Karlax Electronic Instrument Offers ‘Absolute Control’

Here’s a new video demo for the Karlax – a new electronic instrument designed to “re-establish the artist’s body at the heart of the performance.”

Check out the video demo and let us know what you think about the Karlax!

When the instrument was introduced in 2010, we called the Karlax ‘The Most Bizarre New Instrument Of The Year’.

The Karlax is designed to capture a variety of expressive movements, which can be accessed in a simple, intuitive manner and to offer ‘real time absolute control’. Its sensors are fitted to precision mechanics components. The architecture allows pistons, keys, switches, benders, triggers, a rotation axis and an inertial unit (comprising an inclinometer, accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope) to be activated separately or simultaneously.

The Karlax Visionary Pack, which includes the instrument, cases, Karlax MIDI or OSC receiver, charger, cables and software, is priced at 4 700€.

See the Karlax site for details.

30 thoughts on “Karlax Electronic Instrument Offers ‘Absolute Control’

  1. Why people of contempory art are looking so serious and pretentious ?
    Always act as they were the onlyones to understand what they are doing.

    I will be curious to see the difference of result between them and a monkey using this karlax.

  2. Great critique. I have a sneakey suspicion it is made by some middle class joke, who thinks they are re inventing the wheel.
    Can’t see any mass appeal . Utter wank.

  3. i do actually find alternative controllers quite compelling- that’s what the band in Mos Eisley cantina all use, right?- but they often bring little new to the table (or empty lecture hall) than a Wiimote/Nunchuck combo would.

    I think audiences, and users of keyboards/pad triggers etc. can easily see that the performer is “playing” their instrument, whereas with this ^ sort of thing i find myself waiting for the player to start “playing”.

    II’m sure we’ve all seen spaced out dancers on dancefloors doing this with a water bottle or a twig, a glowstick, or whatever.

    How would you tell who the musician is?
    Does it even matter?

    -they should have called it KomputaFlute.

  4. For something that looks very similar to a flute, I find it surprising that you can’t use it as wind instrument at all. I wonder why the designers chose this shape instead of something more compact. After all, it’s “only” a 4700€ MIDI/OSC controller with buttons and inertial sensor.

    I don’t see any reason why it has to look like a flute. With this shape, I was expecting something like an Eigenharp.

  5. Wait, did I just see Iggy Pop dancing with it?

    Anyhow, if I had that kind of money to spend, I’d probably buy it after a while. Since I don’t, I’ll just wonder how it works and what I could have done with it some times, and most times just forget it even exists.

    1. Holy crap, that dude does bare an uncanny resemblance to Iggy. That being said, Iggy Pop would take that stupid thing and beat this guy silly with it. This is the most wanktastic thing I’ve seen in awhile.

  6. They want complete control, yet completely fail to have a BREATH CONTROLLER?

    Seriously. Synth makers have got to get their heads out of their asses.
    Breath is the ONLY true continuous controller that everyone can use.

  7. Way too much emphasis on midi controllers these days. By the looks of It, I was expecting it to be a breath controller; I could see how that would have been compelling to a lot of people, but this just looks silly. Someone needs to edit that video and replace the Karlax with a broom.

  8. From what I’ve seen with the demo, I could probably do that with an iPhone/iPad and a drum controller. No breath sensor?!?. It does look a little like a variation on a WX7. They are going to have to do a much more in-depth presentation to interest anyone in this.

  9. I didn’t see any of them play notes, scales, chords, or even drum patterns on that thing. I’d like to see an actual musical performance rather than abstract contemporary performance art.. Or perhaps they’re trying to sell it to those people instead of musicians?

  10. I’m torn between seeing this as having great potential as a multi-media tool and simply being pretentious. I don’t think the general audience will zero in on it enough to think on the several axes of perception required to see the motions and sounds as being connected to a human being. There’s a disconnect somewhere in it, because the lexicon is not yet established. I’m a bit stumped as to what they’re trying to express. OTOH, people raised on rapid-fire gigabyte input may love being able to animate in real-time and make sound just by moving around. Its more effort-free than manipulating a loop with each hand on a Kaossilator. I still give the Eigenharp points for an interesting take on how you access notes, but at present, the Karlax looks like a performance-art whack-off. Its a squid with feathers. WTF, as we say.

    1. The Juno 60 is a great synth – but it’s got a keyboard with no velocity or aftertouch, so it’s really limited in terms of your options for playing expressively.

      This thing seems to be just the opposite, offering a zillion expressive control options. Sort of like the Eigenharp.

  11. It’s not the device that is pretentious but the presentation and pricing, as it’s clearly marketed to high end artsy stage performers and priced for their pockets.

    At $6,000.00 USD for a midi controller your going to have someone come up with a $150 version of this and then shortly after an iphone app.

  12. WTF??
    I am puzzled to you can do half that shit already with current products and look way less stupid, still have most of your cash left along with some dignity . I never voice my opinion online good or bad but i just could not help it > I also cant stop laughing at the several somewhat negative comments tooo funny
    Im sorry in advance for my thumbs down
    my bad

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