Steve Reich and The Wombats – Playground Experimental

Some days you just come across gems that are so utterly unexpected. I wonder how Jason Richardson came up with the idea to attach contact microphones directly to slides, swings and springriders and then get percussive with the metal, composite wood and plastic.

Is Leeton, Australia’s playground symphony a first? I would hazard a guess that Richardson is defining a niche of playful, minimalist music. Reminiscent of Steve Reich, I love the inventiveness, the audacity and the fun.

The work was screened recently in outdoor locations including Leeton’s Mountford Park as part of the town’s centenary celebrations. It will be part of the Burning Seed Festival (Australia’s Burning Man) in October.

If you’re not in Australia, or can’t get there for the show, there’s another excerpt of the video on Playgroundology FB, or you can watch and listen to the full 28 minute video version here.

Can’t get enough? Do like me and download the 10 track digital album For 100 Years for the princely sum of $3 US.

This story came to PlayGroundology’s attention via The Irrigator. Enjoy the layered, funky playground sounds.

For 100 YearsDigital album cover via Bassling

17 responses to “Steve Reich and The Wombats – Playground Experimental

  1. This is great. There must be something about Aussie guys hitting bits of metal – I don’t know whether you will have seen Gotye’s little doco about making ‘Eyes Wide Open’ which was inspired by playing around with sound from the Musical Fence in Winton, designed by Graeme Leak


  2. Very cool find! Reminds me of Diego Stocco’s Music from a Tree or Music from a Dry Cleaner:


    • Thanks Jennifer – how goes the movie? I could be ready for a cameo at a moment’s notice 🙂 Just give me a ring. Thanks for introducing me to Stocco’s work – plenty of whimsical fun there. Check the recent comment by Chas Spain too on this same post about the making of Gotye’s Eyes Wide Open that features the ‘musical fence’. Cheers and all the best with the move. Love to chat some time via skype or some such….


  3. That Gotye video was great, I’m going to have to visit Winton. Interesting coincidence that it was a musical instrument made from wire that got me into recording with contact microphones, see
    There’s a short video where I explain a bit more about the playground remixes at


    • Jason, thanks for the excellent project with the contact mics at the playgrounds. I know that I’ll be coming back to listen to that playful work years and years down the road. It brought a smile to my face and put a bounce in my step. Cheers and give thanks…


  4. Thats amazing, who would have thought of that ? So is the music a bit of a cross between heavy METAL and The Wiggles ?


  5. Pingback: Bonne fête, Feliz navidad, Happy Birthday, Barka da sabon shekera, Rā Whānau ki a Koe! | PlayGroundology

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