Posts Tagged ‘Tenori-On’


Tenori-On Featured on Hit TV Comedy Series!

December 22, 2008

Last Friday, the Yamaha Tenori-On made a brief appearance on Channel 4’s hit comedy series The IT Crowd…

The It Crowd...of course they'd find about the Tenori-On!

The Tenori-On once again made it’s mark on popular culture, with a brief appearance on the ‘Friendface’ epipsode of Channel 4’s The It Crow comedy series!

To watch the episode, simply click on this link:

To find out more about the instrument:

Yamaha Tenori-On page.


Tenori-On: Lowest UK Prices Promo!

December 4, 2008

GREAT NEWS! Dolphin Music might not Santa, but are giving him a run for his money! For a limited-time only, Dolphin is offering the Tenori-On for a lower price than any other UK retailer…and even better: you’ll get a free Tenori-On t-shirt as well! But hurry up: Offer starts today (Thursday 4th Dec) and ends Sunday 7th December.

Does it need any introduction? If you’re reading this you probably know what the Tenori-On is all about. Since its release over a year ago, the Tenori-On has proved to be one of the most innovative and exciting musical instruments that have ever been invented.

The Tenori-On is a revolutionary new concept, and is not only a very useful and versatile tool for professional musicians and producers, but also a fantastic instrument for those who never thought they could play anything, due to it’s “visible music” interface.

The Tenori-On…causing waves in the world of music.

In the past 15 months or so, many famous artists have adopted the Tenori-On, from legends such as Bjork to celebrated up-and-coming acts such as Little Boots, who recently used one on her debut appearance on the Jools Holland show on BBC2.

A new band even called themselves after the instrument: the three girls who are The Tenori-Ons have been spreading the word, and even appeared on the Paul O’Grady Show!

Now…It’s time for you to join the revolution!

Dolphin Music is offering an exclusive Tenori-On promo! Buy the Tenori-On for just £599, cheaper than at any other retailer in the UK, and get a free Tenori-On t-shirt (size X-large).

But you must hurry up! This deal runs from tomorrow (Thursday 4th December) to Sunday 7th December…so you’ll only have four days to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity!

Get your Tenori-On this Christmas…NOW is the perfect time to join this musical revolution!

Yamaha Tenori-On + Free Tenori-On T-Shirt!


Little Boots: Hot New Talent Brings Tenori-On AND Stylophone To Jools Holland!

November 10, 2008

Little Boots is the musical alter ego of Blackpool lass Victoria Hesketh, former singer with Dead Disco. At last week’s Later With Jools Holland show on BBC 2, Little Boots brought together vintage and new technologies, with a stunning performance that used both a Stylophone AND a Tenori-On!

Little Boots and her microKorg

Little Boots came to life when Victoria left her former band Dead Disco because, according to her, ‘It was obvious to me that indie was getting boring, and things were going to go more pop,’

So she got hold of a few synths (including a microKorg she never seens too far from), a stylophone and a Tenori-On – which she claims to push “to its limits”- and started making music inspired by the likes of The Bee Gees, though tracks such as “Medley” played at Jools Holland remind of edgier acts such as Bats For Lashes.

Watch her inspired performance at Jools Holland:

Find out more about Little Boots gear:

Yamaha Tenori-On

Dubreq Stylophone

Korg microKORG


Swayzak and the art of Tenori-on

September 12, 2008

Can it really be 10 years since Snowboarding in Argentina – Swayzak’s debut long player – was named album of the year by Mixer magazine?

It is indeed, but in that time James Taylor and David Brown have been keeping themselves busy both live and in the studio, all the while building a global reputation that’s as organic as the deep, home-grown dub-house they’ve become synonymous with.

Few artists straddle the thin divide between underground and mainstream quite like Swayzak. Their music, like their production style, almost relies on the haphazard, lo-fi ethic that’s been a constant mainstay of their back catalogue. Yet despite being five albums in (as well as two mix compilations), they’re as keen to follow their own path as they always have been – re-releasing Snowboarding, ambitions to make an album featuring 80s vocalists, David’s perennial obsession with vinyl…

“James and I have been buddies since 1989 when we worked at a record label together,” David begins, “but it wasn’t until 1992 that we actually started making music together.”

“I’d been into music since I was very young. The first thing I had was a Bontempi organ, and by the time I was 12 I was a young punk. I was lucky enough to see Joy Division as my first live band, and I guess that set the tone! I got my first synth – a Yamaha CS01 – when I was about 15, I think. Then I got a Boss drum machine, a Roland MC-202 – can you believe the guy in the store actually talked me out of getting a TB-303! But overall what I discovered was that the sound was better without guitars.”

Despite this penchant for a retro minimalism that pervades their music, they recently adopted Yamaha’s uber-futuristic Tenori-on as a way of exploring new directions with their music. David first heard about the Tenori-on from a friend who’d emailed him some details on this brushed magnesium frame.

“At first I didn’t really understand it and thought it was nothing more than a toy. But then one day I was looking for a new machine for our live show and by chance I heard the Tenori-on in a London store and thought it would be just perfect for our sound.”

