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James Spitznagel with the Nintendo
James Spitznagel with his Nintendo

From before Mozart's time musical toys and pieces made with them have been an important part of our musical culture. Acoustic toys of all sorts have been important for contemporary artist like John Zorn and Penguin Cafe Orchestra. And the CasioTone was an important step into electronics for an entire generation.

After seeing what James Spitznagel can do with the Nintendo and Tenori-On devices, it's obvious Personal and Gaming Digital Devices hold just as much creative potential. His work in broad gestural music uses them as well as a lap top and other devices creating "ambient" pieces that not only build a sonic landscape but tell a story and are filled with his personality as an artist.

Now for all you new iPhone owners, Leisuresonic software has released its music application for the iPhone and iPod touch, Cosmovox. You still have to touch the phone, but it's an interesting way to make music with an personal digital device.
Cosmovoz Screen
"" Cosmovox owes some of its inspiration to the Theremin, an early 20th century electronic music instrument which is played by moving your hands near an antenna. Cosmovox can convincingly imitate the sound of the Theremin, and other similar electronic instruments which haunt pulp sci-fi movies, yet Cosmovox uses the computing power of your iPhone... Cosmovox is a unique and innovative motion-controlled musical instrument which utilizes the accelerometer of the iPhone as its primary musical control. As you rotate your iPhone, the pitch of the synthesizer changes with uncanny precision. ""

Cosmovox is now available at the Apple App Store.