A Brief History of Things Contraptionatronic...
An accidental time traveler from an alternate future, a well-intentioned patent-medicine man, and two brothers of one mind in avenging home and family despite their divergent bearings: these otherworldly iconoclasts, thrown together by the whims of chance and music, are The Extraordinary Contraptions. These darlings of Atlanta's steampunk cultural hub keep wowing crowds with their musical mastery, genre-defining anachronism, scientific-romance shenanigans and blatant refusal to take themselves or steampunk too seriously. Ranging from silly love songs through dark, seething explorations of power to their characters' own epically orchestrated tales of victorian-influenced sci-fi, this quartet of aural anachronisms cranks the temporal bi-resonator to eleven for romance, music and science! Equally renowned for their unplugged performances, their acoustic instruments are rumored to go to twelve!
Keeping the trains chugging in Terminus Station (currently known as Atlanta, GA) the steampunk-themed and attired Extraordinary Contraptions blend motown-funk bass grooves with a driving guitar, chaotic drums, engagingly playful keys and accordion, and three part vocal harmonies to create their unstuck-in-space-time, steam-powered, danceable sound. Their 2009 self-produced debut album, Inappropriate on Purpose, touches on universal themes before careening into pieces about malevolent alien invasions and failed mathematical romances. A 2010 full-length release, Scratch the Aether, delves deeper into the characters' backstory and that of their nemesis, the scurrilous Captain Thorngauge, with bombastic explorations of betrayal, defiant organs. The Contraptions toured the Midwest to support this Scratch The Aether in 2010, and toured the East Coast with Frenchy and the Punk in summer 2011. DragonCon 2012 saw the successful release of their 3rd album, The Time Traveler's Constant, a project aided by steam-loving supporters through Kickstarter. The Time Traveler's Constant features percussion by both the original drummer Corbin Able Welsh, who left the band in September 2011, and new-to-the-project Teodore Birchard.
The Extraordinary Contraptions have performed electric and acoustic shows at many SF/F conventions, including DragonCon (Atlanta, GA), MomoCon (Atlanta, GA), Tsubasacon (Huntington, WV), AnachroCon (Atlanta, GA), World Steam Expo (Dearborn, MI), Marcon (Columbus, OH), Steampunk World's Fair (Piscataway, NJ), and Zenkaikon (Lancaster, PA).
As the steampunk movement grows, The Extraordinary Contraptions offer their quirky, guitar-driven vision of this alternate reality to people who enjoy the concepts of genre-transcendence and aggressive waltzes. Join The Contraptions as they make their way through their neo-victorian-suffused multiverse. Will the von Stadberg brothers fulfill their vow of revenge against Captain Thorngauge and his airship pirates who destroyed their home? Just where is Ms. Bostwick from and will she ever be able to return there? And will our heroes work together to fully unlock the potential of the amazing, sound-controlled device that sends them careening, often aimlessly, through the aether?
As luck would have it, a wealthy Massachusetts couple on holiday discovered Dimitri von Stadberg after being separated from his brother in the disaster at Tlemkierc. They raised him with a full classical education, nurtured his thirst for knowledge and encouraged his adventurous nature. After completing musicological studies in Cambridge, Mass, the newly minted Professor von Stadberg set out for parts unknown in search of his origin, following the faint trail of half-remembered folk songs from his infancy. Unexpectedly, Dimitri discovered his lost half brother, Aelus, incarcerated in a sanitorium along one of his travel routes. With the help of the serendipitously present Teodore and Sephora, Dimitri was able to liberate his elder brother and, together, they made a vow to avenge the atrocities visited upon them by the airship pirate known as Thorngauge.
Once time grabbed hold of Miss Sephora C. Bostwick, it refused to let go. A commended plant biologist working on the biological ramifications of instantaneous travel, she was caught up in the experimental field under mysterious conditions and flung headlong across miles - and unexpectedly, through dimensions.
Teodore Birchard, noted chemist and hobbyist imbiber, misread a sign he thought read, "effervescent concoctions." Taking his ever ready aperitif glass, he held it under what he thought was a spigot and pulled a nearby lever on what was actually The Extraordinary Contraption. This fateful tug flung him through time and space to a meeting with the three travelers. He now provides essential alchemy and propulsive rhythms to the mysterious festivities.
Aelus Kristoff von Stadberg, guitarist, writer and singer for the EC’s, is the elder, though oft-seeming simple-minded, brother of Professor Dimitri von Stadberg. After Aelus having long suffered from bouts of manic depression and what were believed to be hallucinations, later to be discovered to be in fact prophetic visions, Dr. von Stadberg, fabled Alchemist and Inventor Extraordinaire, decided to conduct a series of energetic experiments intended to correct poor Aelus’ infirmary after a chance static electricity encounter seemed to quiet the boy. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the good Doctor, the renegade air ship scoundrel and pirate Captain Dreorig Thorngauge had set sights on ridding the world of all alchemy and all its practitioners, and his lightning-based attack on von Stadberg Keep occurred simultaneously as one of the otherwordly experiments! Untold gigawatts of electricity overwhelmed and transmogrified the young man.
Soon after the devastation of the home town of Tlemkierc, the two boys were separated- Aelus institutionalized for his seeming insanity, and Dimitri, still an adolescent, taken in and eventually adopted by a wealthy couple who had been unable to conceive a child of their own. The two were eventually reunited, and together they vowed to bring vengeance on the wretched Thorngauge at any cost! Nonetheless, no one truly knows Aelus’ motives, least of all himself. Warring personalities come out as jibberish and vaguery, but deep within lie untold secrets. Will he be a savior, a villain, a fool? We can only guess.