maanantai 15. maaliskuuta 2010

React-able ReacTable

I have to admit that I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to cool-looking technology - especially when it has something to do with music. Here's what's gotten my attention lately : the ReacTable. I would love to have the opportunity to try this live!

Simply put, here's how it works: the apparatus is basically a table with an interactive surface interface. The surface reacts with cubes and other modules placed on the table. Some manipulate frequency, some rhythm, some work as metronomes, and so forth. You can twist and turn the modules to manipulate the sounds in different ways: make it faster, slower, higher, lower... Take a look at the videos at their website for a better idea.

The project originated on 2003 at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and it was presented for the first time two years after at the International Computer Music Conference in Barcelona. Since the launch, probably the widest popularity was gained during Björk's Volta-tour where the apparatus was played live throughout the string of concerts. The ReacTable has also won several prestigious awards.

What's also great about the ReacTable, is that it works not only as a mixing table of sorts, but also as a great tool for education for kids and why not adults too. It visualizes for example structures, wavelengths, rhythms in comprehensive ways and makes it all easy to handle. The table can also be played by several people at the same time! So far it has been produced mainly for museums, science centers and galleries, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a lighter, commercial version.

The instrument seems to excite a great variety of people from hard core musicians to kids and random experimenters. And no wonder.
It looks like a blast.

(Photos courtesy of ReacTable.)

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