"A composer's dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one's fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien's "Mecanium" is all about" -Michel F. Côté. Watch him in action Live at Faster than Sound or enjoy a track from his album Mecanoid - Avid Diva. [more inside]
Mechanical Music Press is a resource for those interested in large mechanical music machines, and they're not just player pianos. The really interesting machines are generically called orchestrions, contraptions that are automated to play multiple instruments from some format of audio script, disc, pinned-barrel or music rolls. The three primary makers of multi-instrument playing machines as profiled on MMP are Hupfeld, Welte, and Wurlitzer / Philipps. Where MMP has detailed histories of the makers and the models, there are numerous videos of mechanical music machines in action on YouTube: Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina Model B | Welte style 4 orchestrion at Disneyland | Wurlitzer Pianorchestra 33-A | Ramey Banjo Orchestra, a new orchestrion styled after the original Banjorchestra. Bonus YT link: "Ghost Parade" performed by Joe Rinaudo at the American Photoplayer (prev.)
The Automata Blog is packed full of interesting images, videos and information about all kinds of amazing automata, cool machines, mechanical music, orchestrions and kinetic sculptures. This month's focus is the history of vintage Japanese tin toy robots and the toy robot paintings by Steven Skollar.
"To ignore this trespass is to agree that NOTHING any musician has attempted to do with their life in music has any intrinsic value - and I refuse to do that." Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, whose new album Orchestrion came out in January (see him discuss it here), ranted about smooth jazz legend Kenny G, claiming that his overdubbed performance of What A Wonderful World defiled the memory of Louis Armstrong. (Via Aaron Cohen at Kottke.org)
Jazz phenom/guitarist Pat Metheny is re-inventing the Orchestrion, using a team of engineers and all the gizmos they can hook together, to create the ultimate one-man-live-performance-band. [more inside]