Live visual instruments often lack that … certain something. Other than occasional oddities like the Livid Viditar, generally visual performance instruments just don’t have the panache of musical instruments. The solution: pack a bunch of hardware into the body of a white-lacquered grand piano, of course! (What, that seemed like a logical leap?)

As seen on our sister site Create Digital Motion:
BabyGrandMaster: DJ/VJ Studio Packed into a Piano

The innards look like someone held a sweepstakes for VJ and DJ gear and then consulted Prince for industrial design tips. (And that’s even before you add the optional pink neon underlighting and fog effects. Seriously.) For visualists:

  1. Dual Pioneer DVJ-X1 DVD Players
  2. Edirol V-4 Video Mixer
  3. [Triple] Marshal LCD Monitors

I suppose this is one answer to Jaymis’ question of what he should use for a gig case. (Come on, someone’s discarded Young Chang may be sitting at the local scrapyard. Pain that sucker, drop in your gear, good to go. Uh, sorta.)

In all seriousness, it looks like a huge amount of design work went into it, and you have to admire it for its monstrous absurdity alone. I’m guessing if you are a wildly wealthy rockstar / VJ / remix artist that you’re not reading right now. One compelling reason: I don’t know any VJs, anywhere, with Herbie Hancock-sized wallets for gear. If you do, though, I’m happy to be corrected. Two things we can learn from this design, however:

One, I love that it projects on the piano lid, if only because I worked with pianist Kathleen Supove on a piece where we did that. Her solution is a big white sock that can go over any piano lid. The effects needed some tweaking, and I hope we revisit that work, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the effect, if for no other reason than it helped situate the visuals in relation to the pianist, and created a sort of virtual space inside the piano that could be exploited. Now, I can’t as a pianist and lover of acoustic instruments not cringe a little at a baby grand without a keyboard or a soundboard, of course. But lacquered white projection surfaces are always tasty.

Second, I’d like to put this challenge to the readers of CDMo: any ideas for how you could do a ghetto-cheap version of this, just for the heck of it? (Maybe you already have.) For starters, I think whatever you come up with — a MacBook running VDMX sitting on your Steinway, an upright Yamaha and a slide projector, an M-Audio keyboard and a V-4 — you need the keyboard they left out.

If you haven’t checked out Emergency Broadcast Network, incidentally, this multimedia group that spawned the oddity above has done some fantastic, fantastic work, right on the CDMotion wavelength.