In 1968 a British engineer, Brian Jarvis, was trying to mend his niece’s piano. One circuit board and a stylus later and the unique monophonic organ was born – or, as it is known the world over, the Stylophone.
50 years later and Stylophone is going strong with new fans, new even more ingenious products and new packaging. A recent appearance in the film Baby Driver in 2017 has also helped keep this cult British brand at the heart of contemporary music and culture as one of the world’s most iconic musical instruments, with over 4 million units sold since 1968.
Celebrating its 50th Anniversary (along with other icons of our times including Kylie, the Big Mac, the Boeing 747 and LL Cool J!) Stylophone has been re-branded with new packaging by cult artist/illustrator Mel Elliot of I Love Mel.
From its appearance on Space Oddity (1968) (Bowie also used the Stylophone in 2002 on the track Slip Away) the Stylophone has held a fascination for musicians and producers, drawn to its space age sounds. Tony Visconti used the instrument again with Sparks on their 1975 album Indiscreet. Kraftwerk featured it in the single Pocket Calculator (1981) and other artists who have featured the distinctive tones of the Stylophone include Pulp, Manic Street Preachers, White Stripes, Belle & Sebastian, Hannah Peel, Richard Hawley, Little Boots, Kid Koala and Raconteurs. Its unique sound and raw electronic tone is recognised the world over.
Recently new products have been launched including the Stylophone GenX-1, offering even more synth options for more serious musicians. Producers using the GenX-1 include Steve Levine, Steve Albini and Joe Chiccarelli.
The Stylophone £19.99, GenX-1 £59.99 and Beatbox £19.99 are available from Amazon.co.uk.