Being Christopher Walken

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Get more cowbell with Instant WalkenIn the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken plays the role of scientist Michael Wood, who invents a helmet that transfers sensations and abilities into the human brain. In one scene Walken sits at a piano wearing the helmet, and he’s able to play a complicated composition on the keys even though he’s never played piano before. That scene has always stuck with me. It would be cool if a technological innovation came along that enabled people to do complicated stuff without training. This day has finally come, and the innovation is called The Schwarzonator.

If you want to "get rid of the fear" of pressing piano keys and playing the right notes, this is what you need:

1) Ableton Live 8

2) Max for Live (which you purchase directly from Ableton's website)

3) A computer (this stuff is compatible with both Mac and Windows machines)

4) Any MIDI controller keyboard 

5) And a little patience...

Okay, so this stuff isn't as drop dead simple as strapping on Michael Wood's brain helmet. There is a slight  learning curve involved. But it's important to point out that this kind of computer audio is pretty easy to figure out. Don't feel intimidated by this technology! Once you wrap your head around a couple of basic concepts, you can improvise with accomplished piano players (like Bugge "Boogie" Wesseltoft) and create music you never imagined would be possible.

So there you have it, a Christopher Walken science fiction concept from the 1980's has come to pass. Now all we need are the teleporters from Star Trek and we'll be cooking with gas.