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Hacked instrument set saves musician’s concerts

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Most of the horror stories you hear about air travel seem to focus on baggage. Airlines do an admirable job of getting people safely to their destinations, but checked baggage is a bit of a crapshoot – it could be there when you land, it could end up taking the scenic route, or it could just be. disappear. It’s bad enough when it contains your clothes, but when it contains your livelihood? Talk about stress!

It was the position of the musician [Nicolas Bras] found himself after a recent trip. [Nicolas] was heading for a concert, but thanks to Brussels Airlines his collection of musical instruments went elsewhere. There was nothing he could do to save that night’s concert, but he had to think about future engagements. Fortunately, [Nicolas] specializes in DIY musical instruments, made mostly with PVC tubing and salvaged parts from commercial instruments, so the solution to their problem was entirely in their hands.

Just warning to musical instrument lovers – harvesting the neck of a broken ukelele is a pretty horrible thing. Attached to a piece of pallet wood and fitted with piezo pickups, the neck has become part of a weird yet fascinating hybrid string instrument. Next came a selection of improvised wind instruments, made from PVC pipe and sounding just as amazing; we particularly liked the chromojara bass, a kind of flute with a didgeridoo sound. The bike pump beatbox was a genius too, and really showed that the music was less about the whimsy of your gear and more about the desire – and talent – to do it with whatever came across at your fingertips.

Here is hoping that [Nicolas] is eventually reunited with his gear, but hats off to him while waiting for hacking some replacements. And if he sounds familiar to us, it’s because we’ve seen some of his works before, like his friendly nail violin and his “Popcorn” played on PVC pipes.