Hi there. Roberto here again. It’s been a while since our last post, but we are really excited about this new one. Las week we where flabbergasted by The Amazing Marble Machine from Wintergatan. A musical, design and engineering marvel, that looks like something out of a Michel Gondry movie, or what Leonardo Da Vinci would have played if he had been a DJ.

Wintergatan, "The Milky Way”, is a band from Göteborg, Sweden that mixes folk and electronica using traditional sounds and  instruments such as the glockenspiel, traktofon, or Theremin to create beautiful music that is both emotional and energetic. According to their website, the band consists of Martin Molin and Marcus Sjöberg (who previously fronted the band Detektivbyrån -detetive agency) together with Evelina Hägglund and David Zandén.


The Marble Machine is a wooden instrument designed and built by Molin, that combines a vibraphone, electronic drums, electric bass and cymbal. It's operated by an intricate mechanism of levers, wheels, gears (even Lego Technics pieces) and belts that transport thousands of marbles and moves them up and down to make the instruments play a song that the composer has previously programmed in the machine. "The marbles, you know, they behave like water. The nature of water is that it just breaks through everything. After 100,000 years it can make a hole in stone. The marbles act like that.” commented Molin in a WIRED UK interview.


The project took months (years, actually) of incredibly detailed design and construction and each step was beautifully documented on video. Binge-watch all the prologues and you’ll be amazed at Molin’s skills and craftsmanship as well as his musicianship. The Marble Machine reminded me of works like Tim Hawkinson’s uber organ in that awe-inspiring cleverness that make it equal parts music box and sculpture. It mixes the basic concept of a player piano with a Rube Golberg machine and turns it into a sophisticated magical instrument. It’s inaugural song, performed with the help of 2,000 marbles, is a perfect manifestation of the machine’s possibilities and a showcase of it’s creator’s original talent. We can’t wait for the next song to come out of it.

Post by Roberto Fonfria