Steampunk Instruments

02 Feb

I am REALLY into today’s post.

Around the web there are many extraordinary examples of people taking their guitar or tuba or violin and making them into a steampunk aesthetic. One day perhaps i will show you a collection.

As seems to happen, i start off with a general idea and a collection of different stuff and then out of nowhere i get fixated on a particular artist and end up spotlighting them. Today is no different, and the gentleman in the spotlight, Lirio Salvador, and his creations are just… drop dead amazing.

He doesn’t simply redesign instruments to have a steampunk look, he bloody well INVENTS them. His style is “ethno industrial”; he’s not trying to be specifically steampunk,but he certainly fits the bill, and he builds instruments out of  assembled electronic and metal scraps.

Like so:

Steampunk Guitar

He calls this Atma’s Fuse. And it is in fact an instrument that makes some form of tonal music.

Can’t figure out how the heck anyone would play it? Then check THIS out:

steampunk guitar

It’s called the Shaman’s Vehicle.

Amongst the reasons these really do it for and especially relate to this blog, is that in the Steampunk Opera, while the music features standard instruments (piano, drums, accordion, fiddle, tuba, etc, not to mention LOTS of things that clang) to make up the meat of each song, if you listen to the music closely, there are a variety of instruments rounding out the sound on each song that are in fact no actual instrument. They’re not synthesizer sounds either, since synthesizer sounds have a very specific feel to them that doesn’t belong in my conception of  the “steampunk music ” genre that i’m creating. (although i do use a synth tone on one of the songs in the 2nd Act, because i am so bad at following rules that i can’t even follow my own. And it fit. It WANTED to be used.)

I use a technique called Psychoacoustics, whereby sounds are creating by combing 2 otherwise non related sounds and techniques. Such as bowing a bicycle (i use that one all the time. Sounds close to cello but… juuuuuust not quite.) There are a number of stellar, cutting edge sound designers and Eric Persing at Spectrasonics is by far my favorite.  I use his “instruments”  and sounds avidly.

So today’s artist, Lirio Salvador, builds all of these out of found objects such as stainless pipes, bicycle gears, electronic gadgets, transistor radio, mini-amps, and aluminum kitchenware, among other materials.

Lirio Salvador is a native of the Philippines, and aside from designing these sound sculptures he also heads up a band (okay, technically they’re an Experimental Sound Art Group) Elemento, who plays them  improvisationally ONLY. No prearranged or pre-existing music whatsoever.

Now i know right now you’re saying,  “Paul, that is really intriguing/awesome/bizarre. You…. you by any chance aren’t awesome enough to have actually gone and tracked down an actual sample of their music to listen to right now?”

Oh ye of little faith. Of course i’m that awesome. Although…. um….

Elemento with Lirio Salvador:

Elemento’s website with lots more pics is here.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 2, 2011 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , ,

One response to “Steampunk Instruments

  1. Doodler

    March 12, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Wow what great images these really are works of art..


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