barre3 NYC Mix

Barre3 is a yoga/ballet fusion studio here in Portland that my girlfriend Kait is obsessed with. She convinced me to check it out when she mentioned she heard a Claude Von Stroke track in class. I was caught off guard by how difficult of a workout it was! I also hit it off musically with the owner, Sadie Lincoln, and dj’ed a live class and reception last month for their two-year anniversary party. We worked side by side to create this mix for their media event in NYC this month. The intent of the mix is to flow with the progression of Sadie’s class, so it’s a different progression and genre from what I’d play in a club. Check it out here:


1. Maya Jane Coles – Love/Hate
2. Justin Timberlake v. Technotronic – Like I love you / Pump up the jam
3. Madonna v. Edson Pride – Get into the groove / Dreams
4. Tears for fears v. Pryda – Shout / Pjanoo
5. Tom Middleton – Shinkansen
6. Manuel Tur & Dplay – Deviate
7. Francois Dubois – Blood
8. Timbaland v. Til Von Stein – Way I are / Sundowna
9. Fergie v. Stardust – Glamourous / Music sounds better with you
10. Lee Curtiss – Freak On
11. MGMT – Electric feel (Hot natured remix)
12. Poxymusic – War Paint (Claude von Stroke mix)
13. Atlantic Conveyor – Nasty Things (Jamie Jones & Gadi Mizrahi remix)
14. Pete Dafeet – Bellyache
15. Out Hud – It’s for you
16. Outkast v. Still Going – Storytellin’ Theme
17. Home and Garden – Sexuality
18. Janet Jackson – All Night (Don’t Stop)
19. Mylo – Drop the pressure
20. Phoenix – If I ever feel better
21. Apparat – Komponent (Telefon Tel Aviv Remix)

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Top 10 house and techno tracks of 2009

It’s been an incredible year for dance music. Out of the approximately 200 releases I picked up this year, here are my 20 favorite tracks:


1. DJ T – Shine On [Get Physical]
2. Adam Marshall – Tool For Early Chicago (Seth Troxler & Shaun Reeves Remix) [Simple Record]
3. Minz – Pareidolia [Perspectiv]
4. Palm Skin Productions – Done [Dark Energy]
5. Maya Jane Coles – Breathe [1trax]
6. Palm Skin Productions – Pig Iron [Dark Energy]
7. Shonky – Carnage [Freak n’ Chic]
8. Makam – When you love Somebody [Sushitech Purple]
9. Koljah & Oliver Deutschmann – Eaten Back To Life [Konsequenz]
10. Bjorn Wilke – Flanell (Someone Else Remix) [Kaato Music]


1. Nagano Kitchen & Jerome Sydenham – GSXR 810 (Adam Beyer Remix Part 2) [Apotek]
2. Patrick Specke – Bitchual Linestepper [Desolat]
3. Portable – OK Then [Musik Krause]
4. Maetrik – Choose Your System (Adam Beyer’s Choose Your Local Warehouse Remix) [Triefstoff]
5. Nathan Fake – Narrier [Border Community]
6. Dusty Kid – Pluk [Boxer]
7. Speedy J – Klave [Rekids]
8. Slam – Ghost Song (Joris Voorn Remix) [Soma]
9. Mutant Clan – Inside [SCI + TEC]
10. Voodeux – Bones [Mothership]

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Novation Launchpad Dissection

I haven’t satisfied with the reliability my arduio-based monome clone I built earlier this year, so I sold out and got a Novation Launchpad. At $200, it’s nearly half the cost of materials as my DIY project and is obviously in a different league of build quality. Despite not providing a learning experience, this is a button board I’m not afraid to leave the house with. On top of the improved reliability, the multi-color led’s look great, the buttons are more responsive and the automap controls to ableton got me up and running instantly. I’m quite content with the purchase.

Not to deny my inquisitive spirit though, I promptly dissected my launchpad upon unboxing. The board’s shift-register-based  schematic is similar to my arduinome, but it differs by consolidating the buttons and processor onto the same board. This would explain the launchpad’s relative robustness as the issues in my old device were primarily caused by the wire connections between my button board and arduino. If I ever attempt another controller project, a single board design is definitely what I will strive for.

