Centuries after barrel organs first appeared on the streets of Europe, we still have a fascination for mechanical devices that can play tunes. Artist Neil Mendoza recently built the Rock Band, where small pebbles hit metallic bars and percussion instruments to create a gorgeously plinky version of Here Comes The Sun. He’s even uploaded the instructions, so if you have a few solenoids, resistors, pebbles, and days to spare, why not give it a whirl?
If you’re the kind of person who feels that a musical experience isn’t real unless your head is wedged into the bass bin of a 50,000 watt PA, you might find this backpack diverting. Strap it on, and you’ll feel the bass frequencies of ambient music pulsating through your backbone. Turn it up, and you can experience the intensity of a defibrillator shock with a fraction of the worry. And, as if that wasn’t enough of a selling point, it also comes with a two litre hydration tank and drinking straw.
Guitars are annoyingly lengthy. They don’t fit in a suitcase, they’re classed as outsized objects when travelling on certain airlines, and if you try to fold them in half they break. To the rescue of the travelling musician comes Jammy,
a unit just over a foot long which extends, rather like a posh dining table. Almost miraculously, you suddenly have a guitar (albeit a weird looking guitar) with a full scale neck. It’s not likely to be an acceptable substitute for your much-loved vintage Strat, but it’s a neat party trick at the very least.