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Ones To Watch 2021

Circle Instruments Ltd

Circle Instruments LtdCircle Instruments Ltd

Circle Guitar is a revolutionary new instrument that incorporates a motorised, MIDI controllable, step sequencer to strike the strings generating sounds, textures and rhythms that would be impossible with a conventional electric guitar. By using a mechanical device to strike the strings, rather than a human hand, you can exceed what is physically possible and push guitar playing into new, unexplored territories. The motor-driven circle can rotate precisely to any position at up to 400rpm in either direction beneath the strings.

Circle Guitar can generate a tempo that other instruments can follow, or it can sync and follow via USB or MIDI to the clock speed of any DAW (Ableton, Logic etc.). You can program (or select from a number of strumming presets) to move the wheel in any manner you decide. You can smoothly change speeds as it rotates creating rhythmic pulses or use a DAW’s sophisticated quantisation and swing functions to create looser timings to fit a laid back groove. You can phase the rotation of the circle to move in front of or behind the beat, pinpointing where the rhythm works best in the composition. It can move back and forth, almost instantly, between any of the 360 degrees around the circle accelerating as fast, or slow as you like. The options are limitless and impossible to imitate with conventional playing.

Musicians are constantly searching for new ways to express themselves in a world where anyone with a laptop can create worldwide hits, digital soft synths and samplers are ubiquitous. But before digital there was analogue, and before analogue there were mechanical devices. By taking two steps backwards into the mechanical realm, but controlling these devices via digital or analogue means, we find ourselves in uncharted territories, rich with new possibilities in sound, rhythm and performance.

Circle is the first instrument in a pipeline of musical instruments that will exploit the new paradigm of digitally controlled mechanically assisted instruments. Not only will musicians use them to create original music, but we can make playing an instrument more accessible to talented producers who write music, but can’t play a traditional instrument particularly well, or for people who are physically challenged through restrictive movement.

The instrument has reached a global audience through Wired magazine, Guitar World, Reuters, social media and blogs. We have been contacted by artists who create dance music, heavy metal, indie, country, folk and alternative music from every continent around the world.

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