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This Could Make Electronic Music Performances Less Boring


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SoundSpace uses virtual reality to turn movements into music.

If you’ve ever seen spectralist composer Iancu Dumitrescu conducting an ensemble that’s performing his music, you’ll notice that he doesn’t follow the traditional and very abstract motions for denoting when which musicians should do what. It’s a much more literal style that looks like how someone who doesn’t know the “rules” of conducting would conduct (that’s not to say that Dumitrescu doesn’t know about traditional conducting): raising his arms high above his head to connote more intensity and volume; sudden motions for crashing sounds. The new virtual reality device SoundSpace aims to apply a similarly intuitive logic to making music.

It works with the virtual reality headset from HTC Vive to allow users to select instruments and then manipulate and edit sounds using simple hand gestures—so one might distort the sound by twisting their fingers or muffle it by bringing their hands together, CNET reports.

The founder, Ray Li, first designed the device to solve what super-basic people think is one of electronic music’s core shortcomings: “If you look at the way electronic artists perform nowadays, it’s very not performative,” he told CNET. “They stand at a laptop and they press play, or they’re moving some knobs.” We’re not sure exactly why watching someone perform an EDM song with these gloves is more interesting, exciting or cooler than watching someone DJ, jam on hardware or just paying attention to the party around you—but after watching the demonstration above, we can’t deny that it definitely is.

Unfortunately SoundSpace doesn’t solve mainstream culture’s other main gripe with electronic music: it isn’t made with “real” instruments.

Read more: How to wage sonic warfare against birds.