Open Reel Ensemble will blow you away with their internationally acclaimed musical style.

Nowadays music is easy to come by; you can just download it from an online store, hit play, and voila! You have your favorite tunes, kept safe forever in your cloud. Back in the old days we had to go to the store to buy cassette tapes, which were somewhat more fragile. If you weren’t careful, you could accidentally unravel the tape and ruin your favorite album for good!

But some creative musicians realized that the magnetic tapes in cassette reels could be used for more than just recording and playing music. Japanese musical group Open Reel Orchestra discovered that you can make intriguing electronic-style music simply by manipulating magnetic tapes and reels. Who would’ve though that they could used for making music, too?

Open Reel Ensemble is currently made up of three members: Ei Wada, Haruka Yoshida, and Masaru Yoshida. The group formed in 2009, and have released three albums as well as books and DVDs.

Their unique music and creative performances have received international acclaim, earning them spots at big international music festivals like Sonar in Spain and Ars Electronica in Austria. They have even produced music for Paris Fashion Week for four seasons in a row!

▼ Their performances show exactly what they do to make their sounds, which makes for a very interesting concert experience.

Various methods of manipulating the tape produce different sounds, which the musicians put together to make music. Some methods involve pulling the tape out of the reel and letting it slide back in, some involve controlling the turn of the reels either by hand or with computers, and some use sticks on the tape like drumsticks to make a percussion beat. It’s almost like being a DJ, but with tapes, instead of records.

Making instruments using the loose tape and the reels seems to be their specialty. One of their signature instruments is a hand-carved bamboo stick attached to tape, which is used to control the reels and make a specific melody while looking like an enormous violin bow.

They’ve even invented a sort of accordion using tape reels!

The group is very creative, as much of what they produce is visually artistic as well as acoustic. They often use avant-garde art to advertise their upcoming shows and albums, like in this video, “Toki Ori Ori Nasu -Falling Records-“, which was meant to advertise Ei Wada’s solo performance.

Open Reel Ensemble is one of many groups who show that you can make music with anything, so long as it makes noise. If you know how to put together, say, the sounds of iPhone ringtones, or the clacking and dinging of spoons and cups, then you can make real masterpieces. It’s truly amazing what these creative and talented musicians can come up with!

Sources: Open Reel Ensemble Home PageYouTube/Open Reel Ensemble via Laughing Squid
Top image: YouTube/Open Reel Ensemble