German YouTuber “studentsmusic” has come across the Nintendo Power Glove mod used by none other than Eurorack originator Dieter Doepfer. And he had a hell of a client – Kraftwerk.
Now, whether you have any desire whatsoever to don some gloves and wave your hands around, the peculiar category of music glove has a long history intertwined with a lot of today’s thinking about music, controllers, and expression.
Michel Waisvisz gets a brief mention here, but it’s worth noting that his project “The Hands,” originating in 1984, was one of the first gestural controllers and likely shaped many other devices after. I would presume it’s possible someone at Nintendo was even aware of his work. The Power Glove, for its part, came later – 1989-1990. And certainly from that point on I suspect you can credit Waisvisz and the Amsterdam research center STEIM for suggesting that waving your hands around could be used for music.
In addition to custom-engineered solutions, since Nintendo’s debut musicians have been hacking gaming solutions, too. (Actually early in CDM’s life I was compiling these – as in this set of 2005 links to accompany something I wrote for Computer Music. Ooh, but that’s weird for me to read. Moving on.)
Anyway, Dieter’s creation is really quite clever – and it’s worth watching the video here.
Now, Nintendo is about to release another set of gestural controllers in the form of Switch. Even if you aren’t into gaming, the Nintendo launch game for that hardware is full of ideas. The Verge claim this is sophisticated technology, but my bet is the actual hardware is pretty simple and this is just smart, finely-tuned code.
Note the use of the mic for control, for instance – that’s something you can use.
So I don’t think any of these ideas are exhausted yet. But it does mean it’s time again to do this:
God, that music is so good. Or it’s so bad. (It’s J. Peter Robinson, who while perhaps not a household name is the sound of countless 80s movies and a ridiculous amount of pop arrangement.) And yes, that really is Jenny Lewis. I… digress.