Ei Wada is back at it. The Japanese programmer-turned-composer, known for playing music on discarded e-waste, has come out with two new songs played on a fan and television screens, respectively.
And if you weren't watching the YouTube videos of him—but, you should be, because they're awesome—it would be hard to tell he's not playing on traditional instruments.
Wada's band Open Reel Ensemble gives old tech new relevance by musically repurposing outdated ventilation fans and TV sets. And while the "instruments" may be old, the sound is something like an electronic bagpipe mixed with other electronic beats and synths. Wada previously told Motherboard it's "comic" to make music from these old machines.
Through trial and error, Wada's band figured out how to make the old e-waste products sound good. They synced them up with computers and manipulated the antiquated technology, fumbling around with old wires and switches to produce new sounds or to squash a sound.
When they play gigs, sometimes the band records the audience first in real time and then mashes that up with their own music. And the weirder the sound, the better. "We like it when our recordings bug and blip," said Wada, who appreciates the "exotic" sounds that come of it.
Wada's band used laser cutters and 3D printers on the fans to make a "kankisenthizer"—a mix between a kankisen and a synthesizer—while connecting cathode ray tube-dependent TV sets to guitar amps, using the screens as percussion instruments. Each TV has a different beat and depth of sound. Meanwhile, the fan "guitar" in Wada's latest sounds almost like a real electric guitar mixed with a synthesizer.
Aside from how mesmerizing it is to watch, Wada's making music that people might also want to dance to. Or roll one up for, at least.
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