Imagine you are waiting for a bus and instead of wasting time on your smartphone updating your Facebook status with trivial details, you plug yourself into an innovative musical device that allows you to compose a tune right there and then out of anything from a window to a tree.
This could soon be reality for all of us as Bruno Zamborlin, a PhD student who studies Arts and Computational Technologies at both Goldsmiths, University of London, and IRCAM, an institute for the research of music, sound and avant-garde ‘electroacoustic music’ in Paris, has developed a way of making music from any surface or everyday object.
Zamborlin has recently collaborated with electronic music producers Plaid, who were among those in the early 1990’s that defined the techno music genre of ‘intelligent dance music’.
Under the name “Senouch”, Zamborlin and Ed Handling of Plaid will perform using Mogees at the Beam Festival for electronic and analogue music, which is to be held at Brunel University on June 22.
Zamborlin’s Mogees project, which stands for “Mosaicing Gestural Surface,” is based on a simple contact microphone that transforms any hard surface into a musical interface through which preloaded audio samples are activated, converting the world around you into a DJ’s turntable deck.
Zamborlin said: “I guess what I really like about Mogees is that it’s tiny and cheap and anyone can use it.”
According to Zamborlin: “You just stick it to a surface…anything, and it makes that surface into a musical instrument.”
The microphone picks up taps, scratches, and other gestures on materials from glass to wood, or even a balloon, and in a similar way to how a touch screen phone operates, the Mogees software recognises what movement has been carried out and answers accordingly by producing the desired sound just as if a performer was playing a ‘real’ musical instrument.
Users of the device do not need to know how to play any other musical instrument and this, coupled with its affordability, means it has great potential to become an excellent educational tool in local schools, and is perfect for the budding electronic musician who will be able to mix the everyday world into a banging tune.
To see the Mogees project in action follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erz-9f4M9B4
By Sean Lindholm