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End of summer house mix

The best summer I can remember is coming to a close. Click here for a half hour mix of some of my favorite house tracks to remember it by:

Summer 2009 Mix by PeterMarks

1. Felipe Velenzuela & Dani Casarano – Tia Anita (Alejandro Vivanco Remix)
2. Minz – Pareidolia
3. Wouter De Moor – Afternoon Thing
4. Bastian Schuster – Bell Bala (Jacuzzi Boys Lost In A Jacuzzi Remix)
5. Ryo Murakami – Ride
6. MyMy – Everybody’s Talkin
7. King Kooba – Slightly Burnt
8. Outkast v. Still Going – Story Tellin Theme
9. Pryda – Odyssey
10. Mirko Loco – Liah
11. ATB – Underwater World
12. DJ T – Shine
13. Juan Sanchez – Secret Stash
14. Marco Carola – Bloody Cash
15. Ubu – Pixels
16. Palm Skin Productions – Done
17. Dennis Ferrer – Sinfonia Della Notte
18. Garnica – Sexy People (NOP Remix)

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Arduinome Complete!

Fueled by the news of Ableton Live’s impending integration with Max, I willed my Arduinome to completion this weekend. A combination of frustration with bugs and holiday distractions sent me off course for a couple weeks. Here’s what happened:

Problem 1: My LED’s were inverted. When I plugged in my arduinome, all the lights would illuminate. They should be unlit by default. I would get the standard scroll pattern, indicating that my firmware was working, as shown in this video:

Solution 1: I had read that these problems could be the result of upside-down IDC’s connecting the breakoff PCB to the shield. I tried rotating the two IDC’s on top of the header pins specific in Sykes’ original diagram. I neglected to try switching the two IDC’s onto each other’s header pins. That corrected my inverted problem. Sykes’ diagram has since been revised to clarify the IDC positions:


Problem 2: One of my columns was not illuminating. I knew the lights and diodes on that column were fine since they illuminated when I crossed a hot wire over from a working column. I double checked the soldering from the button board to the breakoff pcb. I switched my IDC cables to rule out a fault in the connection from the breakoff PCB  to the shield PCB . The faulty column’s hot pin passed a continuity test from the button board all the way to the shield PCB, so I figured the problem had to be coming from the shield. I thought this was weird as every other signal coming from the shield was perfect at this point. Could a single pin on my LED driver be dysfunctional?


Solution 2: Turns out the the problem was simpler, yet more surprising. The faulty column’s connection on the shield PCB from the IDC headers to the LED driver was visibly broken! (see image below) I guess Chinese circuit board printing robots aren’t so perfect after all. Fortunately, this was a quick fix. All I did was solder a half inch wire on the bottom of the PCB to connect the two joints and I was in business!


This was my first DIY hardware project and it was a great experience. Soldering is surprisingly easy. De-soldering is surprisingly difficult. Sourcing parts on Digikey is dauting, but opens your eyes to the infinite universe of electronic parts out there (as well as how inexpensive they are if you buy in bulk). Debugging hardware with a multimeter is the only way to find the root of your problem. The feeling I had the first time I toggled LED’s from my computer via Monome Serial is on par with the first time I set up a webserver. I think I have a new passion in this stuff!


Thanks again to all the people who helped me see this project through. My next project is a (non-button) DMX controlled LED matrix based on the prototype boards over at Brilldea. I’ve actually already started. More details to come!

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Arduinome Progress

I’m nearing completion of my Arduinome. Everything is soldered together. After I work out an ArduinomeSerial quirk, I should be ready to close up the enclosure and start jamming on it. Here’s some construction pics. Click on them for the high res Flickr set. More documentation to follow.


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Deep Mix

I just put together this mix of my favorite deep house tracks I’ve picked up this year, as well as some old standbys. Best served with with a cold beverage after work. Here’s the link and here’s the tracklist:

Deep Mix by PeterMarks

1. Baaz – Memories
2. Nomumbah – Like A Rainbow (Dub Mix)
3. Furry Phreaks – Soothe (Chicane Jazz Mix)
4. Sascha Funke – I Love This Tent
5. Brauns & Nils Nurnburg – Delicious
6. Bender & Sevensol – Ellen Barkin
7. Dubbyman – Rise Of Equality (Piano Take Beats Mix)
8. Demarco Music Project – Say Something
9. Mudd – Spielplatz
10. Baaz – Clouds 2
11. Nils Nurberg – Caught In A Glimpse
12. Manuel Tur & DPlay – Deviate
13. Satoshi Fumi – Everything (Francois Dubois Mix)
14. Moodyman – Tribute
15. Kerri Chandler & Jerome Sydenham – Atmospheric Beats

