Sonic Systems Laboratory

“Whatever preconceptions you may have about what a vibraphone should sound like, cast them aside now…a beautifully crafted 32 minute improvisation.” Brian Marley the Wire.

Over the past 5 years Dale Gorfinkel has developed a unique language on the vibraphone which involves utilizing the tremolo mechanism, additional motors, bows and creative percussive techniques. He has also returned his instrument to a micro-tonal system based on just intonation.  Robbie Avenaim has also developed his own approach to the instrument. Using homemade electronic sticks and battery operated vibrating objects, he is able to create complex rhythms and delicate textures. 

Together they have redefined the role of a vibraphone in music.  Their creative approaches to the instrument has broken many preconceptions of it. Invented in the early 1920’s, the vibraphone is a product of the industrial age – aluminum bars are suspended over resonators which are opened and closed by electrically powered fans.  It is this unusual combination of mechanics and percussion which Dale and Robbie have exploited in individual ways.

Live at the Toff Melbourne Australia 2014

“Robbie Avenaim and Dale Gorfinkel, are a vibraphone duo with a difference. Their instruments are microtonally prepared and activated by machines instead of the usual mallets, resulting in a variety of unusual textures. Their music was like waking up to an alarm clock, only in reverse; the hypnotic quality of the sound pulling the listener into a dream world. Alarm bells gave way to scenes of old children’s toys, followed by distant propellers and, finally, cats purring. By the end, Avenaim and Gorfinkel were literally shaking the sound from their instruments” – Shannon O’Neill writing in Real Time said of their Now Now Festival performance in 2006.

Live on ABC TV (program SET) 2008

Dale Gorfinkel website: