Velocipede, our friend and inside man in Takarazuka, Japan, has been writing up a storm on the CDM forums, from providing hands-on impressions of Roland’s hand percussion pad to reporting back from Tokyo’s Music Instrument Festival.

Not just for digital bongos: Roland’s hand controller could be just what you need for expressively playing software instruments.

The HPD-10 hand percussion controller by Roland could be a terrific controller for synths and clips, from its traditional purpose (drums) to lots of other applications:

My main interest in getting the unit, though, is as a midi control over softsynths. Its 10 pads can be freely assigned to any note numbers on a per kit basis (64 kits can be saved in the unit). So far, I’ve set up different kits for Live’s Impulse, Reason’s Redrum and an Alesis Micron Setup that I have dedicated for drum sounds.

Check out velocipede’s full review:
Handsonic 10 (HPD-10) [Create Digital Noise]

The news from Tokyo’s Music Instrument Festival is mostly what’s going away as what’s new: Alesis selling off the last stock of Ions in Japan, and Roland discontinuing their cult favorite AX-7 strap-on keyboard controller. Fortunately, velocipede dug up two gems. Vestax’s Guber line has some far-out hardware like this crazy-looking turntable:

Strange and wonderful audio hardware design from Vestax’s Guber line, apparently only available in Japan.

And from the non-electronic end of the spectrum, the Xaphoon is an original hybrid instrument that packs sax-like sounds in a recorder body; velocipede assures us that it sounds far better than its toy-like looks suggest:

Xaphoon’s pocket sax, for when you want instruments without electricity, MIDI, or USB.

Music Instrument Festival in Tokyo [Create Digital Noise]
Vestax Guber players [Japanese only]
Xaphoon instruments product page