Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sounds and lights and music and flashy buttons

Remember that strobe light / musical instrument we were talking about in our last post? Well, some kind soul has filmed its inventor, Toshio Iwai, demonstrating the Tenoi-On at the Spanish ArtFutura festival. The video is just underneath this text.

We can see Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood sporting one of these machines at Glastonbury 2007.

The second half is where everything whizzes and bangs - so we'd recommend judicious use of the fast-forward button.

(Via YouTube)

By the way, if you like what you see we'd suggest getting hold of Mr Iwai's new game for the Nintendo DS, Electroplankton. Using the same premise of turning user's interactions into sound collages, it has been getting rave reviews everywhere. Yahoo calls it, "a unique sort of marine pop-art biology". (read the whole review here)

Essentially, Electroplankton is an interactive musical toy. The underwater theme is pure whimsy, the 'plankton' of the title really being pictorial representations of sounds, instruments or speech. Using the stylus, you manipulate the little creatures or their surroundings to create melodies. No, piano 'grades' are not required.

As you can see, the whole thing is incredibly difficult to explain. The best way to tell your friends what it's all about would be to show them, otherwise you'll end up using phrases like "deranged subaquatic jazz improv computer game toy sound making thingy", which is no use to anyone.

Even better, blogger Stinkygoat has made this exciting discovery while spanking his plankton:

"Sometimes they chirped, sometimes they formed into circles and crosses... until at one point I held the DS out in front of me and sang "FLUFFY!" into the microphone.

"The nanocarp swarmed and reformed in the shape of a llama.

"I thought this must surely just be some random shape change, but subsequent experiments proved to me without doubt that if I sing "FLUFFY!" at a certain pitch to my DS, the nanocarp always form the shape of a llama."

Brilliant! In 2006, we love computer games all over again.

  • Buy Elektroplankton at NCSX.
    (You have to import it if you're in the UK. Bah.)

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