We live in an age of disposable electronics. iPod battery wears out or new prettier iPod arrives, and old iPod gets tossed. Or, if you’re Norwegian sound artist and musician Espen Sommer Eide, your iPod could live a second life far more interesting than its first.
The SlÃ¥ttberg is a custom musical instrument fashioned from an iPod running Linux, pdPod, the iPod-ready version of open-source multimedia patching software Pure Data, a 60s-era loudspeaker cabinet, an internal amp, and, most importantly, a big crank. Plugged into a Moogerfooger FreqBox, the resulting instrument feels like a reimagined analog Hurdy-Gurdy. Espen says he was inspired by deconstructing Norwegian fiddle music, and it comes out in the instrument not only in the sound but in the sense this creation is something Norwegian ethnomusicologists might collect, alongside ancient Scandinavian flutes.
Those of you in Norway, let us know how the premiere goes, and what else happens at the festival — sounds terrific. Espen writes:
Hi being a regular reader of your site, and since your article about the pdpod a while back inspired me to use my old ipod for this project – I thought you might be interested to check it out. A preview video of a custom built musical instrument by Espen Sommer Eide, artist and member of Alog and Phonophani. The SlÃ¥ttberg will premiere at the Borealis Festival for contemporary music Bergen, Norway late february 2008.
Alog, by the way, is the acclaimed duo of which Espen is one half. And anyone who makes use of Duck-Rabbits (the “famous gestalt psychological figure representing both a duck and a rabbit depending upon the point of view”) wins still more bonus points.