The Culprit Console Piano in Second Life

Culprit Console Piano

Pianos have been – if you’ll pardon the pun – something of a theme for me over the last couple of years; particularly those made by Eku Zhong and Yure4u Sosa for their Culprit brand. In September 2018, I wrote about the Culprit upright piano, and then in March of 2019 year, I reviewed the Culprit baby grand (links below).

As I noted in writing about the latter, I have a Yamaha N1 piano in the physical world, a hybrid piano that allows me to have the richness of playing a grand piano in the compact form of an upright piano. And with their latest release, Yure4u and Eku have given me the opportunity to have a similar style of hybrid in Second Life, with the Culprit Sonata Console Piano.

Like the Culprit upright and baby grand before it, this is  Bento-configured piano, meaning it utilises the Bento skeleton and suitable animations to give a more realistic look to an avatar’s fingers when playing. However, unlike its predecessors, the console piano has some nips and tucks to the Bento system.

The Culprit Console Piano’s keyboard

Style-wise, the Culprit model resembles the Yamaha N2, offering a deeper body than my N1 – said to help provide a richer tone – with an upright-like keyboard. It’s provided with a range of finishes, with a default of wood for a freshly rezzed model. Texture options can be used to change both piano and stool together, or mixed between piano and stool to offer a custom look between the two.

As with the upright and the baby grand, the texture options are accessed via the piano’s menu. This also provides access to the piano’s playing options. These are divided up as follows:

  • Songs: 34 solo pieces to play, all public domain, representing a good cross-reference of music.
  • Christmas: 16 seasonal songs, all again public domain.
  • Muted: a total of 16 different playing styles without any associated music so you can set a style in keeping with the music you’re listening to out-world, or on your parcel stream.

The menu also includes options to adjust the seated position on the stool.

The Culprit Console Piano (centre) with the baby grand (l) and upright (r) for comparison

Play-wise the Culprit composite starts in a similar manner as the other two pianos in the Culprit Sonata range: sit on the stool and your avatar will be placed in an “idle” pose, performing a number of arms and finger loosening exercises. Selecting a piece of music from the menu will cue up the loop – and introduces the difference between this and the other Culprit pianos.

Like the Sonata baby grand and upright pianos, the Culprit Sonata Console piano uses Bento hand animations for a more realistic playing style with Bento avatars (footage taken from tests with the Culprit Sonata Upright)

Not only will the system adopt a playing style in keeping with the tempo of the selected piece and with individual finger movements for Bento avatars, the animations will actually adjust to the tempo within the piece – so that in sections where there is an increase in tempo, or if stronger emphasis in playing is required, the animation will attempt to replicate it; this presents something of a more fluid playing “style” for an avatar.

Those who have not swapped to using Bento-enabled mesh avatars can still use the Culprit Console Piano, just as they can the others in the Sonata range – the only difference is the finger movement will not be present in the animations.

In keeping with the Culprit upright and baby grand, there is no autoplay with this model. But as I note in my reviews of both of those models, the point about the Culprit Sonata range is the Bento capability – so having autoplay (allowing the piano to play tunes while not seated) misses that a bit.

One small point of note is that the piano is supplied both physical when rezzed and has a root prim base. The former means you can be catapulted ceiling-wards when standing from it, so setting it to phantom might be required. The latter means a little vertical adjustment when placing it in-world might be required to avoid the appearance of having it hovering above the floor. Neither of these points detract in any way from the piano’s attractiveness or playability.

If you have limited space in which an grand piano can be a little over-powering (inset), and an upright a little too “traditional”; the Culprit Console Piano might offer a stylish alternative to the one offer a more modest footprint than the other

Those who have a grand piano – and room for it – might not be tempted by the Culprit Console Piano. However, if you are pressed for space and miss having a grand in the house / aren’t too enamoured with a “traditional” upright, then this model could be right for you. Small and attractive, it fits into confined spaces admirably, and at 7 LI, isn’t a capacity hog. I’ve already added it to my Evening Star Linden Houseboat rezzer, where it sits nicely within the small lounge space I’ve created with that particular houseboat design, without overpowering the room and making things feel cramped.

