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The Marble Machine is taking over the world to the sound of marbles

Marble Machine Martin Molin Wintergatan sound identity blog

You need to be a very special kind of person to spend 14 months of your life building a Marble Machine and that is exactly how we might define Martin Molin, who got the project for this prodigious machine underway.

Martin, founder and one of four members of Swedish band Wintergatan, defines himself an “an addict to the psychological state of flow”. The band, started in 2012, had various plans to construct musical instruments on the go, but from November 2014 it concentrated its efforts on a visionary project to construct a programmable Marble Machine.

Marble Machine Martin Molin Wintergatan sound identity blog

Martin Molin, Marble Machine work in progress. Photo: Samuel Westergren

The idea came to Martin after visiting a museum of mechanical instruments in the city of Utrecht, Holland. Then he came across Matthias Wandel’s carpentry channel on Youtube and his vision became clear. Martin had planned for two months of work; it took 14. He used approximately 3.000 screws, 500 lego parts and a whole 2.000 marbles.

The construction itself was a process of trial and error: a basic sketch with 3D software to obtain the basic dimensions followed by improvisation. In the end, he managed to incorporate various instruments into the machine: kick drum, snare drum, hi-hat, sizzle cymbal, electric bass and a vibraphone.

The music produced by the Marble Machine was designed to showcase the different functions of the instrument’s ingenious mechanism and produce a memorable melody that was a mix of cheerful and solemn.

This artisanal instrument, a blend of madness and vision, was videoed and uploaded to YouTube where it clocked up over 10 million views in just its first three days online. Now it’s made its online debut, the next step will be to take it on tour around the world. Are you ready?


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