Monday, September 22, 2008

The Kaoss Pad

You might recall a few posts back about how I was at Radiohead last month, where guitarists /multi-instrumentalists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien were noodling around onstage with this funny little gadget during some of the was mainly Jonny's thing, though. While I was close to the stage, I was far enough back to where I couldn't really make out what in the heck he was all hunched over and playing around with at certain times. At first, it looked rather silly to see him kneeling down to play with what turned out to be this little gadget called the Kaoss the time I was baffled enough that it might as well been an Atari joystick. I'm still a little confused on why it needed to be operated on the ground...maybe it would have looked even more ridiculous being performed on something like a podium. Nevertheless, while it looked uncomfortable and awkward down there, it created some very unusual and trippy sounds. Maybe the live shot of Radiohead at the end of this post will reveal a bit into the mysteries of this device. It seems like something that might be more helpful in the studio, but there's obviously an improvisation value to it's use onstage. It seems to do quite a few things, but notably it allows the user to isolate certain sounds so they can be morphed, distorted, or looped. It appears to require some serious reading of an instruction manual...maybe THAT'S why he had it on the ground. He was reading the friggin' manual on how to operate the damn thing. Then again, maybe not. The thought's at least worth a chuckle. Radiohead actually ended their set that night with a continuous Kaoss Pad loop that the two guitarists programmed live...the roadies literally had to come out to "shut them off." I can't say I've seen anything like that before. So check out these gadgets in a live gig below here...for anyone who's ever listened to the live version of "Everything in its Right Place" off Radiohead's Live: I Might Be Wrong CD -- and couldn't figure out what in the heck was going on (myself included) -- this helps to explain things. Beyond that, you can read up about it's technical and highly detailed specs, which I refuse to bore you with. S

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