Thursday, April 17, 2008

The NY Tenori-On launch

Last night, the "Tenori-On Tour" stopped at Southpaw in Brooklyn, and a club full of synth-nerds who have only read about the machine on blogs and watched clips of it on video sites finally got to see one in person, in action.

I left before everything wrapped up, but here's what I remember of what I was around for:

The doors opened at 8 with Senor Coconut's cover of "Showroom Dummies" playing over the soundsystem. Something sounding like Yellow Magic (which might have been a track from Coconut's YMO covers record, come to think of it) came on after that...

8:30: I Am Robot and Proud started things off with a handful of catchy, harmless synth pop tunes:

9:00: Robert Lippok (of To Rococo Rot) killed it with a static + percussion piece, at the end of which, every light on his Tenori-On was lit simultaneously. I'm sure there is a better-quality/longer video of his performance floating around somewhere. Find it and watch it. His set was the highlight, for me at least, of the whole night-- here's how it started:

9:30: Nathan Michel had the decency to shave and tuck his shirt in like an adult before performing. Thumbs up, old sport. His 8-bit IDM was ace, too;

10:00: A rep from Yamaha took the stage and thanked everyone for coming to "The Southpaw." It wasn't pretty. In the future, when we can just fast forward past things, I'll be able to eliminate these "awkward dad" moments from my nights out.

10:30: Toshio Iwai, "media artist" and creator of the Tenori-On, chatted up the history of the machine, his inspiration for its design (music box functionality, Piet Mondrian paintings, minimalism) and its prototype variations. He also led a tutorial on programming/playing the Tenori-On, which was great.


I made my way downstairs and found seven Tenori-On stations set up-- one of them was open! Here's what the "Random" mode looks like (you can hear the Yamaha stooge over the loudspeakers in the background):

There was a "Register to Win a Tenori-On" raffle. I stuck around until I heard that it wasn't going home with me and made my exit. There were three other performances happening, and I'm sure they were awesome. Again, search around for videos. I'd never seen so many cameraphones in my life as I did last night, and am sure someone caught what I missed.

  • Tenori-Ons will be available in the States on May 1st
  • They will retail for around $1,200
  • Production will be low-- they will be made in batches of 100, so expect backorders
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    Blogger kuchen said...

    hey pete - you missed out on sutekh. he seemed to be the most proficient on the tenori. lots of crazy visuals. pole barely used the thing, but turned in a great set with some steingarten remixing for the handful of people left.

    3:07 PM  
    Blogger Pete Shambler said...

    Sounds cool! Sad to have missed it. I can't wait until the summer, when Tenoris start popping up regularly at shows.

    3:19 PM  

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