Tom Thum wows with his ‘beatbox brilliance’

Nadine Kalinauskas

One man's vocal abilities has left us, well, a little speechless.

Tom Thum, the Australian beatboxer extraordinaire who, according to the Guardian UK, "appears to have swallowed an entire orchestra and several backing singers," takes audiences on a tour around the world with his incredible voice.

"Armed with just a microphone, Thum pushes the limits of the human voice to create incredible soundtracks of impossible beats and phenomenal sounds, with scratched vinyl, the Michael Jackson back-catalogue, the didgeridoo and an entire fifties jazz band amongst his vocal repertoire," a TedxTalk video explains.

"I'm very, very stoked to be here today representing my kinfolk and all those who haven't managed to make a career out of an innate ability for inhuman noise making," Thum tells a TedxTalk audience. "It is a bit of niche market."

While no effects were used to manipulate his voice, Thum does use some effects to sample his voice during the presentation. But other than that, it's 100 per cent Thum's voice.

Watch the one-man vocal band below. (And unless you're a glutton for punishment, don't even bother trying this at home.)

Interested in the science behind beatboxing?

Wired has posted MRI images of a beatboxer's brain in action. Researchers have discovered that artists like Thum can access vocal mechanisms "found in many diverse languages — even ones they don't speak."

"We were very surprised to discover how closely the vocal percussion sounds resembled sounds attested in languages unknown to the beatboxer," Michael Proctor, author of a study on beatboxing, tells Wired. "Even though his goals were musical, the beatboxer converged on methods of sound production which have been harnessed in the phonology of other human languages."

Read more here.