Friday, November 13, 2009


Behold! The above contraption is The Cybraphon, a marvel of mechanical music. Edinburg, Scotland's FOUND group have built a self-playing musical robot housed in a cabinet, but unlike other robo-musicians that we've featured here who play rock, jazz, or electronica, The Cybraphon takes an antique-garde approach in terms of both look and sound: "Inspired by early 19th century mechanical bands such as the nickelodeon ['player piano']...Cybraphon consists of a number of instruments, antique machinery, and found objects from junk shops operated by over 60 robotic components..."

Instruments include a Farfisa organ, chimes, an Indian classical instrument, percussion, and "...a purpose made vinyl record...cued robotically to play through antique brass gramophone horns." Cool, eh? But how does it sound? Great, actually. Listening to their two EPs (available on their site) is a kind of musical Turing Test - I sometimes forgot that I was listening to a robot and just enjoyed the music. Accordions aren't listed but something sure sounds like them in these tunes. Perhaps it's that "Indian classical instrument."

The Cybraphon: The Balkan Bazaar

The Cybraphon: A March For The Sea

"Image conscious and emotional, the band’s performance is affected by online community opinion as it searches the web for reviews and comments about itself 24 hours a day." So don't make The Cybraphon sad. Cybraphon cry.

Thanks to J-Unit 1!


Ringo Stalin said...

A marvellous contraption indeed!

J-Unit 1 said...

I didn't know those EPs were out for sale. I snagged them and they are quite good. I was also unaware that the collective won a BAFTA for this piece. Pretty cool stuff!

Mr Fab said...

Yeah, when you sent me that link, there wasn't any music available yet, so I waited on it. Checked in later, tunes were up, grabbed 'em, and here we are. Thanks again, Your Robotness!