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Distributed by Oz Inventions
Overview by Reza Nasseri

Hi everyone, after a long absence from writing and reviewing I’m excited to have a look at a unique Australian invention, the Xpression FX Black Magic Motion by Oz Inventions. Who are they you ask? Well, their website tells us they’re an “Australian based business (down Warnambool way) specialising in the design of unique electronic products. They are involved from concept through to manufacture, sales and support of wireless motion controlled audio effects, musical instruments and related devices, branded as Xpression fX.”

OK, first thing’s first. The idea of motion controlled music has been around for a while now. Historically my mind goes back to the quirky, nostalgic sounds of the Theremin and in more recent times products like the Alesis AirFx, Roland’s D-Beam, and Source Audio Hot Hand, as used by Herman Li of Dragonforce. What makes the Black Magic Motion unique however is the ability to use it like an expression pedal that incorporates a wide range of motion based effects.

My first impressions when opening the box were extremely positive. The luxurious inclusion of tools, velcro, batteries, extra straps, and a detailed manual/ quick start guide gave me everything I needed right out the box. What you get are two units, a wireless sensor-transmitter and a modulator-receiver. The sensor-transmitter senses and sends motion data to the receiver and the receiver then modulates an effect or changes MIDI data relative to that information. By moving the sensor, you change the parameters (or change MIDI codes). Once unpacked, the set-up was a little more involved. It took a few minutes to figure out how to insert the battery into the sensor and calibrate the unit, which required some reading of the Quick Start Guide. The format is a little different to anything else I’m used to, whereby the unit needs to be calibrated first before it can operate properly but once I took the time to do a bit of reading and tweaking, the fun began.

I tested the unit with my now ancient POD HD and I have to admit that with such an innovative product such as this motion controlled system, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Once again … after a little reading, a degree of patience and experimentation, my time gradually paid off. Unlike most other expression devices, the Black Magic Motion is capable of running in multiple modes like ADSR, Flick, Guitar-hand, Playback, Quad tilt, Rotation, Tilt and Velocity.

In my POD I set up the Pitch Glide (Digitech Whammy) to be controlled by the unit. I placed the receiver on my picking hand, set the effect to Guitar Hand, and my humble living room had now been magically transformed into the stage of my dreams. I was Tom Morello, no … Steve Vai no…. ok, some generic bedroom hero but every time I raised my pick of destiny (a worn out Dunlop Jazz III XL), each note flew up an octave as if by magic … black magic indeed!

After about a good hour of fun and messing around with different rotations, angles and tilts, I really started to understand that the unit was like an instrument itself. So much fun can be had using it and I’m sure it could take some live performances to the next level too. No more shoe-gazing, awkward silences or boring heel and toe polkas. I fully recommend you join the dark side! You can even try playing Black Magic Woman by assigning the wah to Guitar-hand mode, or you can play Black Magic by Slayer and increase the distortion by putting up your devil horns! This Xpression FX Black Magic Motion TRS model retails at $279. There’s also the MIDI control version, which is physically identical and performs the same function as the other device, but has a RRP of $249.00. The TRS model is designed to connect to a third party effect unit, MIDI controller, keyboard or other device with a foot controller socket. (TRS, RTS ,TS or CV are suitable). The MIDI model is designed to connect to third party MIDI devices with a 5-pin DIN MIDI receive socket such as keyboards and effect units.

For more information on the XPression FX Black Magic Motion unit, visit the Oz Inventions website:

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