One of the losses of the pandemic has been live music and live music venues. According to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), without federal aid, as many as 90 percent of independent music venues could disappear due to COVID closures and lockdowns. Dropkick Murphys aside (their May streaming event from Fenway was a much-needed lockdown respite) most musicians have been holed up for months.  Some have been working on new material. Others have participated in virtual projects, solo or carefully arranged group projects. And most have been missing performing live just as we’ve been missing them.

There’s something “electric” about live music. Something magical that’s hard to recreate in a virtual event. The audience. The music. The lights…

Enter Synaesthetic and their new product, LAVA: Light for Audio-Visual Augmentation. Synaesthetic offers a music visualization platform – a kind of portal stage lighting. The product consists of hardware (LAVA is about the size of an apple and will cost under a $100) and an associated free application. Founder and CEO Samim Safaei said the firm has been developing the hardware for almost 2 years and is on a path toward a mass production version. The company has started to recruit musicians for a beta program and envisions a community approach to the music visualization platform.

Musical artists can create immersive experiences and fans can create their own unique visuals set to the music.  Simply play music as you normally would, turn on the LAVA, and customize the visuals with the mobile app. You can choose what the melody or harmony look like to enjoy a more heightened and customized musical experience. The LAVA can be used for social (or social-distanced) events, music therapy, or simply to create ambiance at home while you listen to your favorite music.

The company gets its name from Synesthesia, a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one of your senses stimulates several of your senses (one example is “hearing color”.)

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