Take an open source MIDI synthesizer, a controller keyboard and some faders. Strap them to a plank of wood and ta-da, you have a Believotron Wanderlust synthesizer and Witch Stick Keytar combo. Would you believe it?
Believotron Wanderlust synthesizer
The Wanderlust is a box with some really natty controllers. The 4 joysticks are particularly interesting and not seen often enough on synthesizers in my opinion. Then there are 8 knobs and 4 OLED screens for displaying data. They talk a lot about endless sonic capabilities but don’t really do anything to show them off. Apparently, you can store sounds or patches on SD cards and swap them out with others as often as you want. The demo video manages to miss making this seem very exciting and I’m struggling to pull out anything that might be cool about it – other than the joysticks.
Inside the box is an Axoloti microcontroller board. This is an open source synthesis project that uses software called the Axoloti Patcher. It’s very much like Max/MSP or Reaktor in its ability to patch sounds and synthesise noises. You’ll find a load of great sound examples over on the Axoloti webpage. It’s a shame Believotron didn’t use some of these in their demo.
So from what I can gather Believotron have taken an Axoloti board and put it in a box with some cool controls.
Witch Stick Keytar
Now, forgive me if I’ve got the wrong end of the Witch Stick but this looks like a joke. It’s a blue plank of wood with a Wanderlust core, a keyboard controller and some faders taped onto it. Add a guitar strap (vegan, apparently) and you are ready to rock the stage. What is that about? Is that for real?
The Wanderlust is almost ready to go and should be released on the 10th November. Retail price is $350 but if you get in early you might be able to snag one for $250. Or you could pick up the Axoloti core for $65 and build your own controller. The Witch Stick Keytar is $550, reduced to $450 but does include the Wanderlust core and the other controller bits. You could build your own with a stick and some tape.
As it stands it’s all a bit weird. They need to produce a decent demo of people having fun and making music with this device. Show us the sounds, how you can modulate and what this stick is all about. It might get interesting, you never know.