“To begin with it was the bleepy sounds and the lights that drew me to it, but we’ve now incorporated it into our live show in a number of ways. We’ll process it with some tape delay and reverb, sync it to a laptop running Ableton Live… and just for fun last weekend we used a 1960s WEM Copicat to make some strange live sounds. Studio-wise, I’ve been recording it through various effects. The one that’s giving the best results is Korg’s KP3 – these two together are sounding very cool!

Tenori-on helps us to make a more improvised sound when we’re playing live. Sometimes the laptops can be a bit boring, which is why we always have real outboard effects such as delay and reverb to hand. This way we can play with the sounds on the desk. And now the Tenori-on can throw in extra bleeps and clicks.”

“For the live set we’re running it with Ableton Live, two laptops and various outboard FX, and we’ll just jam with the Tenori-on to add bleeps and beats. Essentially I like the simplicity of the sequencing… and that it’s always in tune!”

“We used Tenori-on in Tokyo recently, and people were freaking out. They’d never seen it before, which is pretty unreal for Japan. Occasionally I’ll use it on a flight, and people are always wondering what sort of game it is I’m playing!”

The Tenori-on fits perfectly with the simplicity of the Swayzak sound, as David explains.

“Our philosophy to making music is quite simple, I guess. Do what you feel, not what you think will make you money. Many people follow trends – and to a certain extent we’re all guilty of that – but we’ve always experimented with our sound and taken risks. Some good, some bad, but we like to try to be different. There aren’t many electronic acts like us. We released on Minus Records in 1999 and Sony in 2000, and since 2002 K7 has been a good home for us. Like us, they are somewhere between underground and major label. And as an electronic outfit we’re big in the underground but small in the mainstream.”

View Tenori-On page at Dolphin

Other Links:


Tenori-on: you’ve seen the lights, now meet the group!

July 9, 2008

It’s a girl-band like no other: there are three of them, they’re called The Tenorions and the only instruments they play are – you guessed it – three Yamaha Tenori-ons!

The Tenorions

It’s little wonder that in its short life the Tenori-on has had such a profound impact on music makers the world over. Artists are already creating albums using nothing but the Tenori-on, such is the power contained within that diminutive, brushed-aluminium casing. But Jason Air is taking the Tenori-on concept to a new level. With success in the worlds of Drum & Bass and Hip Hop, his latest venture sees him as the driving force behind the world’s first band to create music exclusively with the Tenori-on. Fittingly, this trio of Oriental techno-heads goes by the name of… The Tenorions.

The band comprises core members Nynn and Cici, who write the uncompromising and driving techno tracks that have already become The Tenorions trademark sound. With increasing bookings for live gigs, third Tenorion Fiona joins them on stage to complete the trio. They’ve recently returned from a tour of Spain and Portugal and have further bookings coming in from around the world. Perhaps their strangest booking to date, but clearly the most high profile, has been a performance on the Paul O Grady Show in April of this year.

Jason puts their initial success down to the popularity of the Youtube videos he posted throughout the Spring, and as a result they’ve garnered coverage in the NME, The Independent, and dozens of tech and music blogs.

Here’s the unbelievable Tenorions appearance on daytime tv, at the Paul O’Grady show:

For Nynn, Cici and Fiona, a lifetime either studying or producing music has prepared them well for life in the Tenorions. To begin with Nynn and Cici would write the tunes, taking responsibility for melody and percussion respectively, but as time has passed they’ve both seen a natural progression towards composing complete tracks in their own right – and all, of course, within the confines of that hand-held silver box.

But just what is it about this unique instrument that’s made the Tenorions and the Tenori-on such a hit with people worldwide? It’s surely no coincidence that the girls are booked to play gigs almost for the rest of this year and into the next.

“I haven’t seen anything like it before,” Nynn tells us. “For us it shows a totally new way of creating music. And it’s so much fun to play – it’s as easy and intuitive to pick up as Nintendo, but the results… well, we’re creating art!”

But, of course, the concept of working within new boundaries comes with a lot of fresh challenges, as Jason is quick to outline.

“It’s totally changed the way we write music, for one thing. It’s nothing like writing in [Apple] Logic, you know! One aspect of Tenori-on that makes it such an instant tool for composing is that there are no filters or complicated plug-ins to program or convoluted menus to navigate. As a result it makes us think of the music in a more ‘musical’ way, if that, er… makes any sense?! It’s really easy to focus on the music and not get so caught up in the production side of making music. Ask any producer with a well-equipped modern studio and they’ll all tell you that it’s pretty easy to get side-tracked by the technology!”

“The great thing about composing with Tenori-on is that it’s all right there at your fingertips. I guess that’s the whole ethos of Tenori-on though. In Japanese it roughly translates to ‘in the palm’, and that’s exactly what the Tenori-on system gives you – a way to create melodies and program rhythms right there in the palm of your hand.”

The Tenori-On is available now

Tenorions Myspace Page