I read about this Reactable instrument somewhere and then I found these clips on YouTube (where else?) and I am not sure what to make of it. It is called a “tangible interface” instrument, which means that you manipulate the sounds with objects and space between the objects, on a surface board of light and electricity.
It reminds me of a professor I had in college who had been part of the New York City experimental music scene and then ended up in our dinky little college. He used to have us create all these different sounds, using different tonal patterns and (gasp) reaching into the grand pianos and plucking strings, banging on parts, etc, as a way to get beyond the traditional aspects of composition. We often did this with the door closed so that the other music teachers would not see us, since putting your hands in the guts of a grand piano is often a huge no-no. I remember composing this very bizarre piece for prepared piano and soprano sax — I worked hard at it, trying to get it just right — and when we played it live, it was as if I were in another world. We shook off melody and harmony in order to achieve something new.
Anyway, take a look at the Reactable:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/0h-RhyopUmc" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/vm_FzLya8y4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Peace (in experimental music),