recently stumbled upon a cd by pierre bastien, which i've been listening to whenever possible, since. bastien builds amazing musical instruments amounting to a one man mechanical orchestra which he both makes recordings on and performs with all over the world. and from tree tops. here's some text from bastien's website, which i have to admit, charmed my pants off. and not just because of its endearingly slight broken english quality!
In a studio, it is more than funny to build a small automaton that will play the violin, or a nigerian drum : rather an irreverent joke about Music, and about the human machine as well. So what ? Will a simple mechanism be able to play a violin, when a student spends so much time in learning how to bow ? Will the talking-drum sound, while beaten by the stick through a motor and some gears, instead of a dancer with muscles?
However, during a concert, the other way around : the constructor becomes a conductor. Instead of a screw driver, he now holds a trumpet. His fellow musicians are nobody else than his metallic contraptions. Their nerves are nothing but rubber rings. Their heart, some recycled electro-motors taken from old record-players. He has to trust on these light and fragile creations. The composition is based on this delicate machinery. Then a strange phenomenon occurs in the music, that makes the necessary emotion come less from the man, than from the machines around him.
Find out more about pierre bastien, see some neat photos and listen to some songs here.