies to “my first monome video”

  1. cheers bra

    have you ever tried FL Studio? it is basically your monome but much more flexible in that you can shorten or expand the beat length. you can layer sounds more easily than i have seen in any other piece of software. you can create extremely complex soundstructures with very simple sounds. the step editor is a breeze and the piano bar opens up exponential possibilities.

    i have been working with that thing for over 10 years now and it keeps getting better with every release. now it is so good i disbanded my trusty old LIVE.

    see ya on hitrecord

    1. I do love fl-studio, but I haven’t touched it in years. I own a license, though. And they keep giving me new versions.

      When Microsoft announced that they were discontinuing support for OpenGL (in the then-upcoming Windows Vista), I freaked out and bought a Mac (and moved most of my production work to GarageBand, of all things). Unfortunately, this was like a month or two before Apple made the jump to Intel, so it wasn’t so easy to revisit my old programs.

      (I need to upgrade)

      Anyway… I think you have it backwards. I’m using the monome here as a step sequencer, which is indeed like a limited version of fl-studio. But, that’s very different than fl-studio being like the monome, because the monome is just an interface - it can run different apps, and behave very differently based on which apps you’re running.

      (I need to put up a “what the heck is this thing?” post)

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