Jeff Mangum Composes Score for Apples in Stereo Frontman Schneider's Mind-Controlled Instrument
But will we ever get to hear it?
Back in September, we reported the (literally) mind-boggling news that Apples in Stereo frontman Robert Schneider had invented a new instrument, the Teletron, that you basically play with your mind. (Or, in Schneider's own words, it's "a circuit-bent Mattel MindFlex toy that enables you to play a Moog synthesizer by varying your thoughts.") Last week, Schneider debuted an original Teletron composition written by Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind and notable recluse Jeff Mangum. (Thanks to James Hindle for the tip.)
In a statement, Schneider explained that he and noise musician Robert Beatty (Hair Police, Three Legged Race, Ulysses) performed Mangum's Teletron piece with Duke University's Dr. Marc Sommer during Dr. Sommer's neuroscience class last week. "Jeff has been generating collage art and experimental music since we were teenagers, so he was a natural composer for the Teletron," Schneider said. So, how exactly does one go about composing music for something like the Teletron? We'll let Schneider take this one over:
"A Teletron score is a collage-like sequence of opposing pages, where the right page speaks to the left side of the brain, which is more logical, and the left page speaks to the right brain, the intuitive side. Two opposing images are to be understood by the reader as a single thought or statement. The images are also projected for the audience to view. The melody played by the synthesizers is completely based on the conductor's thoughts, while Robert and I adjust the Moog filters to taste, each of us playing the role of one side of the brain and reading only one side of the score. Finally, the synthesizers are sent through stereo speakers set up to feed the sounds to corresponding hemispheres of the listeners' brains."