Inspired by the intonarumori (noise-intoners) the Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo (b. 1883) invented, the Krachkisten or noise boxes used in the orchestra’s concerts are homemade analogue instruments enhanced with electronic components taken from dismantled children’s toys. The presentation in an exhibition space highlights the modernist-looking design of the boxes, lending them a sculptural appeal that complements their functionality. An inspriration for the visual aspect of the project is somehow Russolo’s influence for Piet Mondrian’s concept of music. A few months after hearing Russolo’s intonarumori, Mondrian turned his thoughts to music in an essay published in the Dutch art journal De Stijl. Here Mondrian extended his neoplastic aesthetic on the basis of a sound-color correspondence, conceiving of music as an essentially plastic art: “Tone like color is free of volume,” he wrote. “Thus music can immediately follow the lead of painting.” According to Mondrian, the fundamental duality of neoplastic music is the opposition of “tones” and “nontones” (or “determinate noises”), corresponding to the use of color and noncolor in painting. Mondrian proposed dividing tones and nontones into three types, corresponding to the three primary colors and the three “noncolors.” These tones and nontones are not timbres in the conventional sense but rather fully determinate sonic events, invariably fixed in duration, volume, and presumably, pitch.



music ensemble project, more than 30 members, 30 instruments

Krachkisten Orchestra (since 2009)


The Krachkisten Orchestra produces improvised electric sounds with selfmade analog instruments.

In addition to gigs at Hamburg, the orchestra, which was founded in 2009, has toured Germany, Europe and Russia.

© Christina Köhler 2023