Monstercat's Compound festival to feature upright piano retrofitted to play EDM

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      Monstercat has been a mainstay in Vancouver's electronic dance music scene since 2011, and this Saturday (August 24) will see the label host its third annual Compound street festival.

      The free event, which takes place from 2 to 9 p.m., will feature a dozen acts playing on two stages outside of Monstercat's office at Railway and Dunlevy.

      However, one of the festival's most interesting attractions is actually not a performing artist⁠—it's an electronic piano known as the Street Piano.

      And no, it's not just any random synthesizer. Working together with Roland Sound, Monstercat emptied out an old upright piano and added speakers and a synthesizer connected to its keys.

      The keys are then programmed to play various musical components from Conro's single "Heartbeat." For example, the keys on the far-left side of the piano play drum and bass sounds from Conro's song. Likewise, other keys on the piano will play the song's guitar, synth, FX, vocal, and "track" sounds.


      Attendees can then play this piano and create their own version of "Heartbeat" through hitting the keys in any pattern they like.

      In a video uploaded to YouTube, Monstercat placed the Street Piano in various locations around the city⁠—including English Bay, Davie Street, and the courtyard outside the Vancouver Art Gallery⁠—and filmed people's reactions to it over two days.

      However, the music in the video sounds quite professionally recorded. Given how most people (i.e. almost everyone) who approached this piano on the street had probably never played it before, it's easy to imagine them creating some pretty peculiar sound combinations with it.

      At the same time, it also looks like it would be quite fun to play. So if you want to try it out, Compound is the place to be.

      As for the festival's musical attractions, artists performing on the Monstercat Stage include Drezo, Conro, Tails, Grant, Disero, and Orri + Friends.

      Over at the more underground-oriented Groundwerk Stage, attendees can catch acts such as Adam 2, xtine, Joel West, DJ SKY DOG, Diana Boss, Leon V, AWood, and Someone Someone.

      The festival will also feature booths by Ableton, Roland, Pioneer DJ, Tom Lee Music, and the Nimbus School of Recording, who will each be hosting booths where attendees can try out some of their musical equiment.

      There will also be an education panel hosted at The Pace studio from 12 to 2 p.m. that will feature experts advising aspiring musicians on how to develop a career in music and work within the industry.