Thursday, August 16, 2007


The reacTable, a new instrument that lets musicians manipulate sounds by moving glowing blocks on a round, transparent table, is wowing festival audiences after it was hand-picked by Björk for use on the singer's summer tour.
The modular synthesizer mashes up shades of Tron, laser hockey and classic Moogs using open-source reacTivision software and an under-the-hood camera to track blocks that, when added, rotated or moved, combine to produce beeps, whoops and soaring synth lines.
The reacTable's developers say it is the latest in an emerging wave of "tangible music interfaces," but to the touring musicians who play the thing, it's merely "cool."
"When I first got it, I thought, 'Why don't I just make a funny noise on the Moog?'" said Damian Taylor, a Grammy-nominated producer who engineered Björk's latest album, Volta, and who plays the reacTable onstage with the Icelander.

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