After thrilling people with the MiMU Gloves powered by Glover software, the Imogen Heap-founded music tech company MiMU has just released Glover as a desktop app, making gesture-controlled music infinitely more accessible. We tested it out and were awed by all the possibilities it opens up for making custom sounds, with the Gliss phone app, Leap Motion and more. There’s a free demo too!
Glover and MiMU Gloves
MiMU has just launched ‘Glover’ - innovative software for expressive control of music, supporting a range of motion tracking devices.
The British music tech company’s Glover release makes the powerful software and algorithms behind the MiMU Gloves available to all at an affordable price. You can make music with widely available devices such as your smart phone, Leap Motion, micro:bit, as well as the MiMu Gloves, and there are more options to come.
Glover lets users connect their motion tracking devices to music software such as Ableton Live, Mainstage or Logic Pro. State-of-the-art gesture recognition algorithms analyse incoming movement data and let you map your gestures to MIDI or OSC, to create and trigger sounds.
You can customise your own postures. You might make a ‘fist’ to start recording a loop or move your hand upwards to add reverb to your voice. As the user creates these connections between movement and music they develop their own unique musical language to physically interact with their sounds and effects. Glover gives musicians more expressive power, and allows them to create more visual and engaging performances.
Glover was originally designed as the creative mapping environment for the MiMU Gloves, and has now expanded. Ten years of experimental development has made it into a professional-level application used by artists including Imogen Heap and Ariana Grande.
A key element is MiMU’s smartphone app Gliss which lets anyone use the sensor data of their phone to control music by connecting wirelessly to Glover. Gliss is free to download, and with Glover’s free demo anyone can immediately experience what it’s like to make music with movement.
MiMU’s mission is to make music technology expressive and visual, supporting music creation using new interfaces that capture human movement.
MiMU Gliss phone app
Adam Stark, CEO of MiMU, said: “Glover is the most powerful component of the MiMU
Gloves, and the key to making expressive music control more widespread. Music controllers
have been based on the same few paradigms for many years, but now Glover places new
interfaces and gesture-capture technology in the hands of musicians”.
Grammy Award Winning Recording Artist, Imogen Heap adds: “such an incredibly exciting
moment to release Glover into the wild. We’ve known for so long it’s really the jewel in our
crown. It takes producing live shows to another level, holding so much expressive power now
fresh and ready to be unleashed. I can’t wait to see what everyone does with it and watch the
community share their patches around, myself included”.
MiMU Glover desktop app
We were excited to get our hands on Glover, having seen it in use by artists such as Imogen Heap, Chagall, and Dyskinetic (Kris Halpin) performing with the MiMU Gloves.
After immersing ourselves in the detailed ‘how-to’ Glover videos from MiMU we were soon off exploring.
First we started with the Gliss phone app as our controller, where we could quickly program gestures to play chords, effects, and more. Making music via gesture like this was a complete thrill!
You begin by connecting Gliss to Glover via wifi, and you assign items to your movements using Gliss’s pads, gestures, sliders and buttons, and Glover’s many options. Connecting Glover to your DAW - we used Ableton - and MIDI mapping turns the movements into the sounds you want.
The Glover ‘chord machine’ is a brilliant way to rapidly create chords and set them to ‘postures’ - movements - and you can really feel that the Glover desktop app has been thoroughly tested for live performance and is super musician friendly.
The helpful videos and the clear interface means that even novice MIDI mappers can get started quickly.
Testing Glover with Leap Motion - photo by Kitmonsters
When paired with Leap Motion instead of Gliss, you can use hand gestures to control music without using a phone app or gloves. The compact Leap Motion from Ultraleap is an optical hand tracking module for use on a flat surface (though in VR development it is being used attached to VR headsets too). The Leap Motion captures the movements of your hands using tiny upward-facing cameras and LEDs, and plugs into your computer via USB.
With this we were triggering sounds, adjusting effects, volume and more by moving our hands around. It felt like being a magician, and the possibilities seem endless for all kinds of music-making.
Glover has huge potential for different devices, genres, levels of expertise, and is so flexible and customisable that you can really make it your own. It has the needs of the musician at the forefront of the technology, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing and hearing new innovative uses soon.
Democratising gestural music-making is quite simply a huge achievement by MiMU.
Glover has a free demo, and you can download it from mimugloves.com, and buy it for a one-time price of £119 / €129 / $159.
It’s available on Mac and Windows platforms, and any software or hardware that supports MIDI or OSC can be controlled by Glover. There are presets for Ableton Live, Arturia Analog Lab V and Apple MainStage, and support for gesture tracking via webcam and the Genki Wave is coming later in 2021
The Gliss app is available for iPhone, with Android support coming later in 2021.
MiMU exists to place human expression at the heart of music technology.
MiMU is a team of artists, technologists and designers developing cutting-edge wearable
technology for the performance and composition of music. Founded by Grammy award-
winning musician Imogen Heap, MiMU have captured worldwide attention by showing that
there is a better way to make music than with sliders and buttons – through the complex
movement of the human body.
The team has developed the MiMU Gloves - a wireless, wearable, gestural musical instrument and controller. The MiMU Gloves are a fusion of textiles and electronic sensors. Combined with dedicated gesture detection and mapping software, they offer a new and flexible approach to the control of music and visuals through intuitive human movement.
MiMU Gloves are now used by a community of musicians worldwide, ranging from pop star
Ariana Grande to beatboxers, classical pianists, film composers and visual artists.
Check out this video of Ariana Grande experimenting with the MiMU Gloves.