I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2017 NAMM show last month in Anaheim. As always, it was a great show with lots of inspiring gear to check out. After 2 weeks of decompressing and giving it some thought, here is my opinion of some of the highlights:

My top pick has to be the news that the Korg Gadget is being ported to Mac OS. I use the Gadget App on my iPad every day, and it’s really changed how I create and approach creating music. I was actually so excited to hear the news that I took it so far as to hug the Korg rep. As of this writing, Korg has not officially announced a release date or price, but I’ll be picking it up as soon as it’s available. I got the chance to try out a preview build, and was impressed with the thought that’s gone into bringing it to the desktop, and taking advantage of the added screen real estate.

I also was very excited to get some hands-on time with Roli Blocks (Made of course by Roli). Last year, they were showcasing the Seaboard, and that was a very unique experience with an equally unique instrument. This year Roli continues their innovative streak with their new Blocks system. It’s made up of modular cubes that can magnetically attach to one another and feature touch sensitive pads. I could try and describe it more detail over several paragraphs, but instead I’ll encourage you to check out Roli’s website at www.roli.com for more information. The thing I liked about demoing Blocks was that it put me in a different headspace (creatively speaking). Creating music on a daily basis can be challenging at times, and any instrument or idea that gives me a new perspective very valuable to me.

Another great experience at NAMM this year was getting to check out Expressive E’s Touché controller. This instrument is also a bit difficult to describe correctly, so check out https://www.expressivee.com/touche/overview for more info. It’s really unique and adds a very human touch to your synth parts. It has a lot of possible applications, and it is very well-constructed. Similar to the Roli Blocks, the Touché has to be physically touched to really understand it, but it seems like a similarly innovative idea, and one that’s sure to spark creativity.

Speaking of innovation, most of the things that I saw at the show that I was the most excited about seemed to be conceived with the idea of thinking outside of the box. Taking chances to do something different can always be a risk, but this year I saw several companies (both big and small) that took bold chances and I believe they really paid off. I think it’s also important to note difference between true innovation, and trying to create without a strong vision. In past NAMM shows, I’ve seen more products that I would consider “gimmicky,” and none of them were ever able to find an market.

In closing, NAMM 2017 was a great event. I left feeling very inspired to create, and I’m already counting the days until NAMM ‘18!

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