Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A neu Neubauten
January 31, 2012 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Dub machines. Tristan Shone, aka Author & Punisher, builds and plays his own drone metal instruments.
posted by googly (22 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks. I'm a fan of this kind of stuff and can't believe I've never heard of this guy. Love the sounds.
posted by melt away at 7:19 AM on January 31, 2012


Neat! I saw some of those devices at Maker Faire a few years ago, but never got to hear them.
posted by moonmilk at 7:20 AM on January 31, 2012


AAAANNNNNAAAAALLLLOOOOGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Xoebe at 7:49 AM on January 31, 2012


Holy crap, that's awesome.
posted by Boxenmacher at 8:16 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Made my morning. Thanks.
posted by Seamus at 8:31 AM on January 31, 2012


Impressive stuff for one guy more or less sitting at his desk.
But, as always, I could do without the Cookie Monster vocals.
What's he trying to do? Scare me?
posted by philip-random at 8:41 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


AAAANNNNNAAAAALLLLOOOOGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!

MANALOG!

Machineistmusician looks to be a fascinating genre.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:58 AM on January 31, 2012


Makes me think of the power loader from "Alien" playing Godflesh. Awesome.
posted by alikins at 9:10 AM on January 31, 2012


Ha! I went to grad school with him. Nice guy, and build terrific kinetic sculpture.
posted by ducky l'orange at 9:19 AM on January 31, 2012


"builds," rather.
posted by ducky l'orange at 9:22 AM on January 31, 2012


I saw this guy play a set at the Berkeley Art Museum when they hosted a funeral for analog TV and it was amazing. You could tell people who otherwise wouldn't have been into the music were still captivated by Tristan's performance, crowding in to see him struggle with his machines. It was deafening and cramped and you could still see totally elderly people jostling for a better vantage point. He's a fascinating artist.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:22 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugghhhh so good.
posted by Corduroy at 9:28 AM on January 31, 2012


At a college I attended for a year, there was a generator outside the art building that hummed a perfect B note. If you stood next to it and sang/hummed along, it would create this crazy vibration inside of you. My friends and I always wanted to have some sort of concert where every song was in B and the small crowd would feel the weird vibration, too. These videos make me want to create such musical machines on purpose.
posted by Corduroy at 9:31 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting that most of the devices are MIDI controllers - they really look like they're making those big nasty sounds, but he could just as easily have them trigger some lovely pastoral classical samples, twee indie tinkling, or whatever else he fancied plonking in Ableton Live.

Much as I like the heavy stuff he's doing now, it'd be great to watch a bloke wrestling with that huge machinery to produce gentle, delicate music.

Makes me think of the power loader from "Alien" playing Godflesh. Awesome.

That was my first thought, too - plumbing all that gear into a giant exoskeleton would make for one terrifying live show.
posted by jack_mo at 9:49 AM on January 31, 2012


I am working on the layout to his next album RIGHT NOW. #dronemetalinsider
posted by SharkParty at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's hoping one day he does a Kickstarter or something to produce an instrument of this type in a small batch, I'm sure he could find enough buyers to make it worthwhile if the form factor was right.
posted by I've wasted my life at 11:35 AM on January 31, 2012


Interesting that most of the devices are MIDI controllers - they really look like they're making those big nasty sounds, but he could just as easily have them trigger some lovely pastoral classical samples, twee indie tinkling, or whatever else he fancied plonking in Ableton Live.

That was my first question on seeing this.

I mean, isn't this essentially just really cool looking switches and rheostats controlling software?

From that standpoint it's certainly not, the "neu Neubauten", as I don't see any hammers banging on steel, angle-grinders on steel drums or jackhammers under bridge overpasses being recorded here...

Still a cool way to generate electronic music, and I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship involved. Maybe I'll go check out the upcoming LA show.
posted by zen_spider at 2:52 PM on January 31, 2012


Good point about Neubauten. I was taken by the fact that he builds his own instruments, but it's true that they are ultimately mostly triggering devices - unlike Neubauten whose machines actually produced the sounds. Nevertheless, I think the aesthetic is similar, in the sense that both built machines that translated body movements into sound in novel ways.
posted by googly at 5:18 PM on January 31, 2012


It's been a few years since the show that I saw, but one of the interesting things is that although his machines were ultimately just triggers, the process of "triggering" them took some sort of actual physical exertion to accomplish. I can't speak to the knobs and sliders shown in the Dub Machines video as much, but you can see many of the pieces I saw him play in the second video. That thing on the left is some monstrously heavy machined wheel, where he can use its rotational velocity as a MIDI input that controls the pitch of a sample or some other parameter. So yeah, just spin it a certain speed for a certain pitch... but he had to physically work at the wheel to get it moving in the first place, and occasionally give it a push or two to keep it moving, and then had to fight its rotational momentum to slow it down again later. To accomplish the equivalent of twisting a tiny knob in a traditional MIDI controller. Same goes for that device with a handle grip sliding along the rails - there are a few fingertip triggers on the handle itself, but (it at least appeared at the time that) the bumpstops at either end of the rails are triggers as well. So to play certain drumbeats, he had to shove this handle back and forth, slamming it from end to end of its chassis while also spinning the heavy wheel, manipulating various levers, singing, and probably doing a couple of other things too. It was really impressive.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:35 PM on January 31, 2012


Yeah that's basically the deal. The machines are built to be a non-trivial way of making electronic music. There's a pretty good interview on this page that shows his original drone machines plus his current ones but it also talks about how he started out as a regular guitar guy then did a regular guitar version of this (one man doom band) and it felt lacking but he didn't want to be a knob twiddler or just fiddle with a mouse in front of people... he wanted serious machinery with physical feedback that has to be overcome to make a sound. Pretty cool. He's a friend and ex-bandmate of mine.

It's probably not obvious from this stuff, but he is an awesome metal singer and guitarist and writes really weird great metal riffs. Here's the first Author and Punisher album that is more traditional and sounds vaguely like the band we used to be in together. The song "Once Upon A Sin" has my favorite chorus of almost any song ever.
posted by SharkParty at 9:44 AM on February 1, 2012


Also one of his earlier attempts at blending art, metal music, and engineering was a robot called Corpsegrinder that just banged its head alot. AWESOME.
posted by SharkParty at 9:47 AM on February 1, 2012


The machines are built to be a non-trivial way of making electronic music.

I don't really follow the doomy metal-industrial stuff, but in the context of noise, power electronics, &c. there's always been ridiculous arguments between the 'who cares, it makes a horrible sound!' types who will happily use digital gear and those who insist you can only make noise with a contact mic glued to a tin full of nails feeding into a broken vintage guitar pedal. Using a massive steel sculpture-thing to trigger samples on a laptop is a splendid 'fuck off' to that sort of squabbling.

Here's hoping one day he does a Kickstarter or something to produce an instrument of this type in a small batch, I'm sure he could find enough buyers to make it worthwhile if the form factor was right.

Some of the gadgets are for sale on his website. $200 for a Big Knob, same as in town.
posted by jack_mo at 5:03 PM on February 1, 2012


« Older Is the Earth getting lighter? BBC Radio's More or ...  |  For the past 18 months, engine... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments