Whether for private practice or full-on live performance, electronic drum kits offer a number of benefits over their traditional counterparts. They don't take up most of the room in the band's van, players can call on many different percussion sounds, and they're pretty neighbor-friendly when not cabled up to a PA system. But they can be just as pricey as a non-digital setup. The latest eight piece e-drum kit from Alesis promises responsive play backed up by professional features for a budget-friendly ticket price.
In rock music, there's something quite captivating and magical about a power trio. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Nirvana, Cream, ZZ Top, Living Colour ... oh wait, that last one is a four piece. And that's just what the folks behind the robotic rock group Compressorhead are now aiming for. The Berlin-based "heavy metal" bot band has turned to Kickstarter in its search for a new lead singer.
From familiar-looking keyboards to portable projection-based tables, there are a good many touch-enabled flat controllers available that can help turn strokes, taps and bumps of the surface into music. There are also a few spatial types like the Motus that can transform mid-air moves into funky digital sounds. Pulse combines the two, allowing players to create tunes by caressing its touch-sensitive surface or going gestural in the space above it.
Though Onyx Ashanti's Beatjazz controller or McGill University's Instrumented Bodies are pleasing to eyes and ears, making music creation part of the performance or dance routine doesn't necessarily mean also having to look like a cyborg. Paris-based phonotonic, for example, turned motion into music last year by pairing a handheld device with a smart device running an app. The Motus from TZM Creative Lab out of Lithuania also facilitates the creation of sound from motion, allowing its users to electrify the room by strumming an air guitar, bash an imaginary drum set to within an inch of its life, key a grand concert piano while walking around the stage or play an invisible violin.
Spain's Reactable Systems first blipped on our sonar in 2006 with the launch of the "seeing is believing" tabletop modular synthesizer. Where large format modular synths like the Moog System 55 can be rather intimidating behemoths, the Reactable digital music maker made use of a projector-based touch surface onto which the player placed blocks to generate sounds and alter parameters. Development of the system has continued, and last week the company unveiled its latest intuitive, modular and portable iteration – the Live! S6 table.
MIDI music scientists will doubtless be very familiar with sequencers, hardware or software used for recording, editing and playback of a series – or sequence – of notes, chords or rhythms. Many will also have come across an arpeggiator in their tune creation travels, which, in simple terms, is a feature of many synthesizers that takes the notes being played and turns them into a looped pattern. The Arpeggio brings sequencer, arpeggiator and synth together in one portable package designed for music melody composition, storage and performing on the fly.
Gizmag first heard from Claudio Capponi about two years ago when he told us that he'd started working on a new musical instrument. Development has continued apace ever since and now the Liutaly iV electric violin is ready for its place in the spotlight. There are already a good many electric violins on the market of course, but the iV stands out from the crowd by packing its own amplified speaker system, having its own power source and making use of a docked smartphone running music creation apps to access an almost infinite arsenal of digital sounds.
Los Angeles-based StudioFeed first came to our attention in 2013 when it launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at putting some low end rumble in your seat. The Kickstarter campaign was successful and the SubPac tactile bass technology has since been further developed, and also pushed beyond the immersive music and gaming experience. It's been integrated into Peugeot's Fractal concept car, for example. It's also added a more engaging, physical dimension to a VR-enhanced premiere of the movie Jurassic World, and allowed deaf and hard of hearing festival goers in Brazil to feel the music at this year's Rock in Rio. Now the company is aiming to put some bottom end on your back with the upcoming SubPac M2 wearable sound system.
Over the last few years, Chinese audio maker Fiio has made a name for itself producing high end audio players, headphone amps and earphones that don't necessarily come with the expected luxury product price tags. Though its current line of portable music players certainly deliver on the audio front, they're not particularly stylish or easy to use. Hell, they even have an early generation iPod-like click/scroll wheel. The new X7 is different. Not only does the chunky smartphone-sized high resolution digital audio player feature a multitouch screen and quad-core processor, but it runs Android KitKat.
Though many of us watch music videos or listen to digital radio via the living room TV, it's probably not the first home entertainment device that springs to mind when considering music streaming. That's usually the domain of wireless speakers, smartphone apps and services like Spotify or Pandora. But premium service signups and associated costly tariffs, yet more logon details and passwords to remember, and regular app updates across different mobile platforms can be something of a turn off for many music lovers. London-based Electric Jukebox Company is now offering a less complicated way, one that's aimed at changing the way music is played at home forever by leveraging the goggle box as an audio entertainment hub for the family.