Tesla coils sing the Doctor Who theme in orgy of electric awesomesauce


40 Responses to “Tesla coils sing the Doctor Who theme in orgy of electric awesomesauce”

  1. the Other michael says:

    I wonder what Grainger, Derbyshire, and the Barrons* would think!

    *yes, I KNOW. But, still.

  2. plasmator says:

    @22 – slithybrilig – yeah, they hang fluorescent tubes from a scaffolding in some of their shows. Hella cool to watch them glow. PS – your name rocks.

    @17 – the other michael – Yeah, the dude on stilts is the same one who’s wearing the Faraday suit in the video I posted above. He’s also sat/danced on top of the scaffolding during shows, which can be pretty terrifying to watch.

    @21 – noen – I forwarded them a link to the boingboing post, so they may come in and correct the record a bit, but I believe all sound you’re hearing is robots. Robotic midi-controlled drumset, a PVC pipe organ that’s robotic, and the Tesla Coils singing themselves. There might be additional sound being generated from something else, but I think it’s all being played “live” – ie: I don’t think there’s any recorded music being played along with this.

  3. dielucky says:

    I have seen them four times. Year before last Maker’s Faire, Austin, This year at Maker’s, and at Flipside. Truly the greatest.

  4. Phikus says:

    I got to see some of these in action in person at an art exhibit. Truly frankencool.

  5. Godfree says:

    Why, yes, that IS just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

  6. Ugly Canuck says:

    Darn those stiltwalkers, always getting in the way….

  7. Brother Provisional says:

    I can’t say that I care for the accompaniment, but otherwise yes, this is completely awesome.

    Do they play requests? If so, “The Model” by Kraftwerk. Pretty please.

  8. nimrodpower says:

    Delia’d be awesomely happy if she’d still be alive to witness :)

  9. Palilay says:

    Don’t know about the poor sound quality and cheezy backing track though. This is far more visceral :
    (Nothing is officially a musical instrument until someone has used it to play “popcorn”. ;) )

  10. Anonymous says:

    so they played music and had teslas doing arcs. i don’t see them as ‘singing’ or creating the music in anyway though. yay?

  11. noen says:

    Yeah, I see they have the drumset (from their website) over on the left. They should have a Dalek giving off sparks in the middle or else being the ground for the coils. That would just about complete it.

  12. jgstewart says:

    Japanese experimental guitarist Merce Death does something similar with, um, guitar. Lots of videos on his web site.


  13. RevRalf23 says:

    I saw these guys at Flipside as well (they were set up right next to the noise camp where I was stationed). First time I’d seen anything like it. They played Dr.Who, Zelda, and a bunch of other cool stuff. They also had an automated drum set for some of the performances. And they had this giant tiki throne with these tubes of neon hanging off that would glow when sparks from the coils touched them. Excellent neighbors, just as good as the guy with the propane fueled pipe organ that was camped a few tents from me during Flipside 2007.

  14. Jake Bullet says:

    I think “awesomesauce” is my new favorite word.

  15. Parsec says:

    This is Parsec from Arcattack (the guy on the stilts with the mic). I would like to thank you all for the awesome comments!

  16. hassan-i-sabbah says:


  17. mrsomuch says:

    why are they sitting down! why are the lights on! what’s wrong with these people! seriously? what?

    super brilliant ace.

    +1 vote for ‘awesomesauce’

  18. LambdaCalculus379 says:

    Holy freaking crap, that was amazing! I loved the remix that they did!

  19. Jugglepunk says:

    “Is that just about the coolest thing you have ever seen, or what?”

    Yes, yes, yes, oh god yes. I think I just made a big sciency mess in my trousers.

  20. plasmator says:

    I know a couple of those guys. They just tested a new faraday suit too. Their performances are only getting cooler.

    Here’s a first test of the Faraday suit, using the Imperial March:

    Any time you hear drums, that’s probably a midi controlled robotic drumset.

    Fun geekery abounds.

  21. Auto Parts for Brains says:

    I want one. :P Brings back the days when I would spend minutes just looking into how electric currents like the ones in the video stick to my hands in a plasma ball. Sigh.

  22. adamrice says:

    I would like to imagine that Delia Derbyshire is gazing down from heaven, and smiling.

  23. crenelle says:

    These folks look like they’re friends of Steve West and Jeff Larson. Steve built the first zeusaphone a while ago, Youtube has a number of zeusaphone performances, usually at science fiction conventions, and usually outdoors too.

  24. Ugly Canuck says:

    Thanx Plasmator I like that even better than the Dr.Who piece.
    Can that faraday suit be modded to look like Vader?
    That awesome truly would be.

  25. slithybrilig says:

    I love how, in Plasmator and Fett101′s video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJqoRaphiEk ), the arcs fluoresce the tube in the background.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I love the (unintended?) pun “it’s about time“.

  27. Boeotian says:


    That video is Amazing, thanks!

  28. Dano312 says:

    Shoulda been done with all the lights turned off and audience members given fluorescent tubes (aglow with Tesla energy, of course) to do battle with.

  29. Roy Trumbull says:

    Back in the 1970s a company in the San Jose area came across a novel effect. An ionized flame could be turned into a loudspeaker. I saw a demonstration. They did some research and found the effect had first been noted in the 1930s.
    If you go on the Space Mountain ride at Disneyland the high frequencies you hear are made by a ceramic transducer bonded to an aluminum plate.
    There are lots of ways to radiate sound.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Only a minor negative note: the drum machine pattern in this video ruins the music as it has a different time signature from the Doctor Who theme tune, both the original and the one in the video. The drum machine is in 4/4 while the tunes are in 3/4. My guess is that the tune comes from a midi file while the drum track was later added by some dance obsessed DJ.

  31. nanuq says:

    If the machines broke down, would they need a sonic screwdriver to fix them?

  32. Anonymous says:


    Smell the Ozone !

  33. the Other michael says:

    did anybody else get nervous when the metal-stilts-walker showed up?

  34. Bender says:

    @17 Other Michael

    Nervous? No. Hopeful? Yes.

  35. Fett101 says:

    @5 “so they played music and had teslas doing arcs. i don’t see them as ‘singing’ or creating the music in anyway though. yay?”

    The Telsa is making sounds, acting as an instrument. Try the following video where you can here the Tesla itself more clearly.

  36. mjc says:

    Reminds me of “Harmonic Voltage” from the first Animusic DVD.

  37. Anonymous says:

    They did Stigmata by Ministry at a campout with Parsec doing the vocals, it was the best version I’ve ever seen of that song. Jourgensen would have approved.

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