Eric and his Sonic Banana

I'm always slightly paranoid about being hoaxed on Music Thing. I was very, very dubious about the reality of Godfried Willem Raes, and I'm still not convinced that Belinda Bedekovic is kosher. So I'm pretty sure that Eric Singer's website is a trail for some wacky BBC2 comedy series (perhaps a spin off from Look Around You) The pitch is that Eric is "a Brooklyn-based musician, artist, engineer and programmer with 20 years of arts and multimedia programming" who has created a Max/MSP controller called the Sonic Banana, which he plays in these video clips, while staring deep into your soul. I think the site designers jump the shark when they claim that Eric reached the semi-finals of Junkyard Wars as part of a team called "The Brooklyn Benders". That's just silly. (Thanks Ray!)

Are you sure you're just not jealous that your, er, banana isn't sonic?

But really though, Singer's Sonic Banana is the real deal -- I saw him demo it at NIME '03, along with the Guitarbot. Surprising how much expressiveness he could get out of a bending piece of metal!

He really was on Junkyard Wars. There is the proof. Heh.
Eric's real; I know him.

See also his pyrophone, which I still think is his coolest creation (aside from perhaps GuitarBot)

The Sonic Banana makes use of a string of flex sensors. They're circuits that change in capacitance as they bend; they're cheap and widely available. (I expect those MIDI sock puppets I covered recently work the same way.)

Quite simple, really, meaning the cleverness has to come from playing it and using the sensor data in a musical way -- Eric's got the mad Max/MSP chops, for sure.
Honestly doesn't seem all that clever to me. Can be recreated using virtually any midi controller modded to take flexion sensor signals. EoWave sells them for 40€ each. The Banana thing has four by the looks of it.

But the stare is priceless!
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