The buzzing in the background of Bowie’s verses? That’s the Stylophone. Played by pressing the attached pen to the keyboard, the Stylophone produces a wonderfully basic sound. Expression is not a strong point of this instrument, but the use of vibrato DOUBLES the tonal options of this little gem.
Actually the one at the studio is a new version with a tuning dial that covers a wide range and a remarkable 3 sounds!
It was promoted in the UK by Australian artist and musician Rolf Harris of “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” and “Jake The Peg” fame back in the 70’s.
Here’s a promotional record from back then...
And here’s Rolf Harris performing “Jake The Peg” on the BBC back in ’69. It may not have anything to do with the Stylophone, but this is the mind of an avid user of the instrument.