Controllerism Gone Wrong: Intel CES 2016 Keynote

There’s not too much professional music gear at the CES show in Las Vegas, and the big news for DJs already came on Tuesday when Panasonic announced that they’re bringing back Technics SL-1200s. But at Wednesday’s Intel keynote presentation, there was a focus on the future in a wealth of different areas, including musical performance.

Controllerism Performance From Intel’s CES 2016 Keynote

(editor’s note: if the above video doesn’t skip forward automatically, go to 1:40:30 to see the performance)

The video starts with a woman playing a set of marching band drums. You know, a physical instrument that’s reliable. She messes up slightly, starts to take off the drums, and a Alesis keytar-welding band leader tells her that she won’t need those real drums anymore. What happens next is the most embarrassing controllerism performance we’ve ever seen.

Alesis MIDI keytar aside, all the drumming and performance elements are being triggered by gesture control – and it’s not pretty. We’re not trying to say that Intel isn’t capable of building great technologies – but this is pretty embarrassing. Gestural control in wireless devices has been around for years (remember when everyone was modifying Wiimotes to use as MIDI controllers?), and to see a performance like this is mind-boggling.

Why didn’t Intel get together with Tim Exile and Imogen Heap and make a reliable gestural performance? Why is the most reliable piece of gear onstage not an Intel product? What even is happening in this video? Here’s hoping that NAMM will be free of similarly cringe-worthy performances.

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