Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Jury is in: head scratchers from NAMM '07

Well kiddies, the long and lustful days of NAMM are over, giving the music world a chance to sit back and digest some of the odder and more interesting revelations this year's convention had to offer. While much of this year's fare mostly featured new extensions of existing technologies, not to mention more than a few gimmick guitars, a few strange and slick electronic jewels have appeared to give us LivePA types newer, shinier daydreams.

Among these were a few new analogue-style sequencers, most notably the Octopus by GenoQs Machines and the Surfin' Step Sequencer by Surfin' Kangaroo Studios, both of Dusseldorf, Germany. Another strange one, which might not be ready for the masses just yet, is the Axis Natural Keyboard by C-thru Music, which seems anything but natural, or "c-thru", for that matter. (While it looks badass, the revies haven't been kind, and its function is somewhat obtuse.) On the plus side, many new and curious filters and effects generators hit the scene, such as the Metasonix Scrotum Smasher and the Ebb un Flut by Schippmann Music, both of which seemed to re-invent the art of artistically fucking up one's sound. And last but not least, a treat for the retro at heart: Haken Audio has taken its popular Continuum Fingerboard and given it its own CV/Gate module. While a MIDI fundamentalist myself, I know a few retro and modular enthusiasts whose interests were piqued by this one.

For those of us who like to use microphones for things, the Samson G-track USB condenser mic made a big impression, what with it being a mic and an audio interface, with all kinds of built-in geegaws and gimcracks previously unheard of on mics, like headphone outs and a peak meter. And of course, there's these two: the Audio Cubes by Percussa, which generate controller data by sensing their relative locations to one another, and finally a peice of hardware so cool and complicated, nobody has any idea what it actually does-- including the people at the booth. It's the Resonator Neuronium, and even after reading writeups on the website, I still don't get it. Once again, like the Axis Natural keyboard, at least it looks wicked. Guaranteed to be the next Theremin, I think.

I can't wait until next year.

1 comment:

M.A.S. said...

Ohh, nice pick up on the analog sequencers. Still awesome, and still extremely hard to find.

I am a huge Continuum fan as well. I just wish they could implement OSC into it like the Lemur. It is really designed for something crazy like MAX/MSP or something, and with the midi implementation it takes up something crazy like all 16 midi channels for operation.