Kanye West is no stranger to dabbling with technology (he discussed a Teenage Engineering collaboration in 2019), but now there’s a device you can buy for yourself. The rapper and electronics design firm Kano have introduced a Donda Stem Player that, as the name implies, lets you remix music from Kanye’s upcoming album Donda (plus your own tunes) using song stems.
The puck-like gadget reportedly lets you isolate song parts and control aspects like bass, drums, samples and vocals. You can reportedly split “any” song into stems. We’ve asked Kano how this works, but it’s unlikely that it will perfectly separate song elements — that’s a difficult feat for a full-fledged PC, let alone something as portable as this.
The Stem Player also includes familiar tools including effects, four-channel audio mixing, live sampling and real-time loop and speed controls. You navigate much of the interface through four touch-sensitive “light sliders” with haptic feedback and customizable colors, and you can save and share your creations with othrs.
You can pipe audio through the built-in speaker, Bluetooth or a 3.5mm headphone jack through a variety of lossy and lossless formats (including AAC, AIFF, MP3 and WAV). You’ll have just 8GB of storage to work with, though — minus the bundled Donda stems.
You can order the Stem Player now for $200. That’s not a trivial outlay if you’re eager to tinker with songs, but it’s relatively affordable as far as electronic music-making devices go. Just be aware that it’s really just one part of a larger creative toolset, not your ticket to stardom.
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