Prog 57: Fad Gadgets

Electro-Magnetic Harp

So you’re composing an opera where one of the characters is an electricity pylon, rumbling away discontentedly at 50Hz. What on earth do you do? Well, British composer Emily Hall decided to commission a couple of instrument designers, David Sheppard and Jonathan Green, to build an electro-magnetic harp for her new work, Folie à Deux. Each harp string has been fitted with a transducer; these are controlled by remote keyboards and faders to produce sustained, ghostly hums instead of the customary angelic swirls and glissandi. ** **

Sound Torch

All bluetooth speakers are alike unless one is fitted with a pyroboard that ignites when the music comes on. Following in the tradition of Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimi Hendrix, the Danish-built Sound Torch can, according to the blurb, “turn your next house party into a blazing inferno of dance”. This is possibly the only audio gadget you’ll need to fill up with lighter fluid; just warn your guests in case they try to throw a drink over it.** **

Ruach Stompbox

Historically, solo musicians who want a bass drum accompaniment have had to strap one to their back and rely on levers and pulleys to repeatedly thwack the thing. This piece of ash, with a non-slip base and a ¼ inch jack socket, allows a guitarist to gently tap their foot and produce a round, solid thud to mark the pulse. It’s only £79 – and you can easily slip it in your bag to transport without sustaining a hernia. Double bonus! ** **

Rhodri Marsden