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“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

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Jay Allen Sanford Jan. 8, 2009 @ 7:04 a.m.

The Array consists of MIDI controllers that record which buttons you press, and then it relays the information to a computerized sound synthesizer that compiles the user’s chosen arrangements of musical notes.

Wesley is understandably proud of his homemade contraption (which, with its wood enclosure, looks more Jules Verne than Bill Gates). "I am finally finished with all 10 designs and have 7 functional electrified prototypes done and ready to shred. I also have their players in training. Meanwhile, it's myself playing every instrument in the Array Orchestra...The universities didn't invent jazz. It came from the street, so that's where you'll find me; in the streets."

"Pursuing this course has cost me dearly, in every respect," says Wesley. "And others as well, [like] my business associate Shai Ben Moshe. Yet every moment and every penny has been worth it, because this is something of real historic power, however it plays out for us. In the end, we sidestepped our patent attorneys and I and my mother re-wrote it. I've had professionals tell me its a great patent - most patents are junk, because they will never hold up in court."


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