News Installation

The beamz invites you to ‘play the light’

test 6 January 2009

UK: The laser-powered musical interface developed by US company beamz Interactive is now available in the UK, writes David Davies. Invented by musician, composer and beamz Interactive founder/chief creative officer Jerry Riopelle, the beamz is being marketed in the UK (at _399) by UBeamz Ltd UK, a company that includes former Longwave Instruments prime mover Barry Wooding.

The innovative new instrument allows users to “precisely control harmonious, polyphonic music in a satisfying, imaginative and entertaining fashion.” Via light beams, it relays the player’s hand gestures – there is no need to actually touch the instrument – to a personal computer that triggers any sound and musical sequence that is programmed into the device.

Plugging directly into the user’s PC or Mac via the USB port, the beamz arrives with 30+ free songs, although users will also have online access to a growing directory of hits, covers and original tracks. For the more advanced player, the forthcoming beamz Studio software package will allow the user to input his/her own sounds, samples and arrangements.

“At present, it is basically a six-laser instrument with two patches, meaning that you have 12 patches in total, and a backing track,” confirms Wooding. “You trigger the samples with your hands. It is always in pitch and on time, and you can adjust the BPM of the backing track.”

Wooding thinks that the product could appeal to a wide variety of users, including pro musicians. “I can see it having great potential, especially if we can interface it with MIDI,” he says.


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