Alan Inglis is producer, composer and performer of Azure.
Azure first became known through public performances as live entertainment in Sydney’s foreshore precincts and at music and arts festivals. Creating music using synthesizers, coming from a background in visual arts, Alan became known for his marked ability to translate mood from image to music, applying an artistic insight from a sonic palette, giving his music a visual, aesthetic quality.
Though acclaim grew through delighting audiences with his style of uplifting, melodic music at events in other parts of Australia, it was his being part of the scene of his native city of Sydney that Alan was approached by the organisers to create theme music for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Here’s Alan views on the Xkey!
Designed for musicians
Despite its modest appearances of being a modern compact computer accessory, the Xkey from CME is no less a true instrument keyboard which doesn’t interfere between the musician and the performance. It is elegantly designed, ultra-slim, lightweight, and is ready to use from the point of plugging in, as the default settings are well calibrated for excellent natural responsiveness. However it is deceptively generous in the depth of customization hidden in the very few millimetres that lay below its gleaming surface. For keyboard artists seeking to adjust for personal playing style or music type, the Xkey offers users an extensive ability to recalibrate performance parameters in just a few seconds by the clear and concise free interface app. These customized parameters are stored on board. From then there is no need to use the app again unless you wish to make further adjustments to response times, pressure, key or button assignments, etc. One of the nicest advances in electronic keyboard technology is the development of polyphonic aftertouch (as opposed to channel aftertouch) – the ability to adjust individual notes’ volume or brightness by key pressure after keys have been struck (depending on the sound, of course). While this has been around for a while, it is still an uncommon (and usually expensive) luxury. This is standard on the Xkey, and this too is adjustable via the app.
A joy to play
It didn’t take much time at all for me to adapt to playing the slim design keys, which are spaced identically to a standard size keyboard. Without any tweaking of parameters, I found that I could effortlessly play consistently at a soft level by playing gently, and that all notes punched out nice and bright playing fast staccato lines. Likewise, I could easily maintain midrange velocity also, and emphasize selected notes out of a phrase according to my desired amount of expression, without any unexpected/unwanted velocities. I had no trouble gliding effortlessly along the keyboard, as fingers don’t have to be lifted as high for black notes as with a traditional music keyboard. This I found, not only enhances playability, but also reduces stress on finger joints, which for some keyboard players, is a very welcome advantage.
Innovation with the future in mind
At a time when many ‘compact’ keyboards make compromises one way or another, it is a rare and delightful thing to find something that ticks the boxes so well as a true artist’s instrument, that radiates an aesthetic design sense, and is also so hassle-free. The 37 key version is set to open more scope for artists, especially in performance. Expect to see Xkey shining on stages and in video clips around the world soon!
More info on Alan here.
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