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After poking about the internets for new and exciting instruments like the awesome Eigenharp Alpha [ link ] and the still-in-prototype "Linnstrument" [ link ], I stumbled across an old favorite of mine, the Reactable. [ link ] Basically, the Reactable is a touch-surface on which you use multi-shaped blocks to make tones, beats, music, etc. Each of the blocks does a specific thing and you can alter functions of the blocks by turning them a specific way or making them closer to or farther from another block. It's really awesome.
There's even some sweet performance videos of people making some bumpin' tracks on the Reactable. It's right here. It starts to really crank around the 2 minute mark, but the video gives a pretty excellent view of how the pieces interact on the table. [ link ]
So here's the idea. Start a club or take an already existing club with a dance room. Move the DJ station from that little booth in the corner to center stage and drop two Reactables there. DJs bring their cubes, with their samples and filters loaded and ready to go. Somebody hits a fog machine (ambiance is still part of the show), a gong is struck, and two DJs take the stage and begin battling each other on the Reactables. The music is pumped through the house and the crowd is called upon to crown a victor after an agreed-upon amount of time has passed.
Maybe they even battle on the same table, trying to musically one-up one another until the song stops and one is judged a winner and given his or her evenings accolades, while the other falls down into a chute, back into the DJ training center, where the guards haul the loser back into the cell from whence they came. Their only hope of escape is the day they hone their Reactable DJ skills to a razor sharp point with which they stab at the reigning champion, toppling the greatest of foes and taking the honored and hunted position of "DJicus, Layer of Beats"
Nah, too Roman.
I still think the idea is awesome, but perhaps it needs some work. That and Reactables are in the area of instrument that I would call "eye-gogglingly expensive." ($12,000+) Sure they have a iPhone or iPod app, but it's not the same thing. That's like using a synthesizer to synthesize a synthesizer that's synthesizing a synthesizer. Somewhere along the lines, it just gets too confusing. But one day, I hope against hopes, this technology will make it from "expensive oddity" to "tool that's integrated with the surfaces of my house" and I'll be able to play with it on my countertop while cooking FutureChicken (tm). Yes. That will be a sweet day indeed.
Right on, right off,