Coin-op Automata

Laurence Osborn

  • Duration

    15 mins

  • Year of composition


  • Number of performers


  • First performance

    Manchester Collective and Mahan Esfahani, Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre

  • Commissioned by
    Manchester Collective


In recent pieces, I have returned again and again to the idea of compromised or tainted subjectivity. I am especially interested in emulating voices which are simultaneously human and mechanical, like the sound of HAL 3000 as he pleads for his life in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the voices of rappers like Future and Travis Scott, or the sound of the harpsichord, whose sound is inseparable from the mechanical means of its production. While I was writing Coin Op Automata, my partner told me about how her mother used to take her to a museum in Covent Garden filled with all sorts of coin operated machines. There was a little mechanical family that slurped spaghetti, a bird that sang with a metal throat, and a little unicyclist who lurched along a wire. I loved the idea of this little ecosystem of coin-operated creatures, trapped in their own mechanical vignettes. Coin Op Automata is a series of little mechanical tableaux, grouped into two movements. Musical ideas are shared between tableaux and between movements, sometimes obviously, sometimes less so. The first movement is made from wooden sounds, and is a series of lurching dances. The second movement is more metallic in sonority. It begins with a melody, sung by a mechanical voice, which is passed between instruments, before going somewhere else.

Full Scoring:

Violin I
Violin II


To enquire about hiring the score and parts for Coin-op Automata, please complete the form below.

Click here to purchase a pdf score/parts of "Coin-op Automata"