Fish-shaped glass armonicas? Electronic snapping instruments? An entire line of nonsensical products that’s fish themed? Via comments on yesterday’s glass armonica piece, bodhi points us to various fish-based “performance-art-manufacturing” creations by the Japanese maywa denki group. Examples:

Koi-beat: Manual rhythm-making machine in the shape of a carp. Inputted-rhythm by the switch is output at 100V.
Glass-Carp: Compact,easy-to-play carp-shaped glass harp. Turn the handle to move the glasses round.
Pachi-Moku: A unique back-pack-type”winged”musical device operated by electronic finger snappers. Two tones: high and low.

Pictured are the fish-shaped glass armonica (Franklin would be proud), and of course, the electronic finger-snapping device. (West Side Story will never be the same.)

Catalog of fish-themed products

The unusual fish-themed gear doesn’t stop at music, either. There’s a “fish swatter and container”, for instance. (What do you mean, “what for?” For swatting fish, silly.) Then there’s a custom painting kit so you can “Create your own one-of-a-kind ink rubbing of a fish for its memento”, and a fish bladder in a glass jar with air pressure controls. (Don’t ask.)

I like the fish bone extension cord, myself:

The CDM sea creatures leitmotif continues for reasons even I can’t explain. Now I half expect someone to come and slap me with a herring.

  • Those instruments were created by the japanese group Maywa Denki.

    I had the opportunity to see them on stage in 2005 in Paris (France) and this was one of the most incredible shows I've ever seen : those guys have built dozens of instruments and automats and programmed them to play songs.

    The group is composed of a CEO (he sings), a financial director (plays the organ) and a crew (the workers, they operate the instruments and repair them while playing…) and the show is a pastiche of the philosophy of the japanese company.

    Very strange group and difficult to describe, but really a must-see if you like automats, absurd situations, japanese pop music and humour.

  • They were originally two brothers (one has since "retired"). Back around the 70s their father ran an electric appliance manufacturing company called Maywa Denki that has since gone out of business. So part of their art/performance project involves behaving like a manufacturer – something they've become with quite a number of lower cost non-musical goods (like the extension cord) available at places like Tower Records in Japan. The above instruments though are one off items used in their shows. Their sound is all servo-mechanical, moving electric parts making acoustic sounds rather than electronic waves. They were signed to a Sony affiliated label in the late 90s and backed singer/neo-lounge act Satoru Wono on that Kraftwerk Tribute album "Musique Non Stop".

  • Nick and Fred — thanks for these eloquent descriptions. I had no idea of the background on their work; makes it all the more interesting. I wish I could see them in person.

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