Ditch backing tracks, make machine

Vuvuvultures’ music is very much a combination of experimenting with sound in the studio, and the live energy of writing and performing an actual song. As a result we always found playing live to be a bit of a challenge as in order to incorporate the sounds we had made in the studio we tended to have to use a backing track.

This got boring very quickly and started to suck the life out of the songs and us as we performed them live with limited freedom as a result of click and the track always being exactly the same every time it was performed.

Thus “The Appliance of Science” was born! Essentially version 1.0 is a combination of several effects pedals, two mixing desks creating a feedback loop, an iPad as a sampler, a kalimba with a contact mic on it, a stylophone and a drum machine.

A lot of this was lying around our studio, or donated from loving friends. We stuck it all in a suitcase and now we have a touring MACHINE with which we can sample and create similar sounds to what we would have whilst writing the songs in the studio - live. Plus, we also have the freedom to play songs as fast or as slow as we want and not be locked into any particular framework.

One of the biggest performance enhancements was the addition of a simple volume pedal. This allows us to set sounds up on the appliance and then fade them in and out while doing other stuff, like playing guitars, singing etc.


The Appliance is more of an idea that we will keep adding to than the sum of its parts. We’ve never had much money to invest into music gear, so from day 1 we’ve just used whatever we can get our hands on. Typically one of these parts on their own ranges from crap to ok, or to pretty good but once you put them all together you can create some pretty interesting sounds.

Nothing effects wise was selected specifically out of choice except the Metal Zone and the Digitech Whammy.

Although we did know we wanted a feedback loop, delay of some kind, pitching and octaves, something we could play notes with, sampler, beat maker and lots and lots of distortion. One missing piece of the Appliance for us at the moment is a lack of a decent reverb unit. Also the Headrush is alright for now, but a more intuitive delay / sampler unit would be way better.

Kalimba with a mic taped to it
Alesis SR-16 drum machine
Digitech Whammy Pedal
Akai Headrush E2
Boss Metal Zone MT-2
iPad running Animoog and iMaschine
Danelectro Chili Dog
Behringer xenyx802
Behringer xenyx502
Volume Pedal
Casio PT-1