Make Music With A Table

By Nicholas Berger

Jul 17, 2009 10:56am

For this summer Friday, a nice piece offered from our friend Viviana Hurtado, a reporter in the ABC News DC bureau. They took a look at this cool piece of music-makery called the ReacTable. She writes (and has video!) below:

By day, Kirit Radia struts his smarts covering the State Department for ABC News. I cover EVERYTHING as a general assignment correspondent for NewsOne, ABC’s affiliate news service.

But one night in May after work, we ditched our business suits for club kid outfits, and headed out to a rave.

The Mexican Cultural Institute, which normally hosts critically-acclaimed authors, artists, and chefs, was transformed into a nightclub. The lights were dimmed low. Images that accompanied the techno beats pumped through the halls of this Neo-classical building, courtesy of Cubenx (Mexico), Panoptica DJ (Mexico), Del Palo Soundsystem: Griffi + DJ2D2 feat. Aqeel (Spain) and d.a.r.y.l. (Spain). These DJs “spin” the hippest tunes on their lap tops. On the cutting edge of electronic music, the artists were touring the U.S as part of a tour to drum up excitement for SONARSOUND. The annual June festival, in its 16th year, is dedicated to “advanced” music. The musical celebration is held in Barcelona, the city that is a shrine to the avant-garde art of Gaudi, Dalí and Miró.

But the star of this electronica constellation was the ReacTable.

Part installation, part computer, the ReacTable is the brain child of Barcelona computer whizzes Sergi Jordá, Marcos Alonso, Günter Geiger and Martin Kaltenbrunner. But this innovative machine needed a soul. That’s where musician Carlos Lopez comes in. Like the conductor of an orchestra, he intuitively knows how to pull everything together. Running the blocks along the computer screen, he makes the ReacTable sing. Unlike total amateurs like Kirit and I, Lopez is a maestro. Wistful and poignant, or playful and silly, Lopez says the music he creates reflects his mood, his experiences, and his longings. Playing the ReacTable, like other art forms, is this artist’s quest for perfection in an imperfect world, a journey to make whole, what’s incomplete.

Dan Barojas, who was in the audience, calls himself a connoisseur of cutting edge music. He says he’s never experienced anything like the ReacTable. “It obviously has a much more visual presence and performance presence, and the interactivity between having to move physical chips and having to put them in different parts as compared to shifting buttons or doing something on your computer screen brings it on a different level.”

Kirit and I were also blown away by the ReacTable’s creativity. Moonlighting as club kids/music critics made putting in a long day to discover this instrument and bring this experience to our viewers, worth it.

(Viviana Hurtado)

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