Perfect Beat, Vol 17, No 1 (2016)

Robin Ryan in conversation with Mark Cain: Kernels of Discovery: Original musical instruments and acoustic sound designs

Robin Ann Ryan, Mark Bradley Cain
Issued Date: 6 Jun 2016


In contributing to the practice and production of Perth’s vibrant music scene since the 1980s, the Western Australian musician, inventor and instrument-maker Mark Cain (b. 1955) has remained true to a non-commercial instinct to construct wind instruments from discarded PVC piping and, more recently, glove pipes, compressed-air panpipes and bottle reedpipes. In dialogue with Robin Ryan, Cain demystifies the cul-de-sacs and tangents associated with the design and manufacture of instruments and sound gardens made from the simplest of natural and recycled materials. Futuristically, his largely whimsical creations prefigure a musical soundscape that will increasingly depend on locally made, sustainable instruments. In providing common ground for discursive mediation between performance-based and research-based constructs of environment, this conversation strengthens Appadurai’s (1986) notion that ‘Instruments are social things with histories and careers … not what they are made to be, but what they become as they circulate and mutate’.

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DOI: 10.1558/prbt.v17i1.27004


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