Saturday, March 29, 2008


INVISIBLE is an experimental band hailing from Greensboro, NC that aims to explore new sounds and techniques for finding them. Through some elaborate homemade instruments and an unusual style of composition, Invisible settles into one sonic comfort zone only briefly before packing up and moving on to the next. The band was formed in 2006 and currently consists of Jonathan Henderson, Mark Dixon and Bart Trotman.  Electronic noise man Dan Kaufman was a founding member, but has since moved to Chicago ( and for a while professional typist Jodi Staley played the Selectric Piano. (see below)

Mark, who for the most part plays bass, recently had his 15 minutes of fame with the online popularity of his "Safetybike" video.  The safetybike was an experiment captured on video in the late 90s, and since then Mark has not stopped creating (inventing!?) mechanical wonders of the mind. In 2007, Mark and co-genius Fred Snider created an adapter to allow an IBM Selectric typewriter to play a piano or keyboard.  Each letter signals a note—44 keys on the typewriter (counting 2x each, thanks to the shift button) = 88 keys on a piano or keyboard. For the performances; a tiny camera is mounted on the typewriter, so the image of the page is being projected on a screen above the band.  This way the audience not only hears the notes but can read what's being typed.  The first experiments with the adapter used an actual stand up piano: a game of  "20 Questions" and a cover of "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads.   

The typewriter/piano contraption is only one of Invisible's arsenal.  Mark has also created an analog drum machine that works on a similar principle of an old-timey music box—a wheel with pins.  The entire drum machine could easily fill a small room with all of it's various percussion instruments attached; a bass drum, xylophones, cymbals, low toms, and even a plastic cup.  

As amazing (and heavy) as Mark's creations are, Invisible has also spent a lot of focus playing more traditional instruments writing and rocking a diverse variety of experimental music stylings.  From slow sludgey metal inspired downmashes, to electro hip-hop beats, to spazzy dance freakouts, to crunchwaves of effected 80s consumer synth/keys. 

for show listings and streaming songs:

1 comment:

guidedbyVOIP said...

Hey Bart. Nice little write-up. I enjoyed the videos of your work from Khang (I think he's my neighbor, actually). Looking forward to the next show. -Jon