Music trade shows are typically full of sensible and useful instruments. They may not always represent something revolutionary, but people find homes for them in their musical lives. Of course, the world’s fair futurist in us may want something really different.

It was a real treat to get my hands on the AlphaSphere, a UK-engineered alternative instrument that maps pitch across touch-sensitive surfaces arrayed in a sphere. It’s what a lot of people were talking about at Messe when people asked “what’s cool?”, as friends rounded up friends to march them over to the booth. (It’s Hall 5.1, stand C27 if you happen to be there this weekend.) The rubbery round sensors are actually really fun to play. I’m not quite ready to sign up for all-spherical playing, but it was a crowd-pleaser, and it’s great to experience a different way of playing.

I hope to catch up with these lads from Bristol either in the UK or back in Berlin, but in the meantime, check out Keyboard Magazine’s video of the demo. It’s not as slick as the promo video, but you get a sense of the co-inventor’s real enthusiasm. (I shot the video as I’m contributing to Keyboard‘s Messe coverage.)


Previously (not spheres, but a similar idea – minus the continuous pressure):
Dodecahedronists, Unite: An Audiovisual Controller, Gestures and Polyhedra, Open Hardware

Official video (I like the white):