Musicians have been making music out of weird and wonderful instruments forever and we have seen many of them: vegetable orchestras, bicycle parts, ice and recycled drains and bed springs. And now another addition to this esoteric form of music: the Terrafon. (Pics and vdeo)
It’s a huge wooden gramophone-like instrument which is dragged across the Swedish countryside by a dedicated and strong group of choristers. It amplifies the sound of the earth that it is ploughing. Hmmmm…
So what is the sound of the music? Well, it sounds like rattles and scratching, and squeeky wheels, with a bit of roaring going on intermittently. Modern. The piece is being performed by a local choir but the idea is to record new performances, with new ensembles and different local cropland, so the sounds can differ according to the locale.
The creator is Olle Corneer, a DJ/producer and electronic artist. He is working with a PhD in theoretical physics, specialising in superstring theory. With that duo, it turns out that there are some electronics involved–how could they resist. Namely a loudspeaker and amplifier in the cone, with the signal running through a computer.
As for the origin of the word terrafon, they seem to have invented it.