Romantic Electroplankton MP3

Newfangled, electronically based musical instruments like the Tenori-On, the Monome, and the Nintendo DS port of a popular Korg synthesizer aren’t just for so-called non-musicians. Take Electroplankton, the most restricted, or creatively circumscribed, of this batch. A sound toy (or audio game) built on the Nintendo DS platform, its fairytale interface is a child-friendly aquarium of music-emitting fish. (See image at left for a glimpse of one of its many environments.) But that hasn’t kept trained musicians from taking a dip in the Electroplankton pool. Italian pianist Fabio Ranghiero has posted a recording of an Electroplankton-derived composition at his website (“Whiteplankton,” MP3). The track starts off with tones familiar to anyone who’s used the DS stylus to direct melodic fragments into swirling, gently pulsing compositions. Ranghiero takes it a step further, layering the material into what approaches a Romantic, in the classical sense of the world, intensity, suggesting not only that the software is good for making music, but that it may be complicated enough to allow for virtuosity.

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