Luigi Russolo was one of the Italian Futurists, a group of thinkers and artists who imagines a new art for the modern world. the famous manifesto Art of Noises was published in 1913.
But, not content with just imagining new sounds, Russolo set about building his own orchestra of noise machines. The originals have been long lost but researchers developed a new array of instruments form the original patents.
“I had a very extensive map of what he was after,” he explains. “I knew where he was coming from scientifically and aesthetically. I had spent years recreating his environment, and I had plenty of sources, diaries, poems…I feel that all the guesses I made match Russolo’s descriptions of the instruments quite well. For example, he described one of the instruments as the sound of water gurgling inside a pipe, and what I built sounds just like that.”
These instruments could be considered some of the earliest synthesisers. Tools to create new sounds are used extensively in sound design for film and media, these are sometimes electronic / digital, but there is no substitute for creating sounding objects for recording.