the Tenori-on Wankathon

For those of you who haven’t heard, the Tenori-on is a new instrument by Yamaha, under the guidence of Toshio Iwai. I couldn’t obtain one in America at the time so i found a record shop in london who was selling them, I ordered It over the phone, purchased via paypal, and had it mailed to my brothers house in London, since they would only ship within the UK. Three weeks later I went to visit him and to play with my new toy, and immediately I felt that i paid way too much money for this(666 quid/$1,286 american). And I did, I paid too much fucking money for this little “toy”, which is what it is, if you really want to be honest about it, its more of a toy than it is an instrument. But I have to admit, I have allot of fun playing with it.

However, if you want to get anywhere with the Tenori-on, then you need to drop all preconceived notions that you have about sequencers, drums machines, samplers, synths and anything other digital instrument. There are a set of rules that all these devices abide by that have implemented over the past 30 years, and the Tenori-on doesn’t give a shit about any of these rules. I mean what can you expect from an “instrument” invented by a guy who doesn’t play music, he never has, all he knows is that he likes music.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel the firmware needs an upgrade desperately. Before I got my Tenori-on, I used to watch videos of it on you tube and I thought that Bounce mode was the shit. Now that i have it….Bounce mode is ok, I guess, but I fucking rock Random mode like nobodies business. I honestly think you should have the option to quantize whilst in Draw mode. It would be cool if I could use an lfo to oscillate the speed in Bounce mode. I also feel you should be able to chain blocks, you should have the ability to make ANY instrument a user created instrument, and I the sample length should be longer. The Tenori-on has also got to sort out a major issue with songs. Ok, I have now recorded a song, how the fuck do I digitally transfer it to my computer, even more, why don’t i have the ability to edit or even better yet, automate my song after I have created it.

But, all grievances aside, I have realised that all these limitations have forced me to dig deep within the Tenori-on, and l and look at music creation differently whenever I use it, and I admit that I have fun when I do so.

There is also an growing online community filled with people sharing banks, samples and grievances. There are even bands and artists who use the Tenori-on as a theme within there music, whether its some guy claiming to have recorded the 1st album using only the Tenori-on, or its artist like Four Tet who show us how to properly “wank off” with a Tenori-on. The internet is flooded with these videos (anybody see the one with that guy from Dream Theater, what a fucking jerk off). There is even a band called the ….you guessed it, the “Tenori-ons”. 3 asian chics each rocking a Tenori-on in a miniskirt, …gimme a fucking brake. You know I saw them on the Paul O’Grady show and when Paul asked one of the girls what it was, this dumb bitch had the nerve to say “it’s the most innovative instrument of the 21st century.” If I was Paul, I would have had a knee-jerk reaction to just smack the bitch in her face. I mean we are only 8 years into this century, don’t you think it’s a little early to be making such bogas claims. It’s gonna be like another 80 or 90 years before anyone can honestly say such a thing. And if you did see that episode of Paul O’ Grady, did you see when the “Tenori-ons” gave Paul and his two guests (one of whom was Angela Lansbury) a Tenori-on to play with, and Angela would have nothing to do with it, she just couldn’t be bothered.

I don’t know, it’s a whole lot of hype….. and I just trying to make a little sense of it.


~ by thmjklmstrymn on August 8, 2008.

3 Responses to “the Tenori-on Wankathon”

  1. Lol, I totally agree with you. I bought a Tenori-on in London and I have the same impressions. Its cool, its funny, its totally hyped and ridiculously expensive. For that price, I would expect much more (like you said, edit song is such a basic feature and its not there). I had some problems with rotation affecting other (random) banks and took a while to found I should “stop” rotation for random to work, although I hadnt turned it on that random bank. Maybe US$600 and not £600 would suit it better. Or maybe less…

  2. Dream Theater is in the studio again, and I can’t wait to see what magic they produce!

  3. That is very well put! I bought a tenori-on, and had the same feeling – it’s fun, but innovative the same way as a touchscreen: so futuristic but useles in most real applications.

    What’s the real bummer is that now one year after it’s release (and my purchase) Yamaha still hasn’t supplied a firmware update to address the most appaling bugs of the device.

    But taking that I get more and more of that [arrogance] from corporates, maybe thats what truly makes the Tenori-on an icon of the 21st century…

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