Onyx Ashanti on Beatjazz


Reposting a blog entry I made for Provisions Library on June 22, 2011:

Onyx Ashanti is a musician and an inventor. He has created an instrument that fuses technology with technique to make synthesized music. His music is called “beatjazz.” It allows you to compose music using synthesizers but fully engage with your mind, body, and soul. This is what I call meshing, because he is collaborating with multiple individuals to create a new way to experience and make music.

First, what is beatjazz? Where did it come from? According to Onyx’s recent blog post:

“Beatjazz is a term I coined around 1999 to describe the music I would make with my wind midi controller (jazz) and FL studio…or as it was called then, Fruityloops (Beats). I wanted to clarify that I was not doing acid jazz or RnB or instrumental Hip Hop or any of that.  It was a catchall term meant to give me a bit of creative room to breath; ‘Beats’ and ‘jazz’.”

Over the past few years, Onyx has made beatjazz into “live looping, sound design, and jazz improvisation.” He began to focus on designing the instrument to perform beatjazz live. In May, he played at the TED Talk Auditions in New York (Onyx Ashanti: This is beatjazz).

The software and hardware for the instrument Onyx is developing is all open-sourced. Onyx is collaborating with several individuals. The details of the technology he is using is complex and sophisticated. To learn more about his controller check out this video.

Onyx embodies what Lisa Gansky calls “meshing“. Lisa believes the future of business is sharing. In her January 2011 TED Talk presentation she emphasizes the need to create platforms that invites us to connect to others by creating the time and space. Similarly composers have meshed music since the dawn of mankind. But now music and technology is meshing like never before. Onyx is on the verge of taking it different level.

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About John Costa

I am a farmer in training with a background in finance, organizational sustainability, and project management. My expertise is making the business case for local food enterprises.
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