I’d hate to turn into the sort of parent who thinks their brain-dead, irritating, charmless little f*ckwits of children are cleverer, lovelier and more delightful than the very Baby Jeebus himself, despite their evident lack of any sort of talent or even bare sliver of tolerability to the entire rest of the human race. In the words of Bill Hicks: “Your children aren’t special. Oh, I know you think that they’re special… I’m just telling you that you’re wrong.”
Well, without wishing to imply that everything by bands from Edinburgh is better than anything by bands from anywhere else (that’s where that nonsense in the first paragraph was coming from, y’see) I have to confess that I am somewhat amazed by this piece of work: the Cybraphon. It’s f*cking amazing, basically.
Cybraphon Demo Song from Cybraphon on Vimeo.
Found have already demonstrated their incredible attraction to bizarre and wonderful projects, including a set of musical robots installed in the Botanic Gardens last year and their stunning* work for the Playing With the Past project, but this might just top the lot.
Basically, it’s a band in a box – imagine taking the concept of the Player Piano, taking it to its insanely illogical conclusion, hooking the whole shebang up to the fathomless rivers of sludge which are the internetz, and setting it loose. It responds to who is saying what about it on the internet and plays tunes according to its mood – sort of like a cross between the aforementioned Player Piano and Marvin the Paranoid Android, I suppose. For those wanting to find out more, the contraption itself can be viewed at the InSpace Gallery on Crichton St. in Edinburgh from the 5th August onwards. There is also a website with some amazing videos of the making of the Cybraphon, such as the one below, and a Flickr page with some gorgeous pictures.
Solenoids and Motors from Cybraphon on Vimeo.
Honestly, without wishing to sound like a small-time, partisan curtain-twitcher with a horizon no broader than the walls of my own back garden, I really do get the impression that if this sort of mental genius was being produced in London or by a band who make more effort to dress like hipsters and proclaim their genius to the world, then it would be all over the damn news. It’s genius, pure and simple.
In fact it reminds me that, instead of wondering why some bands end up disappearing down the avenue of experimentalism and bizarre crossover projects with architects and painters and various other mentalists, I find myself increasingly wondering why so few bands do it. I mean, if you’re creatively inclined and curious and interested in the world and exploring ideas and so on, surely bizarre experiments and weird projects should be something you’d be inescapably drawn to, rather than remaining cossetted in a narrow little world of three and a half minute verse-bridge-chorus pop songs.
Found, I salute you. This lunatic contraption is a joy to behold and one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Ever.
*Apparently, I have yet to see it for myself, but it’s on again on the 22nd August so be sure to get your tickets.
From the Song, by Toad Archives. Visit Song, by Toad for more from Matthew.