Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:
Music lessons at my old school consisted of a few shakers, a piano, and an old guy talking about Mozart. In France, things are very different. This awesome-looking psychedelic synth is the reason why there are so many cool French electronic musicians. It's the latest version of Le Cybersongosse, a series of synths developed at the Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges. They've been used to teach French kids about recording technology and synthesis since 1973. This one is a hardware control surface connected to a G5 running MAX/MSP, the musical programming language developed in Paris at the IRCAM research institute, and now used by techno musicians like Aphex Twin. For basic lessons, kids use just the controller with a microphone. More advanced lessons are taught with a touch tablet and a monitor. When I first mentioned the Cybersongosse on Music Thing, the response was immediate and unanimous: "Never mind the French kids, where can I buy one?"