The Culprit Console Piano is currently exclusively available at the Tannenbaum shopping event through until December 23rd, after which it will be available directly from the Culprit main store.. The price is L$995.

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Art in reflection of self and poetry in Second Life

Nitroglobus: Maloe Vansant, “The moon lives in the lining of your skin”

Available at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is an exhibition of art by Maloe Vansant that takes as its inspiration, words offered by Chilean Nobel Laureate Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto – better known as poet Pablo Neruda.

In Ode to a Beautiful Nude, Neruda offers a song of love and appreciation for the flawless beauty of a model appearing before him. The poem offers a lyrical examination of the woman, initially acknowledging his desire to appreciate her in a chaste manner rather than giving into more carnal desires – although the praise he goes on to offer towards her beauty carries with it an undertone of that desire throughout, before culminating in the line:

The moon lives in the lining of your skin.

– Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Beautiful Nude.

Nitroglobus: Maloe Vansant, “The moon lives in the lining of your skin”

It is this line that Maloe takes as the title of her exhibition at Nitroglobus. Within it, she offers an exploration of self and beauty as reflected in the moods and words found throughout the poem, whilst at the same time offering insight into the relationship between artist and avatar.

After creating little Maloe, my barbie doll, my pixel soul, I discovered the possibility of making snapshots and I started to make a graphic diary of Maloe’s journey in Second Life, showing the emotions she experienced in this pixel world … I am not a woman of many words, I try to express myself, my feelings, my passion and probably my dark side through my pictures.

Maloe Vansant, describing her relationship with her avatar.

The use of Neruda’s words might suggest that Maloe is offering a visual homage to his poem  – something that has been done before in Second Life (see: Poems and art in Second Life, April 2016). However, this would not be a fair assessment. The art and poem stand apart from one another in the extent of their explorations, but at the same time they are entwined by common themes of giving for and depth to the the nature of natural beauty. Therefore, one is neither a homage to the other.

Nitroglobus: Maloe Vansant, “The moon lives in the lining of your skin”

One of the interesting contrasts been poem and art is in their examination of beauty. Whereas the poem perceives the beauty and reflection of the soul from without; Maloe’s art does so from looking out from within. One of the interesting links between the two is in their use of metaphor.

Take eyes, for example. In his Ode, Neruda acknowledges The two deep countries of your eyes, so often seen a a window into a person’s soul. Within The Face is a Picture of the Mind, focused as it is one the eye of her avatar, presents a similar examination of the eye and soul.

Elsewhere, each uses metaphor from somewhat different perspectives. With his poem, Neruda uses metaphor to encapsulate that push-pull between wanting to appreciate feminine beauty both from a celibate objectivity and that of a more carnal desire:

Flowering fire
Open chandelier
A swelling fruit
Over the pact of sea and earth.

– Pablo Neruda, Ode to a Beautiful Nude.

By contrast, Maloe uses metaphor more broadly. Take Leaving the Light, Gold Makes Monsters of Men, and The Apple that Changed the World. In three both in words and image, might be seen as metaphors for the way in which west religion has cast the female as being complicit in the Fall of Man (The Apple… and Leaving…) and the subjugation of women as a whole (Gold Makes Monsters…).

Nitroglobus: Maloe Vansant, “The moon lives in the lining of your skin”

Thought-provoking, rich in substance and meaning, The moon lives in the lining of your skin is another outstanding exhibition at Nitroglobus, and will run through until the end of the year. Also still on display at the gallery (at least at the time of my visit) is Kaiju Kohime’s CRISP, an examination of CRISPR gene editing, and which I wrote about in Art, science, and the future, October 2019.

SLurl and Links