The Stylophone, a ’60s-era electric musical instrument with a metal keyboard activated by stylus, has been reissued, this time with a line-out and two new sounds. Stylophones make sound from an oscillator wired to a resistor—the stylus completes the circuit. They’ve been used with some frequency in pop music over the years, according to L’Wikipeaudeax.
The Stylophone appears on a few commercial recordings, most notably David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and “Slip Away” and the commercial rave single “Stylophonia” by Two Little Boys in 1991. Kraftwerk used the Stylophone on the track “Pocket Calculator” from their album Computer World. The British duo Erasure also employed it on the single “Don’t Say Your Love Is Killing Me” (from the album Cowboy in 1997) as well as on their 2000 album “Loveboat”. In a lesser-known instance, the Stylophone is used for the bulk of Orbital’s single, “Style”. Marilyn Manson made use of it for “You and Me and the Devil Makes 3″. They Might Be Giants played the Stylophone in several of their songs, including a number on their 2007 album, The Else. Jon Spencer has used the Stylophone extensively on recordings with his band Blues Explosion, and has famously had problems bringing the device – described as “the world’s most annoying musical instrument” – through airport security.
UK gadget retailer Firebox is selling them now for £15, but haven’t brought them to their US division yet. Bummer.
Update: Firebox says they expect to have this in the US by the end of next month “if not sooner.”