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A collaboration between Yarli Allison  & Juls Gabs

SLADE School of ARTS, UCL London, UK


GOLDSMITH School of ARTS, UCL London, UK

block of ice2.png

Vanillatron is an art performance group who explore alternative ways of generating sound through the construction of new and rethought electronic instruments, inspired by ancient Eastern musical practice and mythology.

Vanillatron is the collaboration of the artists Yarli Allison and Juls Gabs with audio experimenter Spitaldust. Yarli and Juls worked together at SLADE (UCL), exploring sounds generated by interactive sculpture and performance WATERMELON SALAD.

They are passionate about alternative experimental music which led to the development of the 'Ice Sensor' instrument where the performer manipulates electrodes attached to a block of ice, varying the current that flows through it to generate different tones via a VCO. In the experimenting stage, Vanillatron were invited to Performance Exchange (run by Lizzy Laurance and Fionnuala Kennedy at Goldsmith University) to demonstrate the instrument in conjunction with dance interpretations by Yarli and calligraphy-percussion by product designer Uuendy Lau.


Vanillatron have a shared interest in ancient Eastern philosophies and their application to making music, referencing Daniélou’s theory of Hindu metaphysics, which explains why it is difficult for humans to perceive the natural divisions of sounds, and indicates the method by which we can realise them:

‘The world is composed of five elements, which we perceive separately by five distinct senses. The senses corresponding to each one of these elements can perceive also the lower elements but not the higher ones; therefore Earth, whose corresponding sense is smell, can be perceived by all senses. Water, to which corresponds the sense of taste, is perceived by all senses except smell; Fire (identified with light) correspondents to sight and cannot be tasted or smelt; Air, to which corresponds touch, is no longer visible; and, finally, Ether can be perceived only through sounds.’

Introduction to the Study of musical Scales (1935) Alan Daniélou. The theory of elements. Page107

Vanillatron propose to explore the world of Ether through the development of a series of new handcrafted instruments, using the other elements in their construction and performance, and to show how the process of creating sound can trigger physical effects.

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