Musical Architecture
June 29, 2012 8:31 AM   Subscribe

A wall with large buttons that trigger voices, mellotron-style; An Indonesian gamelan xylophone orchestra played with a arcade game-like control panel; A leslie speaker that amplifies whatever a stethoscope touches. These are just a few of the instruments built into a unique New Orleans musical architecture installation called Dithyrambalina, or simply, The Music Box.

Street artist Swoon, installation artist Delaney Martin, and Bounce DJ/producer Jay Pennington (NSFW?) gathered together builders, instrument makers and artists around the theme of musical architecture. An 18th century creole cottage built when New Orleans belonged to Spain provided the lumber and scraps for the project after it fell down next to Pennington’s house.

Martin had created large installations that were immersive ‘worlds’ before, but she had never populated them before. Conducted by Quintron, musicians such as Mannie Fresh, Andrew W.K., Thurston Moore, Japanther, Dark Dark Dark, Javelin, Black Dice, Hamid Drake, James Singleton, Dicky Landry, Helen Gillet, Jim White, the Nortec Collective, and many others performed on these new instruments embedded in the floor, walls and ceiling of the village. Diplo and Nicky da B used the site as the backdrop for a recent video (NSFW).

Sound man extraordinaire Steven Richardson took on the daunting task of recording the cacophony and made some impressive mixes (scroll down to May 31, 2012 and April 16, 2012).
posted by umbú (6 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Forgive my imprecise shorthand. I should have added "-like instruments" to the end.
posted by umbú at 8:45 AM on June 29, 2012

posted by Doleful Creature at 9:45 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Holy crap. I just finished writing down a dream that involved a wall of musical equipment, glanced at this in my feed, felt a pang of fear that I had somehow posted my dream to Metafilter.

This is more strange and surreal than my dream though. I want a walk-through instrument!
posted by univac at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Very cool and original installations.
posted by daisystomper at 11:38 AM on June 29, 2012

The gambang is a xylophone and is found in most ensembles. There are also ensembles like gamlean joged bumbung that use xylophone-type instruments almost exclusively.
posted by imposster at 11:56 AM on June 29, 2012

Yay, the Dithyrambalina! That place is a mere three blocks from our apartment. My mom and I contributed in a very small way (donating some little bones and bells) to the Glass House, and went to the little neighborhood opening. It's really a wonderful thing. All the neighborhood kids call it "the music house."

I believe that the structures as they stand now are being dismantled this fall, to be recombined into a single building that holds all the instruments. So it's going to be dormant throughout the summer.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 4:09 PM on June 29, 2012

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