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Party Mix

I had a blast DJing a neighbor’s high school party last night. Much to my amazement, the kids didn’t balk when I started playing house. Times have changed from when I was in high school 5 years ago. Here’s a link to a 36 minute mix and here’s the track list:

1. Daft Punk v. Britney Spears – Voyager / I’m a Slave
2. Mylo – Drop The Pressure
3. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
4. DJ Decline v. Ed Solo – Hands Up (Stanton Warriors Remix)
5. Scope v. Tiefschwarz – Strung Out & Damaged (Jerico Edit)
6. Justin Timberlake v. Techtronic – Like I Love You / Pump Up The Jam
7. Candy Williams – The Time Is Right (Ruben Alvarez Remix)
8. George Morel – Let’s Take Drugs (Cedric Gervais Remix)
9. Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme (Eric Prydz Remix)
10. Switch – A Bit Patchy (Eric Prydz Remix)
11. Timbaland v. Emjae – Can You Handle The Way I Are (Peter Marks Mix)
12. Chris Brown – Forever

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Arduinome Enclosure

arduinome enclosure

I received my Arduinome Enclosure from Machine Collective today! Now I am waiting only on my shield pcb. Below is my parts list with links to where I bought everything. Prices do not include shipping.

Part Quantity Total
Arduino Diecimila 1 $35.00
Sparkfun Button Pads 4 $39.80
Sparkfun Button Pad PCBs 4 $39.80
Diode Small Signal – 1N4148 70 $9.45
Yellow LEDs (SSL-LX3044SYC) 70 $31.50
Shift register 74HCT165 1 $0.54
Shift register 74HCT164 1 $0.53
MAX7219CNG+ (LED driver) 1 $10.81
10Kohm, 10 pin, Resistor network 1 $0.39
0.1uf Capacitor 3 $1.44
10uf Capacitor 1 $2.38
16 pin IC Socket 1 $1.02
14 pin IC Socket 1 $0.89
24 pin IC Socket 1 $1.53
Shield PCB (Group Buy) 1 $22.89
Enclosure 1 $165.59
Total $363.56

Another Note: Since my last post, I’ve opted to go the simple route and build a monochromatic Arduinome. This is my first DIY electronics project and hijacking the monome 256 protocol to run three separate LED channels just sounds too involved for me at this point.

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Arduinome project

I love the simplicity Ableton Live and other software brings to electronic music performance. It relieves the stress of beat-matching, enabling dj’s to focus on timing, effects and track selection. It also saves them an expensive collection of vinyl.

However, the experience of watching a dj stare at their laptop on stage leaves much to be desired. You can’t see what they’re doing and it almost feels like they’re ignoring you. Sure there are MIDI interfaces that simulate real hardware, but can anyone besides fellow dj’s comprehend subtle knob turning? laptop performances struggle to be viewer friendly.

Enter the Monome, a simple grid of buttons that light up when pressed. See it in action and you’ll agree that it’s much more viewer friendly:

What I find so appealing about these devices, though, is how open they are. You can program the buttons to do whatever you please by adapting one of several open source projects to your needs. The hardware schematics are also open source. The Monome has problems two though: availability and price.

Enter the Arduinome, a do-it-yourself Monome clone powered by the open and inexpensive Arduino microcontroller. Once its custom firmware is installed, the Ardinome is recognized as a Monome and can run all the same software.

As you probably guessed from this post’s title, I’m building one. I’m completely new to DIY electronics, but learning the basics about the Arduino through these tutorials was quite straightforward. Soldering isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It’s a pleasant change from programming.

Now that I’ve gotten my feet wet with the Arduino, the next step is to source parts for the rest of the Arduinome. A complete parts list, as well as step by step construction documentation can be found at Basement Leds. Today I ordered a beautiful looking enclosure from Machine Collective and joined a group order for the pcb shield on the Monome boards. Next step is to pick up a sparkfun button pads and pcb’s.

A decision I’ll have to make soon is whether to construct a traditional Monome/Arduinome with monochromatic leds (as document in Basement Leds), or step to Julien Bayle’s full color rgb “Bonome”. Julien told us on the Ableton board that he’s got one up and running without a hitch and that he will document the process on his site in the coming weeks. As dumb as it sounds for a novice like me to take on the additional challenge of making my Arduinome rgb, I’m leaning towards that route. More on this to come!

Posted in Music, Programming, Projects | 7 Comments