Urushi musical interface by Yuri Suzuki

Japanese designer and electronic musician, yuri suzuki, developed the 'urushi musical interface' project for the exhibition 'collacqueration: designed in the UK - lacquered in japan'. organized by emiko oki, the initiative brings young UK-based designers and the lacquer craftsmen of wajima, in ishikawa prefecture, japan together.

The lacquer of wajima is an important intangible cultural property of japan. it is made using original techniques consisting of at least 20 and sometimes more than 100 processes, giving it extra durability. wajima lacquer is also known for its highly decorative features, such as makie, whereby metal or colored powder is sprinkled on the lacquer, and chinkin, which involves scoring a pattern of lines on the lacquer and then rubbing gold powder into these areas.

In his exploration of the lacquer of wajima technique, yuri suzuki has collaborated with british composer and musician matthew rogers on 'urushi musical interface', a touch panel style instrument which uses the principle of gold inlay. it is a musical instrument in which the two worked together to produce a logically functional circle patterned keyboard. the circular format allows one to understand musical codes very easily.

For example: if you touch the C, G, E keys, the interface will play the G major code. if you touch the C, G, E flat keys you can play the C minor code.
In terms of engineering, each gold inlay line is hooked up to a touch switch board and then connected to contact the MIDI interface, allowing one to connect any MIDI electronic musical instruments and controls from this keyboard.

Urushi Musical Interface from Yuri Suzuki on Vimeo.

'urushi musical interface' was developed in collaboration with wajim lacquer craftsman takashi wakamiya.

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