Friday, 4 March 2016

Video: Wintergatan - Marble Machine

Wintergatan Marble Machine Martin Molin

Wintergatan - Marble Machine

Info: Swedish experimental act Wintergatan has just released his latest single and video for 'Marble Machine' a phenomenal piece of artistry which took 14 months of grueling work, 2000 marbles, 3000 custom parts and the unbreakable determination of one artist has given shape to a musical and design masterpiece. 

This creation has been Martin Molin’s labour of love for over a year and much like the curiosity and passion that gripped Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelly’s classic tale, Martin’s dream consumed him and he worked tirelessly to make it a reality. What you see in this music video for Wintergatan’s Marble Machine is a completely manual operation and an original score, created by Martin Molin alone in his studio. Words cannot do his craftsmanship justice, nor can they correctly represent his devotion. So we invite you to feast your eyes on this curious delight and experience the magic for yourself. 

In the history of grand romantic undertakings, dedicating over a year of your life to the invention, design and construction of an entirely new instrument must fall somewhere between using wax and feathers to get out of a tower and mounting a horseback defence against angry windmills.  But that’s exactly what Martin Molin of sonically inventive Swedish band Wintergatan decided to do, chronicling his process, over the course of the last 14 months, to build an instrument that blurs the lines between acoustic and electronic music.  The vision and dedication required to see the project through has paid off in spades as evidenced by the hypnotic and captivating video above.

Wintergatan - The Making of The Marble Machine

A hand-cranked system lifts 2000 steel marbles in tiny carved carriages to the top of the device, where they are evenly dispersed between several possible channels.  Simultaneously, a studded conveyor belt whirs to life, its neatly arranged nubs triggering a melody played out on the machine’s vibraphone.   Then, a series of levers release the marbles onto the different instruments embedded within the machine, seamlessly underpinning the cascades of twinkling vibraphone with percussive bass and warm beats.  The marbles bounce seamlessly into waiting funnels and are ski lifted back to start the process again.

And that’s the joy of the device: on the one hand it’s a warm, acoustic instrument, reliant on turn of the crank, the fretting of the bass, but merged seamlessly with the looped, programmed principles of electronic music devices. It’s the cold logic of a sequencer, reimagined as a old-timey Rube Goldberg device and given the kind of ornate and intimate design you imagine a character in a Michel Gondry film stumbling across just after meeting the love of their life. 

If you have the time, it’s well worth watching the other videos on their channel showing the gradual construction of the instrument (synopsised in the 2nd video here), but the completed piece is nothing short of spellbinding.  It’s conception, let alone creation, stands as an act of pure unfiltered madness, which, as we all know, is where all the best stuff is found.

- Review by Noël Duplaa

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