Donda, which is due to be Kanye West’s tenth album but has been repeatedly delayed, is now said to be planned for release after a listening event being held in Chicago this week.
But as well as releasing the album in its traditional form, West appears to have collaborated with technology company Kano to create a contraption that is able not just to play the album but to edit it.
The unit comes with a range of technological features, according to its website: a headphone jack and bluetooth, both of which can work at once, as well as built-in speakers; a USB-C port; “touch sensitive light sliders” that glow red and blue as they are used; 8 gigabytes of storage, and the ability to play a variety of different formats on it; and a haptic engine for precise vibrations.
But the stem player does not work just like a simple music player, such as an iPod. It allows fans to edit different parts of the songs, seemingly letting them remix the new album as they listen.
The website boasts that it allows owners to “control vocals, drums, bass and samples”, to “isolate parts” and “add effects” as well as control loops and the speed of songs. Those mixes can then be saved, played and shared, the website claims.
The Stem Player costs $200 and is currently only available in the UK and US, through a devoted website.
That website does not include any demonstration of the gadget in action. But videos have been shared online that seem to show it being used to edit tracks by pressing its touch sensitive controls.
It is not clear exactly when the Stem Player will arrive to those who order it. An FAQ on the website says that it will “ship this summer” and advises that people “check back for more info”.
Another part of the website says it will “ship with Donda”, though it is not clear whether that means it will arrive at the same time or simply that it will include the album.