For observers of music and technology, the 2014 Grammy Awards event was a watershed moment. Daft Punk celebrated the ascendency of electronic sound and image, declaring technology’s ownership of popular expression. Cool and crisp, digital performers replace human-sound with synthesized, open-ended audio constructs. Watching Daft Punk’s performance, we were struck by how new music has left its artists without an instrument that embraces the new role. A laptop doesn’t cut it.
CONCEPT 909 is a progressive instrument for new musicians who once played the guitar.
CONCEPT 909 works as a human machine interface that references a set of learned gestures and responses from another period in our musical evolution. Both a controller and a generator, the 909 is at home in the studio and on stage. As much an automaton as its performer- technician, the 909’s activators can be programmed to deliver sonic responses that astound, while retaining the tactile qualities of “strings” and “frets”.
“We did not choose to become robots. There was an accident in our studio. We were working on our sampler, and at exactly 9:09 am on September 9, 1999, it exploded. When we regained consciousness, we discovered that we had become robots”. – Daft Punk
Mobility rules lifestyle, and performers must be the masters of motion. What clearer form than the circle to express this new dynamic? The 909 looks to the circle for its primary form, its proportioning of activator extension, its historical references, and its integration to the performing technician’s body. When called on to move, the 909 stores its extensions and becomes as mobile as a wheel.
Technology finds its truest expression in pure geometry. Therefore a progressive instrument like CONCEPT 909 must acknowledge sonically, and importantly, visually, this call for purity. Circle-based arcs and intersections define the fundamental layout of the 909, while controller and generator elements, aligned with 909’s axis, provide the tactile and dynamic features key to creative musicianship.