Jul 30

If you are like me and have been a great fan of Imogen Heap and follow her impressive volume of social media comunications you are probably aware that she had a pair of gloves specially made to allow her to control aspects of her performance such as sounds, effects and drums using hand and finger gestures.

She gave a great performance last Wednesday at Wired Magazine’s The Future Of Music Event in London however, I think she missed a couple of beats on the air drums and played just like our drummer does. It did look very impressive and just shows the many different ways of making music and a glipse at what the future holds. She seemed to be wearing 4 radio packs on her and you could just make out a USB cable trailing down her leg!

The gloves were developed by Tom Mitchell, a lecturer in music systems at the University of the West of England, Bristol and allow Imogen to mix her music live on stage. Apparently, they have sensors that monitor the motion of the wearer’s finger joints, along with a gyroscope and accelerator to track the orientation of the wearer’s hands in space and microphones attached to the wrist for sound capture. All the data is then streamed to a laptop for analysis and audio processing. Imogen’s sharp wrist rotations step through a number of modes and then arm and finger positions can be used to control stuff such as volume, pan, reverb send, low-pass filter, distortion, looping, sample triggering and pitched instrument playing. She just doesn’t stop pushing the boundaries of music technology forward – what a great artist. Have a look at the You Tube clip:-

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