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Artist of the Week: Wintergatan. The rise of the machines.


Wintergatan is a Swedish experimental pop project which utilizes a large variety of instruments, including home made ones. The band is helmed by artist Martin Molin. Let's go back a little bit to really understand the starting of Wintergatan. Martin Molin originally was in band known as Detektivbyrån ("The Detective Agency") with his brother Anders Molin. Detektivbyrån also was a somewhat experimental sounding band, utilizing instruments such a theremin and toy pianos. Detek formed in 2005, in 2008 they released their first album, "Wermland" which recieved critical praise and earned the band two nominations from the Grammis, which is the Swedish version of the Grammys.

In 2009 the band contributed the soundtrack for the Luke Wilson film Tenure. At the time the band had been working on a new album, unfortunately that album never saw release as in 2010 they announced they would no longer be performing together under that name.

Which brings us to 2012, when Martin announced that his new band would be releasing an album. Wintergartan features one of the members of Detek, surprisingly it is not Anders Molin, but rather percussionist Marc Sjöberg. 2013 saw the release of their self titled album, "Wintergatan."

From 2014 onward Martin showed the band constructing what would become "The Marble Machine", a type of music box that you turn a crank and it plays music via dropped ball bearings onto various instruments. The band has also had several other unique instruments or utilized repurposed sounds such as a slide projector or a typewriter to create parts of their music. The Marble Machine video was their breakout hit, the video has reached over 28million views since it's February 2016 release on youtube. The bands custom made instruments have, so far, all incorporated Legos, a product of their fellow Scandinavian country, Denmark.

Martin said in an interview with makery.info that the interest in the idea, as well as how he created it, started when he was watching videos by Matthias Wandel.


Their youtube page features many behind the scenes videos you might be interested in checking out.

There are plans to make a more portable version of the instrument which they can take on the road and use on stage. Interestingly, they actually still do a live version of the song and have a fairly unique concept of how to deal with the lack of the machine. Part of the song is actually the winding of the gear and how it slowly builds up speed, that is an intentional sound. So what the band does is, during the start of the song, before the drums or xylaphone kick in, the drummer will rub a brush along one of the drums to simulate the sound of the gear winding up. It's pretty cool.

I really think that the band's sound would lend itself well to videogame music if someone approached them. How cool would it be if they did a cover of some of the Marble Madness soundtrack?

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About Khalid Eternal Nighone of us since 12:52 AM on 06.15.2015

Every time I think I know what I'm doing with my life, I forget.