Japanese artist Nobumichi Tosa has an interesting concept for the future of musical performance: Interactive, movement-controlled exoskeletons programmed (much like a synthesizer,) to produce any range of sounds. It’s operated by the speed of the user’s movement, the position of his poses, and the appearance of certain specific gestures. And though this particular device is only used for performance art by Nobumichi’s design troop, Maywa Denki, the idea in general is gaining a lot of ground.
There are several simpler iterations of this concept that work via ultrasound, radar, or lasers that register movement within their field. In general, this method allows a much greater range of sound – with every subtle movement being capable of slight variations in both pitch and tone – but it also incorporates the physical aspects of dance into the act of producing music. But Nobumichi Tosa’s device differs substantially from these other motion-controlled instruments by virtue of one simple but important distinction: IT’S A FUCKING ROCK BATTLEMECH FROM THE FUTURE!
Watch this, and realize that, thanks to Nobumichi Tosa, your over-the-top rockstar fantasies have now completely merged with your desperate childhood desire to be Voltron:
Now, admittedly that music in the video is nowhere near rock god status, but shit, it’s pretty much just a Casio Gundam – you could program anything you wanted in there and then sync it to any gesture: Clapping becomes a twelve piece drumset, jumpkicks provide a steady bass line, while giant, sweeping middle fingers rage like epic guitar solos in a darkened arena… and all while looking like a fucking Robocop villain!
There’s a lot of art-speak surrounding this motion/music concept – Tosa, for example, considers himself a “nonsense artist” (which differs from every other artist how, exactly?) but that doesn’t mean this one has to die off like all the other performance arts bullshit devices. This one’s actually useful! Picture a future where musicians – still largely unemployed hacks in torn jeans – will have to strap on epic, specialized battle suits before they’d even be allowed to perform on the eight inch tall stage of a coffee shop’s open mic night. It would instantly weed out all the shiftless Jack Johnson acoustic hacks! But more importantly, picture a future where your favorite band strolls on-stage decked out in their own intricate robotics. As the lights begin to dim and a roar comes up from the audience, they start the show… by bolting together like Constructicons of Rock.
Listen, I know this post is a little light on technical information, which I am usually pretty good about – but that’s due to three things:
1. This is all fairly underground right now. There’s just not much detail available.
2. What detail is available, is mostly in Japanese.
So to tide you over, I dug around as much as I could and found a few more devices by Maywa Denki. Though none come close to the Guitar Solo Terminator up there, they’ll at least clue you in to the level of insanity behind these inventors:
So…you need electronic finger snappers just to play it? Has anybody even invented those yet? Talk about putting the cart before the horse, and then mounting rockets on the cart and blasting it into space so that the horse may never hope to find it.
This is a thirteen-week-old-fetus-faced pistol. You pull the trigger to operate the horrible undead baby face’s mouth, ostensibly for ‘ventriloquist purposes,’ which either means that the translator responsible for this copy didn’t recognize the world ‘ventriloquist,’ or else the whole profession takes on a horrifying turn in Japan. But hey, it is fun for the whole family! Or at least it will be, after you murder them and take on their personas!
And finally: Post-apocalyptic fish crossbow! What is it really used for? It’s not! It really is a fish crossbow. Because fuck fish, that’s why!
So, in summation, Maywa Denki is the hot new company to watch! Because if you take your eye off them, next thing you know the Rockmechs are coming for you – and may god have mercy on your soul if they find you without your Fetus Face Pistol and Fishbow at the ready…