Jon Rose with the K-Bow

Over at KMI we were delighted to have Jon Rose come to our Berkeley studio and visit us, and be one of the first artists to get some time in on the K-Bow. Jon has had a long history with sensor bows, and so was the perfect candidate to try out our system, and offer some feedback. After some time getting accustomed, Jon left with a bow and the newest version of our software.


I caught back up with Jon shortly after I left music MusikMesse at STEIM, the electronic music research institution in Amsterdam. We worked together for two days developing sounds and tying them to K-Bow interactions. Here are some of the results we got, which do a great job of showing what sonic possibilities an accomplished improviser can explore using technology and extended technique.

The last night of my stay in Amsterdam we presented the K-Bow system to a packed room. Jon used the bow both in demonstration of the software, and in a live electronic trio with Richard Barrett and Cor Fuhler. From the STEIM blog:

Barry Threw and Jon Rose’s presentation of the K-Bow was concise and entertaining, making an amusing duo who also adequately explained through practical demonstrations the abilities of the controller.

The software and hardware of the bow were exemplary in their self-sufficiency. The software provided enough DSP processing objects to create interesting performances ‘out of the box’, as well as such effective additions as a simple four track looper, phase vocoding audio scrubber and surround sound panner, all freely assignable. It also provided the option to have all controller data routed to third party applications via MIDI and OSC. These were all simply and effectively displayed in user-friendly formats and graphics – a strength for any consumer product.

The hardware itself I can only comment on in a limited capacity, not being a string player. However, to me the bow seemed no heavier nor clumsier than a wooden one, the sensor box attached to the frog was not overly obtrusive and the carbon fibre construction seemed a good choice. Assignable controls include a grip sensor, accelerometer data, ultrasound and axis positioning.

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