Pmmpt. Putuhchika pmmpt puh pmmpt. Is there any music more gutturally satisfying than that of a good beatboxer? A wind instrument might amplify and augment the vibrations of your mouth, but a beatboxer is a creator and amplifier in one. Every rhythm is backed by an implication of lips, teeth, and spit. It’s the tangential opposite of electronic music, which is calculated, poised, and predictably digital.
Now, Ryo Fujimoto of Humanelectro is channeling the two mediums through his own body. Using a Leap Motion—along with the platform’s $10 Geco MIDI software—he’s developed a unique performance that combines beatboxing with his mouth and filters and synthesizers through the motions of his hands. With his left hand, he can lift, rotate, and slide three different synths. With his right hand, he gestures to induce flanger, delay, beat repeat, and more.
But what’s particularly neat is that Fujimoto pulls off his custom-made gestures so fluidly that he seems to be sitting in a room of sound and shaping waveforms at will.
“I think that people and electronic music could be more free,” Fujimoto tells Co.Design. “Normally, electronic musicians aren’t even a little bit free on live stage because they are face to face with the laptop all the time. Just move.”
Fujimoto isn’t wrong. Just as we see rock bands leap around the stage while jamming guitars, so too can new input technologies redefine the experience of electronic music. And even more excitingly, the Leap Motions of the world have the potential to break us free of keys and strings, to blur the lines between dance and music, a performer and their art.