05 May 2011 /

steam machine music

By morten riis

Steam Machine Music is a homebuilt mechanical instrument made mostly from vintage Meccano parts. The instrument is driven by a steam engine which provides the instrument with energy, while the sound generating is done with the incorporation of several elements: two music boxes programmable with perforated paper strips; a small Zither; a stringed instrument played with Meccano pulley wheels; a dynamo which drives a small Lego engine; a ‘drum’ machine built with Meccano parts that can be programmed; and the most importantly the sound of the machine itself. The instability of the entire mechanism is extremely noticeable, reflecting the physicality of the machine to an extreme degree. Everything is imminently about to go wrong, a cogwheel that jams, a screw that loosens itself, a chain falling of, water running out, the loss of steam pressure, gas running out.  For more on the artist.

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