BangStrokeBlow – Eigenharp Alpha Synth Jam

Here’s a little mid-week alternate-controller synth jamming from BangStrokeBlow.

BangStrokeBlow are a duo working with sounds, samples and beats on the Eigenlabs Eigenharp. They call themselves “the only duo of Eigenharpists in the world.”

BangStrokeBlow make dance-orientated, experimental music.

You can download BangStrokeBlow’s synth jams at their SoundCloud page.

Submitted by John Newman

16 thoughts on “BangStrokeBlow – Eigenharp Alpha Synth Jam

  1. I like it! Is that two of the guys that were part of the demo team for eigenlabs?

    I'd like to hear about their setup for performing a track like that. The music video nature of the clip makes it hard to make out. I'd like to see how much of it is being played, how much is live sequencing on the harp, and if any of it is a backing track.

  2. If this video is supposed to promote the Eigenharp all it did is make me associate the Eigenharp with stepping barefoot into spilled food in the kitchen. Reminds me of that time I woke up and didn't have my contact lenses in and stepped in a puddle of cat barf first thing in the morning… Wow, Eigenlabs are some real marketing geniuses. If I ever see one of these monstrosities in a gear shop I'm sure to think "hey, cat barf!".

  3. Hi there and thanks for your comment.

    In terms of performance the only thing we run on a sequence are the kick and snare.
    We have various patterns and modulation for these hooked up to the keys though so we can manipulate them easily. It is important to us that as much as possible is live, we did try making the beat from scratch but at this stage, it impinged too much on the flow and immediacy of the song. We feel that by at least having control over every element then at least no two performances will sound the same.
    Everything else we play live. The arpeggiators you hear are normally recorded near the start of the tune, we then filter them and fade them in and out using the strip controllers or pedals. We play all of the lead lines and again record some, which we then modulate.
    I am using the arranger [step sequencer] to play all the auxiliary drum sounds/percussion and noises in real time.

    I hope this answers your question. We are about to put up some more videos of our live performance so I hope you can glean more from these.

  4. Hi lol. Just to confirm that Bangstrokeblow is our project outside of Eigenlabs and it is not a bizarre marketing ploy by the company.

  5. Yeah, I was immensely underwhelmed too. Nothing beats using really expensive controllers to churn out derivative and uninteresting dance music.

    This is experimental music? I don't hear it. Do something DIFFERENT with these new toys and my ears will perk up. Otherwise, what's the point?

    The only thing I learned from this video is that there's a obscure fetish (food+feet) that I was previously unaware of… 😉

  6. Yes, we must only use new instruments exclusively for experimental music!

    The point is being able to control everything live, and being able to demonstrate expression in a live situation which is quite hard to do with synths/keys at the moment.

  7. To be fair in this discussion, I watched and listened a second time, and I still heard very little in the way of expression being used in this piece, aside from one section where the side ribbon controller is used as a filter.

    New instruments like this one DO have amazing potential, and of course players can use whatever instruments they wish (old or new) to play whatever music they wish. But when someone states that what they're doing is "experimental music" when it clearly is NOT, then they'll be called on it, whatever instrument they are using. They obviously worked hard programming the song to be controlled by their Eigenharps, and I'm sure it took some real time to rehearse and execute it. I only have an issue with the result of all that effort.

    This isn't a criticism of the Eigenharp; hell, I wish I had one myself! But while I've fallen under the spell of this cool new toy's looks and features, I'm still waiting to see a video of someone doing something REALLY interesting musically with it, instead of just imitating other instruments or rehashing sequenced dance music. In the end, the Eigenharp is just another tool that needs to be mastered. I do know a few fine musicians that are devoted to doing just that with this instrument, but in my opinion, that's not heard in this particular video.

    Also, many musicians here may take issue with a statement that "being able to demonstrate expression in a live situation which is quite hard to do with synths/keys at the moment." This piece could easily have been played using Live and an Akai APC40, or a couple of Korg nano controllers. Of course, it wouldn't have been as visually interesting in a video. If not for the unique situation of TWO Eigenharps being used as controllers, we wouldn't be discussing this piece at all!

  8. Fair enough, I should have rephrased, it would be hard to perform it live and have it not look like you were either just checking your email, or djing, which i think a lot of people mistake electronic musicians doing.

    You see these guys on stage, and people can see that they are the ones controlling the sound, at least to an extent. Even if it's just an appearances thing, it still makes a difference.

  9. I agree with you totally on that point. Nothing worse than seeing a performance of somebody hunched over a laptop. That's where the true potential lies with an instrument like the Eigenharp. It's the first keyboard-like controller I've seen that allows the audience to totally see what you're playing/triggering, and the pretty lights allow them to follow what's be played/sequenced by the player. I

    've seen several Eigenharp live performances, and the instrument definitely attracts a LOT of attention! Plus, the freedom to move around the stage sure beats being trapped behind a pile of synths any day!

  10. I'm not luck enough to have seen an eigenharp in the real world yet. I hope it wont be too long. 🙂

    You are ultimately right about the performances not really standing out as something unique to the eigenharp yet, but consider how long we had electric guitars before we started really seeing how they could be used. Give it time. I'm hoping one day we'll see that defining eigenharp moment.

Leave a Reply