Composer Bear McCreary:
"For each episode of Electric Dreams, I strove to work within the confines of a unique sound palette, ensuring that each episode ended up with a distinct tone. For “Real Life,” I discussed possible electric guitar tones with guitarist Omer Ben-Zvi, and he mentioned something that immediately caught my attention, just from the name: a Gizmotron. Whatever the Gizmotron did, I wanted to use it!
I would later learn the Gizmotron is a mechanical device that hails from the early days of prog rock, developed in the 1970’s by members of the British rock band 10cc. After a shoddy version was commercially released in 1979, resulting in the manufacturer’s bankruptcy, the Gizmotron was largely forgotten until it was re-released over thirty years later with updated technology. The device attaches to the bridge of a guitar and has six rotating wheels that “bow” the strings, (similar in practice to how sound is produced by the rotating wheel of the hurdy gurdy).
When I heard the Gizmotron in action, I knew it could be harnessed to tell the story of “Real Life.” Unlike the more familiar tones of an ebow (a device that resonates guitar strings using electromagnetism), the physical motors of the Gizmotron produced sustained guitar colors that are uniquely scratchy and raw. Set against plaintive harmonic backgrounds, the Gizmotron guitar just felt alien and familiar at the same time. These sounds are woven throughout the score, but featured most prominently in scenes where Sarah and George are reaching their most emotionally devastated places."