Listen to this funky electromechanical lithophone

Jay Harrison shared this delightful lithophone cover of Vulfpeck's "It Gets Funkier III" at the Parabola Arts Centre as part of Cheltenham Music Festival.

Lithophones are at least as old as their wood counterpart the xylophone. I was reminded of their lovely sound after reading about how mysterious tools found in the Colorado desert ten years ago have just been correctly identified as lithophones:

The ancient people who lived near the Great Sand Dunes crafted their lithophones out of dense, often volcanic, rock to get the best sound. The stones have different sizes, which gives them different tones and pitches. Each one has a pair of dead spots where you can hold them so they resonate.

One of the most exciting things about the discovery for Martorano is what these stones tell us about the lives of ancient people. We often see evidence of where Native Americans lived centuries ago, or how they hunted or ate. We know far less about their music.

"To me, at least today, things that make life meaningful include the arts, include music," she said. "And so it makes sense to me that that was important in the past as well."

Back to Jay's more modern version, here's a Paul Simon cover:

And a short snippet of Radiohead:

VULFPECK /// It Gets Funkier III /// Electromechanical Lithophone (YouTube / Jay Harrison)