Buchla Thunder rises like a phoenix as a Sensel Morph overlay
Back in 2015, Sensel introduced the Morph, a sensor-packed interface that could accommodate a host of colorful overlays for different tasks – from digital art creation to making music and gaming to simply keying in text. Now the company has introduced its first new overlay since Kickstarter backers began receiving their Morphs in 2017, the Buchla Thunder.
Originally developed in 1989 by instrument designer Don Buchla, the Thunder was a music instrument controller sporting touch sensitive keys in a design inspired by Native American art. It didn't sell well, with fewer than a hundred in total being manufactured.
Sensel, like many in the electronic music space, believes that the MIDI controller was way ahead of its time, and has partnered with Buchla USA for its rebirth as a Morph overlay.
Each of the expressive keys laid out in an eye-catching totem design transmits a different note, and responds to pressure and movement when paired with MPE synthesizers or external MIDI hardware. The Thunder-topped Morph can be plugged in or wirelessly connected over Bluetooth, and the overlay isn't just for music – it can also be customized for gaming, computer keyboard commands and so on using the Sensel App.
However, users don't need the app to use the Buchla Thunder as nine preset mappings have been installed for recall via the preset button and numerical keys. Other buttons across the top are used for moving the octave up and down, velocity sensing and pitch bend, and recording controls.
The overlay is available on its own, for those who already have a Morph interface, for US$59, or can be had as a Morph/Thunder bundle for $269. The video below has more.