Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Car Music Project (aka Recycling at its Finest)


When Bill Milbrodt's car, a 1982 Honda Accord, was on its last legs back in 1991, it had about 200,000 miles on it. Had Bill wanted to repair it, it would have cost much more than it was worth, and had he wanted to trade it in, well, no one would have wanted it anyway. But rather than scrap it, Bill decided to be environmentally responsible. Bill decided to turn the car into music.

He had the car dismantles and, with the help of metal sculpter, Ray Faunce, spent the nest 18 months creating brand new instruments out of old car parts. And boy, you should get a load of these musical wonders. There's the exhaustaphone, and strutbone (constructed from the struts, shifter linkage and exhaust system and played like -get this- the trombone), accompanied by percarsion, which consists of a fifteen-foot diameter circle of racks from which springs, gears, windows, pistons, etc. hang (in total, it's about 55 percussion instruments). In addition, these are drums made from wheels and cymbals made from floorboards. There's the tank bass, made from the gas tank, and the "air guitar" made from the air cleaner and brake calipers. It looks like a banjo without frets.

With awesome instruments in tow, Bill formed a band he called the Car Music Project, and the group has gone on to wow critics with their avant-garde resourcefulness. Likened to Frank Zappa and other experimental superstars, the group is composed of talented musicians, the likes of which have played before with John Cage himself. And really, what's not to love? They had me at recycling.

You can find out more and hear a sampling at www.carmusicproject.com/