The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work.
I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front paneling of an upright piano, with a pinball cabinet butted up perpendicular against its exposed strings. Embracing high and low culture this instrument allows virtuosos and wizards alike to pit their skills in a game where musical compositions are created as metallic balls jettisoned into the game clash with the pianos resonating wires. This experiment the first of in a series of individually crafted instruments I’m constructing at Artspace as part of my Australia Council music board project fellowship that introduce musical elements into the iconic game of pinball, making sound generation – not scoring – the games’ main objective.
As a pianist, I might actually hate the idea were the sounds of the resonating strings not so compelling. I hope we get to see more. Bio:
Initially classed as a turntablist, Lucas Abela’s work has rarely resembled anything in the field, early feats saw him stabb vinyl with Kruger style stylus gloves, bound on electro acoustic trampolines, drag race the pope across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, perform deaf defying duet duels with amplified samurai swords, hospitalised by high powered turntables constructed from sewing machine motors, record chance John Peel sessions with the Flaming Lips, become Otomo Yoshihides’ favourite entry into his Ground Zero remix competition; ‘Consummation’ (even though instead of sampling the CD he destroyed it using amplified skewers!).
Today these turntable roots have became almost unrecognisable, evolving into his infamous glass instrument, the shards being nothing more than a giant diamond tipped stylus you vibrate with your mouth. He has been perfecting the instrument since it’s invention in 2003, perfroming internationally as Justice Yeldham and with his glass/ drums/ piano trio, Rice Corpse.
Lucas has principally been a live audio artist, perfroming live since 1994 after Oren Ambarchi stumbled across his radio performances, and invited him to play the What is? Music Festival. However Recently he has begun dabbling in sound installation with works like Vinyl Rally, where remote control cars with styli attached are raced over a track made from a mass of disused vinyl records.
He also founded of the irreverent dualpLOVER organisation, promoting, touring and releasing stark music from Australia and Abroad.