The Conceptors

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Mark Korven

Mark KorvenCanadian film composer Mark Korven is mostly known for his haunting scores for the indie sci-fi horror film CUBE and most recently for THE WITCH. To give himself a tool to create organic and handmade analog soundscapes, he teamed up with luthier extraordinaire Tony Duggan-Smith to create a musical instrument specializing in “horrifying sounds” called the APPREHENSION ENGINE. After CNN produced a short documentary on the instrument, it became a viral hit, garnering more than 5 million views on YouTube. Over 140 articles and interviews have been written about it, the most recent attention coming both from a feature on National Public Radio in the US and a filmed segment of OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE shot by their UK crew. In 2017 Mark travelled to NYC to perform for the INTO THE VEIL festival, which takes place in the 200-year-old Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. He also traveled to Madrid to perform on the popular Spanish TV show EL HORMIGUERO, and was invited to perform with the Apprehension Engine at Birmingham’s SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL.


Tony Duggan-Smith

Tony Duggan SmithHaving completed the Arthur Lismer Guitar for the McMichael Gallery Group of Seven Guitar Project (2017-18), Tony was asked by friend and composer Mark Korven (THE WITCH) to build an all-acoustic instrument dedicated to scoring horror films for a TIFF Masterclass. An earlier experiment from the two of them had resulted in the SARELLO, a hybrid of the cello and sarangi with both bowed and sympathetic strings. For this new instrument Mark had a shopping list of potential sound sources, some dating back to the 10th century and some inspired by others, which they took as a starting point and riffed on as the instrument was being designed. By the time it was finished the APPREHENSION ENGINE had the core elements of Mark’s original ideas and others fleshed out and added to by Tony: an inspiring collaborative project.

Since its creation, the APPREHENSION ENGINE has been seen around the globe in viral videos shot by CNN’s GREAT BIG STORY, performance videos shot by Mark himself, interviews on international TV and radio shows, and articles written in pretty much every language. The prototype of the redesigned APPREHENSION ENGINE (V2 ) played a prominent role in representing “The Beast” in the musical THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE (New York, Vineyard Theatre, 2018), cocreated by the multi-Tony Award-winning team of John Kander, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson.