In the past, Kanye West has dabbled in technology (he discussed a Teenage Engineering collaboration in 2019), but now there’s a device you can purchase for yourself. The rapper Kanye West and the electronics design firm Kano have released a Donda Stem Player, which, as the name suggests, allows you to remix music from Kanye’s upcoming album Donda (as well as your own tunes) using song stems from the album.
According to reports, the puck-shaped device allows you to isolate song parts and control aspects such as bass, drums, samples, and vocals. According to reports, you can split “any” song into stems. As for how it works, we’ve inquired with Kano about it, but it’s unlikely that it will perfectly separate song elements — something that would be difficult for even a full-fledged PC, let alone something as portable as this.
The Stem Player also includes well-known tools such as effects, four-channel audio mixing, live sampling, and real-time loop and speed controls, among other features. The majority of the interface is controlled by four touch-sensitive “light sliders,” which provide haptic feedback and allow you to customize the colors. You can save and share your creations with other people.
You can play audio through the built-in speaker, Bluetooth, or a 3.5mm headphone jack in a variety of lossy and lossless formats, and you can do so in a variety of ways (including AAC, AIFF, MP3 and WAV). In exchange for the bundled Donda stems, you’ll have only 8GB of storage space to work with instead.
The Stem Player is currently available for purchase for $200. Even though it is not a small investment if you are eager to experiment with your music, it is relatively inexpensive when compared to other electronic music-making devices. Just keep in mind that it’s really just one part of a larger creative toolset, and it’s not going to get you into the spotlight.