Musicians of the avant-garde, listen up. Are you looking for that new sound? Sure you are. But you don't want to be just another skinny-jeaned fauxhemian with a bunch of loop pedals and synthesizers, now do you? Might I make a suggestion for your new instrument de rigueur, sure to anoint you and your band as the new darlings of Pitchfork.
The instrument, you ask? A mirror. Or how about a balloon? No wait, I got it. A tree. Can you imagine the music blogosphere's rapture if you showed up to your next Brooklyn gig and played a tree!
Actually, any inanimate object with a rigid surface will do, thanks to Bruno Zamborlin. As part of his arts and computational technologies Ph.D. project, Zamborlin, in collaboration with Norbert Schnell and Frederic Bevilacqua, created "Mosaicing Gestural Surface," or Mogees.
Mogees uses a simple contact microphone to turn any rigid surface into a musical interface. What makes Mogees unique is that different types of touch generate different sounds. Tapping, rubbing or scratching will all trigger a variety of audio whimsy.
Just stick Mogees anywhere and the contact microphone will pick up the object's vibrations and convert them into real-time sounds. For added effects, audio samples can be programmed into the device for an even more distinct sound. For example, you could transform your nervous desktop finger tapping into the sweet sounds of a marimba or xylophone.
"We wanted percussionists to take full advantage of electronic music without losing the feeling of touching a real surface," Zamborlin, a joint Ph.D. candidate in the department of computing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the IRCAM music research institute at Centre Pompidou, in Paris, explained to Wired. "I would love to see people stop watching their tiny touchscreen all the time and start taking more advantage of what they already have around them. More artistically speaking, I find midi controllers a bit boring as they don't permit any relationship between the gesture of users, such as moving a knob, and its effect. Touching real surfaces allows users to experience haptic feedback on what they do and enhancing their relationship with the device."
In related news, I now know what I'm getting Holger Czukay for his 74th birthday. I have reason to believe that the shirtless bassist and audio wizard for legendary krautrock band CAN might enjoy a Mogees microphone, if he doesn't have one already.
Credit: Darren Hopes/Getty Images
Credit: Bruno Zamborlin