The Reactable is an award-winning electronic musical instrument that uses a so called tangible interface, where the musician controls the system by manipulating tangible objects. The instrument is based on a translucent and luminous round table, and by putting these pucks on the Reactable surface, by turning them and connecting them to each other, performers can combine different elements like synthesizers, effects, sample loops or control elements in order to create a unique and flexible composition. Even working in concert as the Reactable technology is also “multi-touch”. Check it out!
Björk originally envisaged her Biophilia album as a house she’d take over with a room for each song, which would then tour the world. Not surprisingly that proved impractical, but the launch of the iPad allowed her to recreate her vision in app form. What would have been the house is now a “mother” app, which has just been made available for free on iTunes, and which will eventually enclose the rest of the apps – one for each song. READ MORE
A short video discussing the restoration of Raymond Scott’s Electronium: the first self-composing synthesizer. Raymond Scott began working on the Electronium in the 1960s when Berry Gordy of Motown visited Scott’s laboratory in 1969. He instantly brought Scott on board and made him Head of Operations and Chief Engineer at Motown Records to develop the machine along with others. In the end, millions were spent on the Electronium though it was never technically completed. Raymond Scott was unable to walk away from the instrument and it was eventually lost amongst his other machines and electric parts at his home.
In 1996, Mark Mothersbaugh purchased the non-functioning Electronium through his company Mutato Muzika, with the intention of restoring it to working order. Let us know what you think. To us it most resembles an enormous wardrobe or organ except for the hundreds of buttons and switches. When sat in front of it you certainly have the impression of being behind a console of an early spaceship. The Electronium is an impressive piece of kit, albeit a touch intimidating. We will be keeping an eye on the restoration project.
A rare clip from Poème Électronique, screened at the Philips Pavilion in 1958. For more information about the work, Edgard Varèse and the Philips Pavilion see Classical Iconoclast.
After our earlier show on the rare and rather curious theremin, we were delighted to see there is actually a Theremin Day with events and performers reinterpreting the instrument for a modern audience. Phantom Circuit put together a brilliant report on the event with background and interviews, including performances by thereminist Miss Hypnotique.
Chiptune music, or chip music, is produced using video game consoles and home computer technology, primarily from the 1980s. Tech-minded musicians use third-party software to tap the machines’ sound chips to produce original forms of output through the devices. Electronic beats and sometimes more traditional instruments are then blended with retro-sounding beeps and bleeps from the doddery hardware.
and check out 8bitcollective. An online collective with over 25,000 members.
For a more comprehensive history of the theremin, and the history of electronic instruments check out the informative Triptree Podcasts. They do not focus exclusively on classical music but provide a wealth of background information and history.