George Antheil included the roar of airplane propellers in his Ballet Mécanique.
In György Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique, 100 Metronomes are set off for around 20 fascinating minutes of multi-layered, clacking interaction.
One of least successful (musically) but more humorous adventures of mechanics in music is Malcolm Arnold’s A Grand, Grand Festival Overture – which calls for the periodic intervention of a small fleet vacuum cleaners and floor polishers.
There are a lot of examples of composers trying to interpret the machines, technology and invention of the world around them into a musical language. That makes the new OK Go video far from unprecedented. And yet, I know you have never experienced anything like this. The extra musical dimension here is visual.
I could tell you that wrecked cars, empty bottles, balls, dominos, paint guns and umbrellas all play a part in OK Go’s new song, This Too Shall Pass. But you won’t believe what you’re hearing until you see it: