Meet the German Producer Making Music With Salvaged Nuclear Lab Equipment

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Meet the German Producer Making Music With Salvaged Nuclear Lab Equipment

Stefan Goetsch has spent years conducting madcap noise experiments: dissecting electronics, reassembling them, and trying to make them sing. Operating under the name Hainbach, the Berlin composer transmits this intrigue to thousands via his YouTube channel—a treasure trove of clips with titles like “How to Make Music With a Vintage Piano Tuner” and “Playing Live With Nuclear Instruments and Unknown Synths.” His endearing videos are part history lesson, part nerdy tech outlet, part philosophical soapbox. In one upload about siphoning eerie tones from a Soviet wire recorder, Goetsch becomes visibly excited when describing its sound. “It has a haunting quality, sort of like the ghost of the past caught in a metal cage,” he says, beaming.

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Landfill Totems, Goetsch’s latest Hainbach release, deals directly with those ghosts. The project grew from his fascination with obsolete test equipment—everything from particle accelerator components to lunks of antique metal used in nuclear research to a dolphin-locating device once used by the U.S. Navy. Goetsch discovered that while their original functions might be lost, these machines could emit sounds and be manipulated like massive, single-tone synthesizers. Obsessed with their potential, he collected a vanful of equipment from online enthusiasts and dusty sheds, and was eventually offered gallery space to experiment with his haul. But when the machines were dwarfed by the vast white room, Goetsch felt compelled to make them grander, more imposing. He instinctively arranged them into towers, elevating their physical height and symbolic magnitude.

The artfully (though not securely) stacked sound sculptures became lifelike to him—their knobs and lines forming tidy silver faces. The title Landfill Totems refers to this anthropomorphism and suggests a kind of reincarnation or transcendence for the units: cutting edge, hi-tech equipment that has been discarded, then given new life—a kind of trash-heap Transformers effect. In these totemic configurations, Goetsch could peer into the souls of bygone machinery.

 

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