How many uses do you have for a marble? 2? Maybe 5 if you are lucky? I bet you would never think that a marble could make a 4 minute long song. Martin "MacGyver"Molin did just that.
Molin is a Swedish electronica musician who was previously part of a band called Detektivbyrån, who won 2 Grammis awards (the Swedish equivalent of an American Grammy) as well as many other awards for their accomplishments. However, when the band broke up in 2010, Molin started working on a new project: a musical machine.
He wanted to challenge himself by trying to find a new way to mix technology with music. He states in an interview with Wired that he stumbled across the marble machine subculture and wanted to put a new spin on it. When he first had the idea, he thought," Marble machines always make music, but [he] was thinking maybe . . . that it doesn't make chaos, but is actually controllable in the sounds it make." After 14 months and 2,000 marbles later, he finally finished it: the Wintergatan Marble Machine.
The video gained attraction and has over 38 million views. The machine has 6 different instrument: the vibraphone, bass guitar, cymbals, kick drum, high hat, and a snare drum. All it needs in order to play all of those instruments is one person turning the wheel. The song that the machine plays was originally composed on the piano and then Molin pieced each part of his machine to fit that tune.
All the parts of the machine were crafted by hand. He drew up the plans and cut every single part for the machine. He drew out each part of the machine and then made each piece by wood. It was a very tedious process and it was a "trial, error and failure method", Molin describes. He is currently on tour with the Wintergatan Marble Machine as well as his other new musical contraption; the music box. He knows that this machine is not perfect at the moment and he knows that he eventually has to fix it, but right now "all [he] wants to do is make music".
Molin's experience in creating the Wintergatan Marble Machine reminded me of Guildford's Alternative Uses Task. Instead of "how many uses can you think of for a brick?" it is now "how many uses can you think of for a marble?" (or in his case, 2,000 marbles). He exhibits divergent thinking, which is essential for creativity. Being a Pro-C creative helped his creative process as well. He was an established electronic musician before he created the machine and he used this past knowledge in order to know which instruments needed to be added and how to arrange the music for the machine.
It is only with the help of his past experience that he was able to create such an extraordinary and unique musical instrument.