Roger Aixut (Barcelona, 1975) is a musician but above all he is a luthier – a maker of string instruments. However, he doesn’t need maple wood, strings made from Scandinavian horsetails or special varnishes. A shower pipe, a tin of quince jelly, a Scalextrics or any conceivable object will in the long run end up being part of a guitar, a trombone or a double bass. Aixut, the founder of CaboSanRoque, sees himself as a creator of images and that's what he does: creates strange contraptions and makes them produce sound.
CaboSanRoque, a group of seven musicians and a sound technician from Barcelona, was born ‘as a lounge and dining room orchestra’ in 2001. Since then, it has already released three records. The most recent, Música a màquina (2007), an auto-edited album including a graphic booklet with seventy four pages and an iron engraved cover, is made up of seven hypnotic, instrumental tracks conducted by a washing machine, ‘The Caba’s family washing machine’, which is connected by means of a bicycle chain to a system of cylinders and activates all kinds of musical instruments. The rhythm is set by the machine’s washing programme and spin and it changes tempo from andante to allegretto depending on how dirty the clothes are. In live shows, the clothes are literally hung on the washing line at the end of each song.
The group had previously released CaboSanRoque (2003) and França Xica (2004), ‘two very normal, acoustic records done on the cheap’ and had made La caixeta, a film and soundtrack that was shown at the festival Grec 2006 (Barcelona) and has travelled since then to Holland, Germany, Italy and Morocco (it has been shown recently in the Sala Beckett in Barcelona). La caixeta arose from the finding of a suitcase in Diamant square in Barcelona packed with Super 8 films taken by an unknown person. The films had amateur family shots taken in the seventies. La caixeta is a huge musical box measuring 27 cubic meters with four musicians inside (Roger Aixut, Ramon Garriga, Josep Seguí and Laia Torrents) who play with all kinds of instruments (pianos, accordions, guitars, xylophones) and operate a wide range of toys that they make themselves (electric trains, teddy bears and synthesizers). Behind the box the found film is projected: nine short films with unexpected images of the botanical garden in Montjuïc, the port in Barcelona, the Calafat race track and a junior football match. The box is open and provides the soundtrack. The images and instruments accompany each other on a pleasant, self-timed journey lasting an hour and a quarter in which the sounds, projections, music and self-operating machines create an intimate, exotic and enjoyable atmosphere.
Aixut is not looking for perfection, nor precision. Far from it. Motivated by restlessness and intuition, he asserts that ‘we have learnt to live with imperfect machines’ and that it is necessary to know how to appreciate the charm in randomness and even in mistakes. He doesn’t appreciate the technical side of things, perhaps he does really but he has gone way beyond this with the help of a large dose of wit and imagination.
Santa Mònica Art Center
Hangar is a Barcelona-basedarts production centre placed in the area of Poblenou.