Reactable is a new music-making interface coming out of Barcelona that I've been wanting to feature in this blog before I knew I'd be writing it - it was part of my pitch, actually. Now that It's been Boing-Boing-ed I feel I should probably get this post out about it considering it's quite of-the-minute, about which I'll get to later.
While it's been around for a couple of years now, folks are only starting to catch on. Thanks to this past weekend, I'm guessing A LOT more people will be exposed in the near future. This video above is the first exposure I had to the technology, and I was pretty mesmerized. WTF was going on here? One initial observation is that it's like a modular synth that you literally build as you use it, which turned out to be partially correct. The Reactable was developed by Sergi Jordà, Martin Kaltenbrunner, Günter Geiger, and Marcos Alonso of the Music Technology Group at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. These demo videos are fairly self-explanatory, especially after multiple viewings, so I don't think that not having a base knowledge of synthesis or electonic music-making is necessarily a hindrance to appreciating or enjoying Reactable.
It's also a sequencer, any number of effects and a sampler, all integrated seamlessly into a work environment extremely conducive to spontaneity. There's bound to be widespread application directly because of that, hopefully changing the performance landscape as a result (because laptop shows are boring). Here is Reactable in action live:
There's a bunch more videos on YouTube regarding the Reactable, go check them out. I wonder what one costs...