The Eclectic Instruments of Electric Western

The brainchild of Lorin Edwin Parker and his wife Sarah Seeling, Electric Western is “Dedicated to the creative use of technology from tubes to germanium & steam to solar.” Saving the world from flat digital sound and pretentious audiophilia.” Thus far, their eclectic inventions – all entirely hand-built – include a steam-powered synthesizer, a fully vintage re-creation of Leon Theremin’s original 1919 Theremin, and such unclassifiable oddities as the ElectroSparklavier, an instrument in which “sound is generated by the ionization of gases within the neon bulbs and thyratron tubes and mixed in various computer triodes.”

In addition to creating Electric Western, Mr. Parker (born, according to his website, in “1877, Idledale Colorado”) is a musician and audio engineer who currently teaches sound design at the Art Institute of California in Los Angeles. He is also a noted Proponent of the Moustachio, and the creator of an interactive drag-and-drop mustache game. Mr. Parker describes the unifying vision behind all these pursuits thusly:

Parker’s aesthetic is an anachronistic confluence of the cultural and technological past, present and future. He draws extensively from Victorian and Edwardian culture and design, blending his historical tilt to re-contextualize modern technology and arts. … 21st century art should be progressive, fun, accessible, even humorous. My art is not meant to be selective or exclusive — it is viable conceptually and as pure entertainment.

Current Electric Western projects include research into the ionic acoustics of plasma, chemo-electric synthesis and ion energy exchanges, further historical instrument reproductions (Ondes Martenot, Trautonium) and a DIY electric car conversion. Excelsior!

Aaron Muszalski
Aaron Muszalski