Part Shovel, Part Man, All Awesome
Melissa Tan · August 11th, 2009 · The Rumpus.net
After learning about the KGB orchestrated birth of the theremin and the beginning of electronic music as we now know it, I began to fear that all of humanity’s greatest moments of musical ingenuity may already be behind us. At least those with any sort of practical application (for a completely impractical but equally radical modern invention, check out the theremin’s cousin, drawdio).
That fear dissipated when a friend pointed me in the direction of one Isaac “Shovelman” Frankle.
Part shovel, part man (no, not really), Shovelman takes sonic ingenuity to a new level by a) playing a steel guitar made out of a giant shovel, and b) making really good music with it. Music that could still garner a following even if Frankle were merely Regularsteelguitarman.
Citing such obvious influences as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, and some less-then-obvious influences including Sun Ra, space ships, and moldy bread, Shovelman’s music sounds as at home in today’s metropolitan indie venues as it would have sixty years ago in the bayous of Louisiana. Don’t be fooled by the large landscaping tool he wields — Shovelman knows music.
Bottom line, oddity or not, Shovelman is just the kind of off-kilter kick in the pants modern music might need to keep things interesting. Who knows? Maybe he’ll inspire some of us to put down our high tech gadgetry and start looking at low-tech objects with a new sense of purpose.