Didgeridoo from bar|none on Vimeo.

You can’t quite dance to it, but bar|none has a beautifully-shot video of a strange, invented instrument constructed with some of the technologies we saw last week. As noted then, new support for OSC in the powerful Kyma sound system means the ability to control imagined instruments in more sophisticated, higher-resolution ways. Just days later, bar|none responded to my post with one of his first experiments. It’s just the beginning of his work, so judge it accordingly – think of the first emanations of a newly-created musical instrument – but it’s a reminder that far-out ideas are possible when you combine custom soundmakers with expressive control.

The controller is Jeff Snyder’s Manta, a touch-sensitive controller with velocity sensitivity and a 6×8 array of hexagons. Jeff showed off his instrument at Handmade Music Monday night here in New York; I hope to follow up with a closer look at the Manta soon. Notably, the Manta is not an OSC device; it’s an HID USB device, just as a typical mouse or keyboard is. HID, the standard drivers for which are included in every desktop OS, also supports high-resolution data, so it’s a second alternative to MIDI for input.

My first Kyma X patch for the Pacarana. Kyma is unreal and let’s you do almost anything in Sound Design. I took a concept of a didgeridoo patch on my modular and built it back in Kyma but with even more expression. This is still a work in progress.

The touchplate is a Snyderphonics MANTA. I spent some time coding some algorithms in MAX to enhance the performance control of the patch using velocity, aftertouch and polyphonic aftertouch + controls using OSC to Kyma.

The Manta is a fantastically wonderful controller. It shows it’s [sic] flexibility and feel here.

The patch is microtonal meaning pitches are in divisions of the western concept of half and whole tones.

Since that video, he’s been trying more sonic ideas:

Been messing with this sound and here’s a version where the didgeri is resonating as if it were a metalic vibrating tube as well. This is just trying to see the kind of sounds I can get out of the patch.


This makes me wish I could afford this setup, but if, like me, you’re on a tighter budget, the ideas here could easily be applied to other rigs. Keep the experiments coming!

Updated: bar|none aka Chris Lloyd shares his camera of choice: it’s a Canon 7D with a 50mm 1.4 lens for the “Bokeh blur effect,” a tip from stretta.

  • simon

    wow, nasty, nasty sounds. I'd like to hear some drum n bass or dubstep with this 🙂

  • s ford

    good vid. barnone's other videos are worth checking out too.

  • Jaime Munarriz

    Yes, soething based on Pd and Csound could be used by a lot more people.
    The sconcept of the controller seems really brilliant.

  • edison

    this is awesome!
    bar|none kills shit!

  • Pretty great stuff!

    As a former digeridoo performer, I know a lot of that instrument's expressive quality is from how the sound starts – – all those wonderful puffs, pinches, and squeaks of air through the cheeks, mouth, and lips. A few more envelope samples or algorhythms of the beginning of the sound would really expand the electronic version . . . .

    . . . but, yes, some pretty great work!

  • lematt

    kyma videos make me want want want Kyma.

    so sad it's so expensive.

  • s ford

    his eigenharp + kyma vid is worth checking out too….

  • Konkretmusik

    Anyone know where to get a touch sensetive plate with hexagon pads?
    I've been meaning to build a Buchla-like controller for a while but I can't seem to find the parts that I want.

  • bar|none

    Manta default patch is MAX but I'm sure could be adapted to those envs.

    No you kill it. Would love to see what you'd do reslicing these sounds.

    Everyone else, thanks for the comments. I Appreciate them. Cheers.

  • Damon

    Brilliant! Totally accessible and practical and expressive. That is the first concept instrument or controller I have seen since Tenori (on) that looks the business from garage to studio to stage. Definitely worth your serious consideration. 😛

  • This is personal little battle of mine, but the blur effect on that video isn't bokeh, it's simply the use of a large aperture to create a low depth of field. Bokeh is when you get an image of the aperture on the picture created by points of light.

    Neat controller, but as is said above, horrible horrible sounds.

  • Muso

    Give the iPad a pressure-sensitive 10-finger point articulation and I guarantee Lemur will be the Godsend for all your MIDI/OSC controller needs. Until they do it the iPad is absolutely useless to me as a musician.

  • Muso

    Give the iPad a pressure-sensitive 10-finger point articulation and I guarantee Lemur will be the Godsend for all your MIDI/OSC controller needs. Until they do it the iPad is absolutely useless to me as a musician.