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Calvin Harris plays giant human synthesiser

Calvin Harris, human keyboard

Story by Jack Foley

CALVIN Harris has performed a version of his new single Ready For The Weekend which was released this week on a unique human synthesiser.

The ground-breaking instrument itself employs 16 bikini clad models decorated with a new electricity-conducting body ink developed by students at the Royal College of Art, London. View photos

The experiment coincides with the release of his second album, also titled Ready For The Weekend, which is released on August 17 on Columbia Records.

You can see the Humanthesiser here

The new ink, when painted on the skin, allows a current to be passed through the body without causing an electric shock. When the performers touch the connection completes a circuit, triggering a sound.

Calvin played the main keyboard line and effects by interacting with a row of nine girls. The rhythmic portions of the track were simultaneously played by seven dancers performing a carefully choreographed routine.

The project is the result of collaboration between Calvin Harris, his label Columbia and four masters’ students from the RCA’s Industrial Design Engineering programme.

For the more technically minded out there, the human synth consists of 34 pads on the floor which have been painted with the conductive ink and connected to a computer via some clever custom electronics.

The performers stand on the pads, and touch each other on the hands or body to complete a circuit and trigger a sound. For more clarity check out the making of video

The conductive ink, codenamed ‘Bare’ was developed as part of a project by RCA Industrial Design and Engineering students; Bibi Nelson, Becky Pilditch, Isabel Lizardi and Matt Johnson.

The custom electronics for the project were created by the RCA’s Matt Johnson, employing an Arduino Mega and the graphical audio programming tool Max MSP. The performers, floor pads, Arduino and Max MSP combine to create a giant MIDI controller which is used to control sounds and samples from Ableton Live. The performance was shot at the Jerwood Space, a contemporary rehearsal and performance space in central London.

Calvin Harris is appearing live at the V Festival (August 22, Chelmsford and 23rd, Stafford) and at Creamfields on August 30. A full UK tour follows later in the year.

Ready For The Weekend, the single is out now, while the album of the same name follows on August 17 on Columbia Records.

View photos from the event