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Thomas Truax + The Kitchen Cynics + Flaxman @ The Tunnels, 10th May

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interesting music promotions present


Monday 10th May 2010

The Tunnels, Carnegies Brae, Aberdeen, AB10 1BF. Phone (01224) 211121

Doors 8pm

Entry 6 on door



International legend. You all know him already but just in case

Thomas Truax (pronounced troo-aks) travels the world singing into a contraption he invented called 'The Hornicator'. Constructed on the shell of a junk gramophone horn it resembles something that might have been dreamt up by Dr. Seuss. He taps out live rhythm loops, plucks assorted strings, springs and attached noisemakers, building a backdrop of layered hypnotic sounds on top of which come some of the most striking stories about clones, butterflies, dogs, technology, loneliness, and other beautiful and sad things. Splendid magazine called him "...an exceptional talent, unique and resistant to comparison, yet fairly accessible even to casual listeners."

Born an illigitimate son of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, as a young man Thomas attempted to build a synthesizer out of an old radio. He put on magic shows and made stop-motion animated films with a Super 8 camera. He has done mandatory day-job time as an animator on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch and Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken. Time travelling with the Toby Tyler Circus inspired him towards a career in show business. His acclaimed rock noir trio Like Wow toured and released several CDs, but Thomas grew frustrated with a seemingly endless line of drummers with strange misconceptions of rehearsal times. He finally decided to build his own motorized mechanical drummer and 'go solo'.

'Sister Spinster' is a variable speed, proudly pre-digital 'Flintstones-era drum machine' that features spoked wheels and percussive parts which can be readjusted between songs to create different rhythms. Newer instruments include The Stringaling, Mother Superior, and the Backbeater, a rhythm wheel made to be worn on the back, which Thomas promises will eventually also double as a mechanism for flight. He has no engineering background and while constructing these inventions has repeatedly subjected himself to inadvertent electrical shocks which he claims have stimulated his creativity and expanded his vocal range.

"Inventive and Romantic" (TimeOut)

"Beguilingly Bizarre" (Uncut)

"Genius" (NME)



Local legend

Making the first of what we hope will be many retirement comebacks, eat your heart out Frank. You all know him, you all love him. Youll all want to be at every comeback show.



Local legends in the making

Flaxman are: Vocalist - Flaxman. Guitar - Mr Jack. Fiddle - Paul Connolly.

Flaxman's music is influenced by a broad spectrum of music. It has a strong Scottish and north-east roots balanced with modern influences from a variety of rock, country and folk artists. Their songs are emotive and deal with the love, loss, longing and despair viewed through the eyes of Flaxman, a damaged soul, and a bandit not seeking redemption.


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Sounds like a good gig.

it will be & Thomas Truax has a new toy to show off

"go-crazy-in-the-studio creations that I wouldn't even try to replicate live. It features special guests and a new instrument called the Scary Aerial that will be making it's touring debut this month in the UK" :up::up:

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it will be & Thomas Truax has a new toy to show off

"go-crazy-in-the-studio creations that I wouldn't even try to replicate live. It features special guests and a new instrument called the Scary Aerial that will be making it's touring debut this month in the UK" :up::up:

Hey, what's that sound: Thomas Truax's homemade instrumentsMeet Mother Superior, Cadillac Beatspinner and the Hornicator the strange and amazing children of Thomas Truax

(24)Tweet this (9)David McNamee guardian.co.uk, Monday 22 March 2010 17.05 GMT Article history

'It really wanted to be born' ... Thomas Truax and his Hornicator.

What are they? Thomas Truax is a London-based troubadour, inventor and animator, whose origins lie in the New York antifolk scene. His gigs around the capital are legendary for the eccentricities of Truax's erratic "bandmates": homemade, noise-making machines with fabulous names and their own strange personalities and mythologies.

How do they work? Mother Superior, Sister Spinster and the Cadillac Beatspinner are the drummers made out of hub caps, motors, built-in microphones and mixers, with various mallets hitting drum skins, trumpet horns and cymbals as they rotate on a bicycle wheel. A portable rhythm machine comes in the form of the back-mounted Backbeater. The Stringaling is a bongo drum and a length of tumble dryer tubing that can be sang into or stretched, and is fitted with various pull-string gadgets from children's toys, a slide whistle and parts from music boxes. Perhaps the most famous, the Hornicator is a junk-shop gramophone horn, fitted with microphones, springs, guitar strings and kazoos, that acts both as a deep, reverby microphone and a sort of surreal, absurdist harp. "The Hornicator seemed like it really wanted to be born," says Thomas. "I just had to help it along."

Where do they come from? "I had a lot of frustration trying to get people together for rehearsals, and when it came to tour planning on zero budget, it became a nightmare," says Truax. "At one point, I thought, 'Screw this if I can't depend on anybody, I'll do it myself. I'll build my own drummer.' Mother Superior is like some of the drummers I've worked with: demanding and hungry. Still, we get along all right. She doesn't snore, or fart in the car."

Why are they classic? Truax designs and builds the machines himself some of which struggle to play any part the same way twice giving his live shows and records a totally unique charm and a sound that is physically impossible to imitate. "I do feel that if something comes from you from the beginning, if you give birth to it with your own hands, then it can't help but be more true to your own personality than something someone else made. Like your own child, even if it's defective or stupid you're still going to love and care for it and try and help it succeed more than anyone else would, and I think that shows."

What's the best Thomas Truax song? Why Dogs Howl at the Moon is a perennial live favourite, and makes good use of his beautiful Caractacus Potts-esque contraptions.

Five facts and things: a chat with Thomas Truax

Thomas refuses to name a favourite or least favourite invention: "They're like my children, and we have to work together, so it wouldn't be wise of me to choose a favourite and risk resentment from the others. A sad case, though, was Mary Poppins, another percussion contraption that had arms that would lift when she spun by centrifugal force (in the blur appearing somewhat like an expanded umbrella thus the name) and then play a rhythm against a motorcycle headlamp and a playing card. I was proud of it, but, unfortunately, a wobbly stage or even a breeze could throw off her rhythm and screw up the song. That happened every other night, so eventually I had to put her away."

Thomas has no previous engineering experience: "I went to film school in New York and I worked as a set builder and then a stop-frame animator for MTV. That had an impact, thinking about motion and rhythm and the mechanics of creating those illusions. Aside from that, it's trial and error, mostly, and if you could see all the failed experiments I started on, you'd have a good laugh."

The next addition to the family? The soon-to-be-complete Scary Aerial: "It's built out of one of those old TV aerials. I was looking out at the rooftops one night and I suddenly thought: 'Look at all those frets! They should have strings on 'em!'"

He doesn't build his instruments with any particular idea about musical theory in mind: "The Hornicator, for example, has some frets, but the scale that resulted is not only much more limited than an average instrument (it's got about four notes) but it's not 'correct' as far as a western 12-note scale would be. So it's not likely that I'm going to consciously or unconsciously rip off a riff from a Beatles tune, for example. It makes it easier to be original. A lot of both the instruments and the songs I develop from them are based on limitations and happy accidents. The sounds are often lo-fi and ugly but that keeps it kinda punk."

Thomas' favourite instrument that he didn't invent himself? "Human voice. So much easier to transport and keep properly lubricated."

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