Diego Stocco: DIY Musical Machines
By James Grahame
Diego Stocco is a composer and sound designer who's not afraid to incinerate a piano to get a few good sound samples. He's also a prolific instrument designer, although you're unlikely to find his crazy contraptions in any orchestra.
My favorite is the TypoSonic - a custom built musical typewriter. He tells us, "I made this instrument by taking apart parts of an old typewriter and then adding a new mechanism, bass strings and mechanics and a sound board." Needless to say, it looks and sounds wicked.
The Burning Piano is also strikingly impressive, especially since few of us would have the nerve to do something so destructively creative. "I set the piano on fire and sampled it," he explains mischievously. If you're after something a tad less dangerous, the Bedside Table Bass - crafted from a 1960s vintage night table - has a hauntingly beautiful tone. His other designs include a musical clothes drying rack and the Sonic Washer - the result of an unholy union between an electric guitar and a washing machine.
When he's not designing whimsical musical instruments, Stocco serves as Director of Sound for Epic Score, a Los Angeles-based music production company. His sound design credits include work for Nokia, BMW, Samsung, Panasonic and General Motors. And - as if he wasn't busy enough - Stocco is one of the creative geniuses behind Spectrasonics' Omnisphere virtual instrument software, which he presented earlier this month at the AES show in San Francisco.