Reggie Watts, Renaissance man: he’s a comedian, actor, musician, and beatboxer who can create a sonic masterpiece using only his voice, a keyboard, and a looping machine. Imagine the possibilities when a musical MacGuyver like Reggie accesses a kinetic instrument that is two stories tall—the trash masterpiece that is “Gremlin Symphony.”
Gremlin Symphony is an immersive art space in Convergence Station, crafted with car hoods, road signs, and other scrap metal ephemera from the surrounding neighborhood of Sun Valley. But its artistic outcome goes far beyond waste and into another dimension—it’s a massive musical instrument.
“The room is the result of 4 years of internal collaboration,” says Meason Wiley, lead artist of Gremlin Symphony and Meow Wolf’s Director of Research and Development, in a Meow Wolf blog. “(Gremlin Symphony) is a project that many of us feel is fundamentally representative of who we are—our collaborative spirit, our heart, and our love for one another.”
The main musical elements include a 120-year-old piano, actuated by a combination of solenoids and electromagnets; a custom built, 16-foot diameter, 3-octave vibraphone chandelier that also functions as a portal into the multiverse; and a 12-foot hemisphere of drums with embedded lighting, all of which—quite hauntingly—play on their own.
At times, the installation even taps out the composers’ names in Morse Code. The famously far-out Reggie Watts is stunned enough by Gremlin’s junky majesty to eventually pose the perfect rhetorical question: “WHY is this place?” he asks.
One of the most mind-blowing things about Gremlin Symphony is that it can also be played by a human—hauntingly, or not.
In fact, the song that Reggie ad-libs on the spot with the help of the mythical Yawlp creature, naturally, is more of a crooner.