What People Did with the Artiphon Instrument 1 in Its First Year

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Sarah, the !llstrumentalist
Sarah, the !llstrumentalist

In 2015, Mike Butera and the Artiphon team launched the Instrument 1 on Kickstarter. Their goal was to create a “multi-instrument” that could be played like a guitar, violin, piano, or sampler — giving music-makers an interface that was as flexible and customizable as the digital sounds it controlled.

That vision resonated with more than 3,300 backers, who helped the Instrument 1 become the highest-funded musical instrument on Kickstarter to date. As a platform devoted to bringing creative projects to life, we love it when creators make tools that encourage others to be creative in new ways. So we asked Butera to share some of his favorite examples of the music people made with the Instrument 1 from the past year.

Mike Butera
Mike Butera

Every day, like proud parents, the Artiphon team and I watch as people around the world share what they’re creating with the Instrument 1. We laugh, we cry, we fist pump. Of course, we didn’t know what would happen when we hit the green “Launch” button on our Kickstarter campaign back in 2015. And as we started shipping, we didn’t know what people would do with the creative canvas of the Instrument 1. But here we are, leaping into 2018, and thousands of people are discovering new ways to explore music and share their sounds. 

Here are five moments that really moved us this year.

The Phronetic: Move

We met Alejandro Lombardi, a.k.a. The Phronetic, through Instagram, and it quickly became clear that the Bolivian-born, Brooklyn-raised producer would take the Instrument 1 to new heights. Alejandro embodies so much of what modern music-making is all about, and his followers really lit up when he started posting Instrument 1 performances. This track was made entirely on the Instrument 1, and you’ll be able to hear it on his forthcoming album.

Zoë: How Far I'll Go

Of all the feature updates we introduced in 2017, we are most excited about Smart Strum. Picture being able to play any chord progression with the touch of your finger. To celebrate the arrival of Smart Strum we threw a friendly contest, and nine-year-old Zoë from Australia swept the competition with her version of “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana.

Taetro: Beat Making Performance

Taetro, a.k.a. Nick Tetrault, is a beatmaker and producer who shares his performances — and creative process — online. This year he put out a series of videos showing how he works with the Instrument 1, taking his ideas to interesting places like the shoreline and an orb-filled bed. In the video above, he walks us through making a beat with the Instrument 1 and Ampify’s Groovebox app on his iPhone. (Check out his tricked-out I1 with glowing light pipes!)

Sarah the !llstrumentalist: Artiphon Instrument 1 Review

Sarah Santana, known to the internet as Sarah the !llstrumentalist, represents a generation of producers who have discovered the overflowing musical potential of the iPad. She’s a whiz with iOS music programs and has gone to town plugging the Instrument 1 into apps like Apple’s GarageBand, Moog’s Model 15, and many others. Even Mom gets a turn when Sarah puts the Instrument 1 into Smart Strum mode.

Shoeg al Feeel

We always hoped people would take the Instrument 1 to the outer reaches of sonic space. Barcelona-based Shoeg, a.k.a. Carlos Martorell, composes ambient soundscapes accompanied by sound-reactive visuals programed in Unity. Carlos dives deep, using Artiphon’s on-board accelerometer to manipulate his timbres, and even writes custom Max for Live patches. He recently gave an Instrument 1-based performance at the MIRA Festival and was featured on the Catalonian-language program Feeel.

These are just a few examples of the amazing things people have done with the Instrument 1. You can see more here — including this virtual jam session featuring a dozen players collaborating on a song using the Instrument 1. We can’t wait to see what our growing family of music-makers does in 2018!

To learn more about how Mike Butera and the Artiphon team created a new instrument for digital musicians, tune in to our live-streamed interview from the show floor at CES, taking place January 10, 2018 at 4pm EST/1pm PST. 

Head here to explore more music tech on Kickstarter.