Joué Play opens up expressive music-making to everyone
Joué Music Instruments has launched the next generation of its modular music-making interface on Kickstarter. Where the original was designed with pro musicians in mind, the Joué Play has been developed so anyone can make music.
"We wanted to take the frustration out of learning an instrument that normally would take years to master," said company founder and CEO Pascal Joguet. "Therefore, we’re thrilled to bring Joué instruments to a new generation of musicians. At the crossroads of electronic machines and traditional instruments, we have created new types of instruments which encompass the power and ease of the digital world coupled with the expressivity and beauty of the traditional one."
Joguet may be best known as the co-creator of the multi-touch Lemur controller used by artists like Daft Punk, Led Zeppelin, Nine Inch Nails, Björk, and Madonna. In 2016, he and his Bordeaux-based team launched the original Joué instrument on Kickstarter. A wooden and metal block with a velocity sensing pressure surface up top, users would place silicone modules on the top and use these to play the interface.
Joué is connected to a smart device running music production software over USB, essentially offering a tactile, possibly even analog way to play virtual instruments set up using companion editor software. Expressive gestures can be used to dial in some vibrato, pitch bends or even mimic aftertouch, offering players a much more satisfying experience than might otherwise be had on a flat and lifeless tablet screen.
The new iteration works in a similar fashion, but is reported easier for novices to play than the original, requiring no prior musical knowledge. It features a main board fashioned using sustainably-source beech wood and steel that's backpack-friendly, and swappable, non-magnetized, one-size silicone pads designed to look like piano keys, a guitar neck, a synth keyboard and drum pads.
The main board doesn't contain a battery so will leech power from the mobile device it's cabled to, and combines with a companion mobile app to help you play and record your beats or melodies, which can be shared online. Available sound banks offer up traditional instruments, synthesizers, drum kits and more, and the app will auto register which of the pads is placed on the main board's upper surface. Up to eight different instruments can be added to a song, with effects added and final mixing undertaken through the app.
Kickstarter pledges for a full Joué Play bundle, which includes the main board and four instrument pads, start at US$289. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October. The video below has more.