Fad Gadgets: tambourines, reel-to-reel and an electronic staff!

ARQ Aero RhythmTrak

The tambourine occupies a special place in the history of rock and pop: Jack Ashford’s precision work on Motown, Robert Plant prancing about waving one, Mr Tambourine Man… But now it’s gone digital. ARQ consists of a base unit which contains hundreds of percussion sounds, instruments and loops, and a ring festooned with flashing lights, which can be waggled about triumphantly to activate the accelerometer and trigger the sounds. It goes on sale in April for about £400.

Project R2R

Sales of vinyl are on the rise, with many buyers believing it offers the ultimate consumer listening experience. But not according to Horch House, a company located in a small lakeside town in Austria. “Audiophiles know that when it comes to analogue, tape sounds even better than vinyl,” they say. “No debate.” The realisation that no-one makes reel-to-reel tape machines any longer has prompted Horch to manufacture their own; as yet there is no picture (we chose this one randomly). It’s unveiling in May. What will you play on it? I’ve no idea.


If you’ve ever wanted to hold an instrument as if it were some kind of medieval staff and use it to generate electronic bleeps, the Kadabra might be right up your street. Described by Eat Static and former Ozrics drummer Merv Pepler as “something between Gandalf and Star Wars”, the Kadabra has been picking up a lot of attention from men with beards, if the 15-minute trailer produced by Tribal Tools is to be believed. It comes in three colours and is out later this year.

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.