So I’m not intending for this project to be a history lesson so much a forcing mechanism for myself to focus on something and see where it leads. Today I only spent a little time with the easel and that time was more confusing than enlightening so I thought I’d share something I did learn history wise in the last few days. I mentioned that I have one of the “reissue” Music Easels and some of the differences between the new ones and the older ones. When I hear of a “reissue” I tend to think of something that was released and then eventually production stopped and later on someone went back and revisited it. This is what I assumed happened here though I didn’t really understand the scope of the earlier production. As it turns out, only 13 of the original Music Easels were ever made. And of those, each one was made by hand. I spoke with someone today who has seen and worked on 3 of those, and noted that the circuitry on each of the 3 he saw was different, which suggests that of the 13 originals, there are at the very least 3 different versions, though in all likelihood each one was probably a little different. Personally, as someone who has built and released hardware and products, I wouldn’t call that a release. I’d call that a collection of proof of concept prototypes. Or if we assume that 10 of them were the same and the 3 that were observed were the oddballs, I’d still call that a small run not an actually produced unit. But that’s just me. Anyway, that’s only important when you start thinking about differences between “original” and “reissue” without considering the differences between each of the “originals” and what that even constitutes. There are also a handful of unauthorized clones that were produced by various people in the inter-period between when the original idea was shelved and the new one was announced. Unknown numbers and sources, but for sure more than 13. So more knock offs than originals. Anyway… In my BEMI easel (that I have) is the first authorized, produced version of this idea. And kind of shows how special it is.
But that’s just me.
The video above is an album (that I love) by Alessandro Cortini that was composed and performed entirely on one of the original Music Easels (possibly the first one ever made?), and was absolutely the thing that pushed me to get one. In the few years I’ve had the easel I’ve ever been able to make anything with it that sounds nearly this beautiful.