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Me + MiMu Gloves + Drake Music @ Web We Want Fest


(L-R: Imogen Heap, Baby Scout, Kris Halpin, Kelly Snook, Gawain Hewitt)

Wow. What a weekend! I’m still catching my breath!

Drake Music was at the Web We Want Festival last weekend to discuss accessible music technology and our work with disabled musicians. It was a chance to meet people and show off some of the technology that is improving the lives of disabled musicians. I was there to show off the MiMu Gloves, which I’ve been working with since December last year. 

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Getting To Know The Gloves.

This is literally the busiest I’ve ever been.

I do hate having big gaps in my blogging. I know an increasing number of people enjoy this blog, which is an incredible thing in itself. I’ll try and be here as often as I can, that’s all I can say right now…

Whilst trying to run a business, I am missioning this whole Gloves adventure. I’m working away on the live set; it’s really coming together now.

It was difficult at first. Upon getting the Gloves home to start work, I was suddenly overwhelmed by just how much work has to happen. The first few days with the Gloves were really disheartening in all honesty. I suddenly felt like I had no idea what I was doing, despite my initial confidence. The ball started rolling so fast, I barely had time to take it all in. Once I was sat in The Playhaus alone, without Gawain, Imogen or Kelly to turn to, I was a little freaked.

As you may have seen from my YouTube bits, I’ve been slowly learning more and more. After a real breakthrough moment earlier this week, that all suddenly seems so basic. My relationship with the Gloves has grown deeper and stronger; I really feel like it all starts… now. I’m ready; I have huge ideas, and I feel empowered by the Gloves now. I miss them when they’re not on my hands. On a day like today, when my studio is fully booked and I have no time to play with them, I’m a little sad.

Only a couple of weeks ago I felt like I was in over my head. Suddenly, it’s clicked. The gloves feel lie they’re becoming a part of me and my music, and I can’t stop thinking about how much amazing music I’m going to be making soon.

To be continued…

Mi.Mu Gloves – Tech Day One.

Today was a biggie.

I’ve spent the day at Drake Music’s London office, to get my head down working with the gloves. The brilliant Gawain Hewitt, my partner in crime on all things glove related, has been on hand to help iron out any issues before I take the gloves home and start work proper.

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The Mi.Mu Gloves: Launch Event


Photo by Immersed Photography.

If you’re tuned into the noise I make via soc med, you’ve probably heard about this. Here’s a better explanation of what I got up to last Friday night.

Actually, I should bring the initiated up to speed on the key players first.

You’ve heard of Drake Music, right? They’re the wonderful charity that helps enable disabled musicians. They welcomed me into the DM family a couple of years ago, and have offered me help and support ever since.

Imogen Heap? Of course you do.

The Mi.Mu Gloves? Okay, these you may not know about yet. Mi.Mu Gloves are straight out of the future. You’ve seen Minority Report, yeah? It’s like that. They’re a tool to enable the controlling of computers and software via hand gestures, free of wires, keyboards and other traditional hardware control. Specifically created for music making, they facilitate music making in a fluid, natural, flowing way, light years ahead of mouse clicks. They were devised by Imogen Heap, with a fantastic team of scientists and musicians. This video explains the concept in more detail:

Still with me? So, Drake Music are collaborators on the Mi.Mu Gloves Project, meaning they receive a pair of gloves of their own from the initial 15 pair run. Thanks to Gawain Hewitt at DM, I make my entrance in this tale about now.

Gawain Hewitt leads Research & Development at DM. He’s long been a supporter of my music, and a like-minded soul who I get on famously with. Earlier this year we began talking about my changing needs as a musician. As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the Flesh & Dust vlog entries, my hand functions have deteriorated noticeably of late. Gawain and I discussed the impact of this deterioration could have on my musicianship in the future. Around this time I began exploring iOS music making in more detail, as a way of testing the waters beyond the familiar guitars and pianos. This experimentation gave birth to the Dyskinetik stuff, my first totally electronic piece of work.

Gawain revealed to me that he had bold ambitions to use the gloves that Drake Music were now receiving to help me. His ideas are big and bold; on several occasions he’s discussed his vision of me becoming a ‘gloves-only’ artist. That’s an incredible thought; to be one of the first people in the world to make music with this incredible technology, not just as a one song trick, but as a defining style of working.

So, Friday night saw the official launch event of the Gloves, after several years of development. I’ve been following this for a long time, so was stupidly excited to be there. The event took place in a barn at Imogen’s home, where the team have been for the last two weeks putting the finishing touches to the Gloves. The atmosphere was one of wonder and excitement. The team mingled with collaborators, sharing tips and hacks. In the far corner, one half of Frou Frou sat quietly working in front of Ableton Live.

Needless to say, Imogen Heap was supermagical IRL. I’ve been a fan since the first Frou Frou single; she has remained consistently brilliant ever since. I *think* I was cool enough about meeting her, but when you rate someone’s work so highly, it’s hard not to get just a little starstruck. You want to get inside their process, learn how they think and work. As it turned out, Immi (as the team call her) was incredibly open and generous with her ideas.

We weren’t expecting much play time, but I was lucky to enough to get some time with a pair. With the help of fellow collaborater Tom Shani, I got set up playing some simple beats with the gloves on. I’ve waited for months to get to play music with the Gloves. Straight away, it’s an otherworldly experience. Playing rhythms using changing hand positions (called postures), sound feels as if it becomes a tangible thing, occupying a real space. The beats were in my hands; this is so far ahead of tapping a screen or drum pad, it becomes a new thing entirely.

Nate Lanxon, editor of Wired, was covering the event; the first of much media coverage that weekend. We did a great interview; he had some very thoughtful questions about the gloves and accessibility. He really gets it, and seemed genuinely excited by it all. CNN were in the next day, but more on day two next time…

Pics from the event, courtesy of Gawain Hewitt:

(More on the Mi.Mu Gloves weekend in the next few days…)


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