I have recently come across OTO -wireless MIDI controllers- , but after a mini research, I have learnt that it has actually been around since November 2016. Well, I may have missed it, but still I wanted to write about it because I loved the three-dimensional concept and the design of this midi controller. And so here we are to see how form and sound can interact in an interesting way.
OTO means “oto-no-katachi” in Japanese, which could be translated as “the shape of sound”. The Berlin-based producer Sonic Geometry aimed to make a tool that you can manipulate the sound through physical touch – moving, shaking, rotating, rolling etc. Their journey started in 2015 as a masters’ thesis project at Berklee College of Music and they partnered with reputable manufacturers to realize their project. The first OTO units will be launched in April 2017.
How does it work? According to the information on their Kickstarter page, each OTO controller houses an IMU that communicates with a host computer via Bluetooth. The host computer translates the raw physical data into MIDI signals that can be used to control notes, CC data, etc. It is modular and easy to program. Another good point is that you can use it with your own DAWs like Ableton Live or Traktor. As it is a flexible and modular controller, the possibilities are endless.
Who is OTO for? I think anybody! Experienced DJs may attract their audience’s attention with its audio visual form while performing live on stage. You may be an electronic music enthusiast who wants to make some music to entertain yourself. Or you may be a music tech-lover wanting to try almost every new product in the market! It can even be used for music education as it is interesting to play with the sound by touching it. Think about the kids playing with them! As for me, I think I would definitely want to play a set of OTOs to show off. :D It seems to be a fun and tangible way of making music.