As the lines between DJ and musician blur, we’re always looking for new ways to perform in front of a crowd. Mixing track A to B just isn’t enough for some, thus interesting instruments pop up that challenge convention and get us to think about how we interact with music and importantly the audience. The AlphaSphere nexus is one such piece, and after hitting the US and Japan earlier this year, the UK-based nu desine is ready to put out a limited run of the AlphaSphere nexus closer to home. Well… our home anyway.
Here’s the verbiage from nu desine:
27/11/13 AlphaSphere nexus launches in Europe.
nu desine have announced the launch of a limited run of the AlphaSphere nexus series which is now available for purchase throughout Europe. After launches in Japan and the USA earlier in the year, it is now Europe’s turn to have a generation of producers and musicians empowered by the creative possibilities of the AlphaSphere. AlphaSphere nexus is the definitive version of the AlphaSphere, and is available through nu desine’s web store or one of their partner sites.
The AlphaSphere is a completely new electronic musical instrument. It’s 48 tactile pads allow you to sculpt, manipulate and perform electronic music in an unrestrained, expressive way usually reserved for acoustic instruments. Through the accompanying software, AlphaLive, the AlphaSphere is compatible with all existing DAWs and MIDI software, and it is also completely programmable and allows a series of notational arrangements to be mapped to the spherical lattice pad layout.
Rou Reynolds, frontman of post-hardcore band Enter Shikari who recently closed out the Warped Tour UK show at Alexandra Palace, London, with the AlphaSphere front and centre, says, “I love the diversity and control available with the AlphaSphere, and let’s be frank it also just looks plain badass”.
Founding Director Adam Place says, “Here at nu desine we couldn’t be more excited about the state and direction of electronic music. We are constantly inspired and amazed by the new sounds coming out of the studios and homes around the world, and hope our product can inspire the masses of new producers and musicians continue their role in shaping this exciting musical movement.”
AlphaSphere nexus is the second product offering from Bristol, UK, based nu desine. It can be bought at alphasphere.com where free shipping is currently being offered on all UK orders placed before Christmas.
Is the AlphaSphere nexus for you?
It would be safe to say that this is more in the realms of pure controllerism that DJing. And in the right hands, I’m sure some really clever Ableton Live based work can be pulled off. But sat in the corner of your local wine bar knocking out top 40 hits? No. Casual inebriated punters will be aching to tap those pads for fun and dares.
But the AlphaSphere nexus isn’t for your average DJ, or I would venture DJs at all depending on how sharp or blurred your own line is. I feel that this is as much about visual performance as it is technical abilities. LED lights aside, all but the smallest pads are pressure and velocity sensitive, allowing some pretty complex MIDI based tricks to be pulled off.
It’s the kind of thing that you need to play with before really forming an opinion. The AlphaSphere is pretty unique within the field it operates in, and it incredibly challenging to established workflows. I’d love to see how flatter and more linear artists like Jeremy Ellis or AraabMuzik would take to this. It certainly comes across as more subtle and nuanced than all out pad bashing.
With nu desine being UK-based, I’ll extend an invitation to the guys to come along and show us what’s what. But for anyone over here who wants one, the AlphaSphere nexus is available with free shipping for £678.90.