Don’t believe what you see in the press releases, in the glossy write-ups of shiny, new technology from the NAMM show. Wandering the NAMM show is a truly surreal experience, like falling into a giant music store that acquired its own zipcode crossed with a swap meet crossed with a convention of badly-dressed rocker cosplayers. With apologies to Barry Wood’s superior NAMM Oddities, we couldn’t resist telling you what we really thought of some of the things we found. NAMM find: win or fail?
Part one, the items that registered fail (with one very sweet win that managed to undo one of those failures.)
(Warning: one mind-bogglingly not-safe-for-work close-up photo toward the end. If some things offend you, try not to scroll very far.)
Liz McLean Knight also contributed photos and editorial to this report.
Korg’s X-50 Camouflage Limited Edition: We suspected, and a Korg booth rep confirmed, that this would finally solve the problem of what to do when you’re up for playing some keyboard in your duck blind. FAIL.
Hmmm, now how can Korg possibly redeem themselves for something this utterly random (well, other than the pink polka-dot OASYS we asked them for)?
Oh, yeah. Black keys on a MicroKORG. We forgive everything. WIN.
The X-Tempo Pok Logo: The Pok is a nicely-built and compact wireless foot controller unit, as seen at Robotspeak. We’re a little concerned that its street is around US$400-500, especially when compared to a far more powerful new Moog multi-function pedal or our own Mike Una’s $10 DIY foot pedal. (Is it really worth more than 40 Unapedals?)
But the logo for this foot controller is a big hand. Note the cards in the corner, which look like either crippled hands or hands with webbed fingers. So, as far as the logo goes, FAIL.
Ratango: uh, pronounced “rah tango”? “Rat tango”?
“A sexy mix of tango, rap, and hip-hop.” FAIL.
Anaheim: Not pictured in this photo: the endless parade of Best Westerns (really, like dozens of them), IHOPs, and Denny’s that replaced that orange grove, or the one-mph traffic jams around the convention center, or the hour-plus drive to LA which is where you actually want to be most of the time. And can you even see mountains from Aneheim? FAIL.
Addendum: skipping some of NAMM to go to Disneyland, as even Roger Linn did? WIN.
This slogan: “Desire Analog … Embrace Digital.” Hmm, so in other words, “Analog is Better … But You Have to Settle Because You’re Cheap”? I’m sad on behalf of both analog and digital. FAIL.
Guitar Hero’s Relentless, Inescapable Presence: Don’t get me wrong; it’s a great game. But, uh, this is a real music show filled with real guitars, yet the biggest crowds were around a video game everyone’s seen before. At least with Rock Band there were hooks to the Roland V-Drums, real electronic drums that were used in development at Harmonix. I love video games. But standing in line to play video games at a music show? FAIL.
Da-Cappo‘s mannequin, Princess Hollywood: I might have an idea of how this mic sounds if I could hear it over the piercing, terrified screams of small children. FAIL.
Wittner’s Laughing Penguin Metronome: Long practice session with this thing? Prepare to completely lose your mind. Oh, it’s laughing at you. Yes, it’s laughing. The penguin WINS, but you FAIL.
Addendum: Elton John probably could make this look at home on his piano, somehow.
Ultimate Support’s Keyboard Stand Model: We really feel for the two women modeling the keyboard stands at Ultimate. Not only did they have to stand awkwardly around a keyboard stand (sure, other models get guitars and stuff), but they spent most of the day bent over having to talk to random onlookers. I can’t imagine what their lower back was like Sunday night. FAIL.
(Addendum: those boots? Totally WIN.)
The Metasonix G-1000‘s “Ream Your Ass” control. Technical edit: this appears to be mislabeled. This parameter should clearly be, if worded in this fashion, a momentary switch or toggle, but below you’ll see it’s a potentiometer. Suggest rewording as “How Deep.” FAIL.
(The G-1000 itself would be a win, but Eric told us we’re not supposed to buy them. More on that later. And, yeah, that in itself = WIN. “Metasonix Announces It Wants You To Stop Buying Its Newly-Announced G-1000” was easily the best PR announcement of the show. We’ve got the video.)