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Words from the lexicon of visual arts have often been applied to the world of music, from the way 1960s British Mod band The Creation described their music as “red, with purple flashes” to the way modern electronic and ambient music is often described as “sound collages” and “aural landscapes.”

The Tenori-on, created by Yamaha and Japanese artist Toshio Iwai, takes this connection between sound and vision a step further by allowing users to literally “draw” their own sounds. It is basically a small, hand-held synthesizer controlled on a 16×16 grid of touch-sensitive LED buttons, which allows users to build up and manipulate multiple layers of electronic loops.

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