“The Mboard I use in my two bands is patented, and we’re in negotiation to get it mass produced,” says Bill Wesley of the Array Orchestra and Vaginals. “The Sensor Array MIDI Controller Mboard will be like the musical Wii; ordinary people, even nonmusicians, will be able to shred.…
“An instrument designed to have a complex user-generated harmonic Array system is inherently easier to play than conventional musical instruments, yet capable of doing far more; more control, less confusion.”
Wesley sees nonmusicians as his main target market.
“Playing music with the Array is as easy as playing a video game because it organizes notes into a visual geometry without having to first undergo the abstract rigors of dreaded music theory. A simple row of notes on paper cannot make music easy to understand; you need to see what you’re building in real-world dimensions.”
A local since 1975, Wesley’s homemade musical inventions also include the Array Nail Violin, the Array Rasp, the Array Drum, the Array Rhythm Machine, the Array Guitar, the Array Psaltry, and the Array Vina.
“In my performances, I exclusively use Array instruments.… Many Vaginals songs utilize them for things like 20-note harmonies and speeding up the playing speed.”
Other musicians currently using the Sensor Array MIDI Controller include Imogen Heap, Patti Broussard, and Shannon Terry of the Open Door Orchestra.
“I solely live on the proceeds of the instruments I’ve invented,” says Wesley. “There was no official endorsement, no grant money, or any other official help. Pursuing this course has cost me dearly in every respect.… The patent process was arduous and extremely expensive. It took many tries because of legal problems. Obtaining the patent is more arduous than designing the actual invention!”
Vaginals appear Saturday, January 17, at the Midway Drive Music Trader and on Friday, January 30, at the Radio Room.
— Jay Allen Sanford