I reported on the cool looking Hyve synth last year. It’s the brainchild of Skot Weidmann who would use it to run synth making workshops. Every student gets to build one as part of the course. It always looked far too good to me to be left in the hands of unappreciative students and thankfully he’s decided that everyone should get a go. The “Hyve for everyone” was launched on Kickstarter the other day and has already crashed through its $20,000 goal.
Hyve is a weird, single sound, 60 note polyphonic analog instrument. There’s no patching or presets it’s simply manipulated by the touch-plate interface. Slide your fingers about and make new noises – that’s the idea. You can use pressure, horizontal or vertical movements. The bottom half is like a piano keyboard but the pitch depends on your finger position. Horizontal movements control panning whereas forward and back affects the pitch (probably, the details are a little sketchy to be honest). The top half uses a hexagon grid, like that found in more experimental MIDI controllers (Yeco springs to mind), which groups notes together that sound good. Straight up is a perfect 5th, right is a major 3rd, left a minor 3rd and so on.
It all responds to pressure and movement in interesting ways.
The Hyve is fun, it’s interactive with no glass screens, it has acres of battery life and completely playable by anyone who has fingers.
A pledge of $79 will buy you the bare circuit board with touch-plate interface on the other side. $149 will buy you a full kit with all the components and full instructions on how to build it. $299 gives you the real deal. A working Hyve, in a beautiful wooden case.
For more information head over to the Kickstarter page and join in the fun. There are lots of great videos of the Hyve being played. This is my favourite – with some added effects.