I’m as keen as anyone on the goal of making music creation more approachable. If anything, Guitar Hero and Rock Band have showed the market potential of enshrouding the air guitarist in the delusion of talent. But this apparent holy grail hasn’t seemed to result in anything as effective as the kazoo.
I thought the now-discontinued Mad Waves device had potential even though it succumbed to the same Curse of CES that Moxi did. I even enjoyed Zoundz, the RFID-based interactive music toy with the funky plastic tokens that The Sharper Image offered a few years ago. That was a marginally amusing toy for less than $50, but now the ailing retailer has gone high-end with it using a “laser harp” called Beamz.
Beamz has six lasers that play different sample riffs when you break their beams using your hand or other object. The result is that you look like you’re faking primitive martial arts while you’re faking playing music, which doesn’t at all make you look like a dork. Obviously, Beamz won’t let you play real songs or compositions, just kind of jam along with samples and riffs It also hooks up to a PC to load different instrument sets for musical genres such as classical and metal..
Harmless enough, but the thing is huge, ungainly and expensive. My two favorite parts of the Popular Mechanics video review featured on The Sharper Image’s site are when reviewer Seth Porges notes that it “probably looks a lot cooler if you have a fog machine” and “if you’re just looking to fool around or impress your friends, it’s good fun” right before noting the $600 price tag. If you’re thinking this thing will impress your friends, you’ll have a lot more good fun getting new friends.