SOMA Labs Flux is an upcoming new algorithmic touchless Synthesizer that takes inspiration from the legendary Theremin.
The Theremin, first released in the 1920s, fascinates people today as it did back then. Mainly because of the ability to make music with the air and without touching the instrument. The chief developer of Soma Labs, Vlad Kreimer, is also one of those who cannot ignore the magic of the Theremin.
Vlad also shared his enthusiasm for this innovative instrument in my interview at Superbooth 22. He wants to pack his fascination into his own Theremin-inspired instrument. This now seems to have been successful. It’s called Flux and is currently under development
SOMA Labs Flux
Important Flux is not a clone of the original Theremin. It’s a new Synthesizer incorporating ideas from Leon Theremin’s groundbreaking instrument.
Technically, Flux is an algorithmic Synthesizer that works through magnetic principles. It’s a long-shaped instrument in which a unique continual touchless keyboard is built in. It offers seamless control over various parameters without quantization.
“Flux is a high end professional synthesizer with expressive possibilities, an innovative interface design with top quality digital-to-analog converters and analog components”.
To interact with the interface, the player uses two magnetic bows pressed between his fingers. Then, the keyboard interface recognizes these movements and positions, thanks to integrated multipolar magnetic sensors.
The X coordinate of the artist’s right-hand bow controls the note’s pitch, while the Z coordinate controls volume. The left-hand bow’s X, Y and Z coordinates control the various synthesis parameters.
Like with the Theremin, you can play the instrument without touching it. With the difference, it’s playable in multiple dimensions. Flux goes even further and uses magnets that have two moles. So it not only captures the bows’ spatial coordinates, but also the bows’ angle. For examples, you can play a wide range of octaves without transposing the keyboard.
SOMA Labs promises that it’s the most direct and immediate way to play with a large number of synthesis parameters in a musical way, creating dynamic timbre compositions.
Flux will feature a digital DSP-based engine with different synthesis algorithms covering distortions, complex FX, and physical modeling models of non-existent, surrealistic musical instruments. It works in monophonic, duophonic, and polyphonic modes.
Staccato-enabling and quantization modes will also be available. Plus, you can save and recall patches with the entire states of the synth, including the engine, and all the tunings.
The classic Theremin was a revolutionary instrument for the time. This wow effect remains to this day. It brought music forward by giving musicians new opportunities to express themselves in music. We’ll see how far the Flux can go. It probably won’t have as much of an impact on music as the Theremin, but it probably shows what a Theremin would look like if Leon had invented it in 2023.
What Vlad Kreimer from Soma has shown so far is very impressive. This instrument will be far superior to a Theremin in terms of sound and expressivity. But will it be as immediate as his model? We will see but it’s definitely a super exciting project.
SOMA Labs Flux availability and price TBA. They hope to sell the synth at the end of 2024.
More information here: SOMA Labs