It looks a little like something from Jules Verne, H.G. Wells or a steam punk fantasy novel. The octoplayer is a record player with eight turntables, a sculpture that plays music, sings songs, and tells stories, all at the same time. And the tale of how two people literally dreamed it up is every bit as surreal as the thing itself.
You can get a first-hand look on Wednesday, Oct. 3, when San Francisco artists Mark Taylor (whose day job is interactive producer for arts and culture for KQED) and Thad Povey show off the Octoplayer at Lucio Menegon’s “Hootenany Revival Night” as part of the Berkeley Arts Festival, at 8 p.m, 2133 University Ave., Berkeley. The Octoplayer from T Povey on Vimeo.
The project began in December 2010 when Taylor posted the following on Facebook, “Ugh. I keep having this dream where I am making this kinetic… multi-record player sculpture… and I keep f*****g it up! It’s bad enough to screw up art in real life, but can’t I succeed in my sleep?”
To which Povey replied, “Oh no — this is an ‘I kid you not’ moment. A few months ago, I dreamed of a multi-record kinetic sculpture! Even sketched it in my journal and called it the Wonder Tree. All the records were stacked on a common spindle up to the ceiling. Tonight, I’ll get my dream-lawyer to draw up a cease-and-desist order so you don’t steal my idea.”
Putting the disturbing premise of dream lawyers aside, the conversation continued on Facebook until Povey and Taylor decided to meet up and compare sketches.
Their dream machines looked exactly the same, so they began the long, slow process of making one real. The Octoplayer has a central revolving column with eight records stacked in a shape that resembles a spine, mounted on a pedestal that houses eight tone arms patched into a mixer. Their first compositions with the Octoplayer will be performed on Wednesday night in Berkeley.