Ponytrap is cellist Hilary Thomas-Oliver, her husband Quentin on viola and several different automatic drumming robots.
They produce brilliant pieces of music with powerful string work, reminiscent of the ambient orchestral work performed by groups like Explosions in the Sky and My Education, except that instead of producing tracks digitally Ponytrap performs their sets by hand (and motor).
The robots themselves aren’t drum kits per se, but are instead motorized drumsticks that beat on attached drums. Maybe most impressive is the fact that the robots need not be prerecorded — the human members write whatever music they plan to perform, feed the music into the machine and the robot plays accordingly.
This marvel of modern machinery coupled with the skilled performances of the flesh and blood musicians present coalesces into a powerful and moving performance. They’ll be showcasing this synergy of man and machine at San Antonio’s Mini Maker Faire, Saturday, Mar. 26, if you’re willing to make the drive. If you can’t see them live, you still have the privilege of viewing some of their music videos, most often filmed in grainy black & white.
(Photo credit for the above image goes to Mitch McCarthy.)