Co.Design

Watch: The Future Of DJing, Beatboxing, And Instrumentation

Our favorite Leap Motion beatboxer is back, and this time, he’s plugged himself into digital music at a whole new level.

The piano has had a good run, as has the guitar. Both classical instruments have continuously reinvented themselves to drive the sounds of pop culture forward into our digital present. But as I watch this Lawnmower Man-esque clip of beatboxer Humanelectro, I feel like the days of our old instruments are numbered.

The last time we saw Humanelectro (otherwise known as Riyo Fujimoto), he was augmenting his performance through a series of custom Leap Motion gestures, adding reverb and other effects to his vocal track in real time. Now, he’s teamed up production studio Σ, which has added a pair of MIDI gloves (each finger can play a note as it bends), a heartbeat sensor (which turns one’s pulse into a drum kick), and a series of real-time projected animations (controlled by the Leap Motion) to the mix.

Alone, each of these components might be called gimmicks. But squint your eyes a bit to see the bigger picture. Conventional instruments are really just the user interface for music. And in this regard, Humanelectro is plugging himself into music at a more intimate level. Whereas any wind or string instrument will always be grounded in the needs of acoustic physics, we’ve reached a place in gestures and self-quantification that can completely question the rules of musical creation--not just a new UI for music but even what constitutes musicianship itself.

Humanelectro calls himself “a musician and a scientist.” Watch the clip above with that in mind. Don’t look at the cables and chips as our literal future. See them as a series of hypotheses around the musical world to come.

Visit the project site.

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2 Comments

  • Richard Ballermann

    I agree with jimrmorrison. I really thought the first video for Leap Motion from this Humanelectro guy showed some truly impressive innovation, and at the beginning of this video I was anticipating something equally next level, but after he gets going it just feels like an early stage prototype.

    Still, the concept is great and I can't wait to see where musical performance like this goes.

  • jimrmorrison

    Gotta say.. with all that Tech... I was expecting the interpretation to be something a bit more advanced visually