April 26, 2004

The First Viennese Vegetable Orchestra
(Originally aired 1st Sept 2003)

Back in 1997, a group of egghead wags at the Vienna-based Institute of Transacoustic Research came up with one of the more-inspired ideas in recent avant-music history... An orchestra in which every instrument is a vegetable.

After a bit of experimentation, they came up with a whole larder full of playable produce. Some of the veges, like the gurkophone (pictured), were hollowed-out and perforated to form woodwind-type instruments; others were contact-miked then either drummed, rubbed together, or simply sliced and diced. The instruments would be assembled fresh before each Vegetable Orchestra concert then, at the end of the gig, turned into a tasty soup and served to the audience.

To date, there are two Viennese Vegetable Orchestra CDs available through their website (along with mp3s). Of these, the pick is probably their more recent effort, Automate, on which they attempt (surprisingly successfully) to replicate a variety of styles of electronic music. (There's even a Kraftwerk cover in there.) But the rawer and more diverse first CD, Gemise, is still worth getting. (If only because it has actual beans embedded in the case so you can shake along with your favourite track.)

Posted by Warren at April 26, 2004 10:45 PM | Electronica