Tuesday, June 26, 2007

During his free time Dutchman Paul Panhuysen entertains himself by creating musical ensembles consisting of animals and gadgets, such as:

Then after getting these groups together he secretly records their jam sessions.

In my music I introduce both creatures and gadgets as independent and sometimes unpredictable musicians and fellow employees. I like to be surprised by the results of my productions.(P.H.)

Which brings us to the jumping beans. While strolling through the Zocalo market in Mexico City Mr. Panhuysen became so enthralled with the magical beans he hopped on a red-eye back to Eindhoven with a sack full of them. He tinkered patiently for weeks trying out various positions, techniques, and effects in order to maximize their musical potential.

For the first recording 16 jumping beans were placed in 8 containers made of various materials: reed, drumhead, bronze, plastic, enamelled iron, tin, aluminum, and wood. Clothes-pins were glued on piezo discs and used as contact microphones on each of the containers, which were placed on a sheet of soft foam plastic. The beans were activated by a halogen lamp over the table. The recording was made without electronic manipulation or human intervention.


For the next recording the beans were placed in the same fashion as before, but this time Panhuysen felt free to manipulate the volumes of the pickups. Finally Mr. P tossed the beans into 8 freshly-emptied wine glasses of different shapes and sizes and gave 'em a go. This recording was also made sans human intervention and manipulation. The highlight, if you can make it that far, comes at 17:50 when a ringing telephone makes a surprise cameo.

"Paul this is Marja are you drinking again?!?"

In closing, one can't help but feel for the poor beans, completely unaware they are performing for the entire world to hear and judge. They might have asked for a second take. It also begs the obvious question: what if we humans are mere jumping beans hopping around in a container making music for a supercreature we cannot see?