Saturday, June 13, 2009


It's a durn shame that the ellipsis arts label has gone under. They produced some stellar book/CD packages. And tho I can't give you the color-illustrated book, I can give you the CD of home-made mad-genius musical instrument inventors "Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones."

Compiled by Bart Hopkins, publisher of a magazine dedicated to experimental instruments, with a forward by Tom Waits, "Gravikords" is a crucial document of strange music. It's a great listen, from legends like Clara Rockmore's classical theremin, to Sugar Belly's bamboo-sax calypso, to Wendy Chamber's version of "New York New York" on the car-horn organ (which is exactly what you think it is). Covering both the semi-famous (Harry Partch, Don Buchla & Robert Moog) as well as unknown toolshed tinkers, it's an inspiring testimony to human ingenuity and imagination.

Bart Hopkins et al. Gravikords, Whirlies, and Pyrophones

Click on artist name for info

1. Excerpt From Le Bal - Hans Reichel
2. Excerpt From Pacific 3-2-1-Zero - Phil Dadson, From Scrarch -->
3. Excerpt From Silence The Tongues Of Prophecy - Qubais Reed Ghazala -->
4. Luminescence - Jean-Claude Chapuis -->
5. Excerpt From In The Beginning: Etude II - Don Buchla, Robert Moog -->
6. Excerpt From Claycussion - Ward Hartenstein -->
7. Excerpt From And On The Seventh Day, Petals Fell In Petaluma - Harry Partch -->
8. Shake Up Adina - Sugar Belly -->
9. Bamboo Is - Darrel De Vore -->
10. The Swan - Clara Rockmore -->
11. Terra Zona - Barry Hall, The Burnt Earth -->
12. Naiades - Jacque Dudon
13. Instru-Matics - Ken Butler

14. Entomological Effervescence -
Tom Nunn
15. Kindred Spirits - Sarah Hopkins -->
16. Piccadilly - Robert Grawi -->
17. Aquaknots - Susan Rawcliffe -->
18. New York, New York - Wendy Mae Chambers -->

There was a sequel (which I do not have) "Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones." Any label heads out there want to reissue these?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Sounds great so far, though the tracks and names seem to have been mixed-up in some instances.


Rodrigo R. Herrera said...

Thanks for your comment Mr. Fab but I don't know nothing about Messer Chups label.
What happend with their laber?
And if you like Messer Chups I recommend you Matorral Man, one of the best mexican bands and I always says that they are like the mexican Messer Chups. Check:

de_kerinchi said...

Thank you so much!!! I love all your blogs! With good writing and Nice writing style, Keep up the good work.. Looking forward to reading more from you.. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thankyou, it is great! Have you got a copy of the book as well?

Mr Fab said...

I do have the book, but unfortunately not a working scanner if that's what you're wondering. It's excellent - lots of nice color pictures, good interviews.

ae said...

What happened to track 18 Aquaknots? Track 19 took its place and name.

Eric said...

A great book and CD by Bart Hopkin!
Bart has been a good friend and essential source of inspiration for many other instrument makers and musicians since the 1980s. Check out his website Experimental Musical Instruments for books, CDs, tools, parts, etc.

Mr Fab said...

So many comments in one day for a year-old post? Weird! Anyway...
Yes, the tagging was wrong. The above track listing is now the correct one.

Bart said...

Hello, everyone; this post is from Bart, the one who wrote and produced the Gravikords etc. book&CD. Thanks for comments & responses. This collection has nominally been out of print for a good little while, but some time ago Russell Charno at Ellipsis Arts (publishers of the collection) discovered a couple of boxes of virgin copies of the collection in an office or warehouse someplace, and was good enough to send them along to me. At this point I have just a few of these copies still available. You can have look here:

Mr Fab said...

Great to hear from you Mr Hopkin - grab the cd/book package while you can folks, highly recommended.

And I see one "Bart Hopkin" is responsible for some unusual percussion instruments for the LA-area play "Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands":
I hope to catch a performance, looks amazing.

Whizzdumb said...

Wow, what an amazing collection. And over a really broad range as well. Singular work. I am working my way through your blog, which I only recently discovered (through your Herrmann post), but this certainly stands out!

Whizzdumb said...

Btw: if you are still looking for it, I saw that there are versions of Orbitones, Spoon Harps & Bellowphones available on soulseek

Anonymous said...

Any chance of re-upload the link?
Thanks for the amazing blog!

Anonymous said...

Amazing Blog
How sweet the sounds
that saved a manic like me -
I once was sane
Now I'll not
Maniacal music has warped my brain -

Mr Fab said...

Hey, we've got a national anthem! Before you read anything here, rise and sing...