Remember when Apple unveiled a fancy new gadget called the iPod? Seems a life time ago now, doesn’t it? That’s the unstoppable, fast-moving march of technology for you. A little over a decade and a half ago, mp3 players didn’t exist, and carrying every record you own as you go about your daily routine meant a serious chiropractor bill at the end of it. Then, as quickly as iPods became commonplace, they became old hat. Point is – those clever clogs in Silicon Valley and beyond are constantly evolving the way we experience music. Here’s 13 new inventions and innovations that could be about to change the way music is listened to and made in years to come…
Music is all about escape. For times when the lock on your bedroom door just isn’t enough to keep the cruel, cruel world at bay, climb into your AudioOrb and let your troubles (and the sound of everyone else’s voice) melt away. The first and only speaker you can actually enter, AudioOrb literally has your back. Why did you miss the post? I was in my AudioOrb. Why are you ignoring my calls? I was in my AudioOrb. Why haven’t we seen you for the last six months? I was chilling the hell out in my AudioOrb.
Wearing headphones and not being able to hear people talk is just the worst, isn’t it? These earless headphones use bone conduction, sending sound waves through your skull to your ‘inner ear’ meaning your lovely sweat-free outer ear can get on with all the earwigging it’s used to. Though the idea of secretly soundtracking inane lectures with brain-bending psych is appealing, the BatBand is probably best for calls, gaming and saving Gotham City on the go. Still, now we know we have MORE THAN TWO EARS maybe someone can hurry up and combine this with a normal pair of headphones, pls. Thanks.
Biomusic comes from biocomputers. Biocomputers are powered by living materials like slime mould, which produces an electrical signal when it searches for food. Professors from Plymouth University cultured slime onto a circuit board and used it to power a response to live piano, resulting in the world’s first ever piano vs slime mould duet. It was magical.
Digital Crown – Arcade Fire Reflektor Tour
It’s a woefully underreported fact that when Win Butler commissioned the customisable four screen XO Digital Crown for Arcade Fire’s Reflektor Tour last year, he wasn’t thinking about how to use progressive and portable multimedia technology to wow audiences and push the boundaries of performance on a global arena tour, he was just starting a head-wear beef with fellow Canadian Deadmau5.
The Basslet acts like an N64 (RIP) Rumble Pak for your wrist. Every time the bass drops you’ll feel vibrations through your whole body. Shipping in 2016, it’s the perfect accompaniment for your next Valentine’s day playlist, ahem…
Quit those guitar lessons and get virtuoso on Moog’s Theremini. Unlike its cumbersome older cousin, Theremini is super portable, has 32 alterable presets, looks like a tiny spaceship and will give your folk-rock four-piece exactly the kind of intergalactic hum those faux Tom Petty choruses are missing.
360 degree music videos
If there’s one person with speedy boarding sorted for Nasa’s emergency apocalypse spacecraft, it’s Björk. New technology has always fed her music and last year’s immersive, 360-degree virtual reality video for ‘Stonemilker’ was no exception, reducing viewers to tears as they zoomed in and around her windswept Icelandic beach. Soon we’ll all be clambering inside music videos on our 3D TVs. Who says you need to leave the sofa to notch up those air miles, eh.
Mad UK milliner Jodie Cartman has teamed up with the Inspector Gadget of underground electronica Crewdson, to create a glistening series of playable headwear. Crystalline crowns laced with MIDI controllers mean a nod of the head can trigger anything from gurgling synth waves to flashing lights. Just don’t forget you have it on when you leave the stage.
Glow laser headphones
Remember when everyone went batshit for Apple’s headphones because they were white? Whatever. These have been inspired by lasers AKA the cornerstone for any sensible new invention. You’ll never lose them in the bottom of your bag again.
SeaBoard by Roli
Roli are making instruments for the future. Mastering this slick new keyboard has the potential to rewire your metaphysical harddrive and push your music way beyond Clinton’s mothership. The key feature is the hypersensitivity of the keys, allowing you to bend and flex until you discover the never-before-heard power chord of destiny.
EEG (electroencephalography) has long been used to read, diagnose and study the brain. Thanks to ever shrinking components, you can now buy an “affordable” EEG headset to measure your brainwaves and pump out the data in real time. This data can be used however you want, with multiple artists choosing to output it as sound. What this essentially means, is that you’ll soon be able to ‘think’ your debut album into being. Bands and rehearsal rooms are so 2015, ugh.
Q Lights by Belleds
The Q lighting series responds to the music that’s playing in your room. With customisable colours and timing via its accompanying app, you can paint your walls with the right vibe all day, every day. Red velvet shadows for Lana Del Rey, green for Snoop Dogg and a total black out anytime someone hijacks your playlist and puts on 1D.
Clothing needs to up its game, frankly. For too long we’ve had to rely on keyboard ties and flashy rave T-shirts from that downstairs shop in Camden which looks like a poorly attended Skrillex gig inside a disappointing unit from Storage Wars. Enter: DrumPants. With wearable MIDI triggers on your legs, you can recreate John Bonham’s finest on the go and finish everything you say with a quick jerk of the knee, *ba-dum-tshh*