Designed by Huw and myself and crafted by his fair hands. Bike Orchestra practices with this as the only sonic source have been going great. Gigs to follow later in the year.
Been working today on making some films showing some of the methods I’ve used recently to make sound visible; technically speaking I’ve discovered this is cymatics. I became interested in it a few years ago when I inherited a broken marshall 1x 12 combo the speaker of which worked but the amp part was broken, one thing lead to another and with proceding house and studio moves I disemboweled the speaker from the amp and got to carrying out a whole variety of speaker preparations really just as research.
The work I was doing in August with Bekke Platt & Aliyah Hussain for a dance piece (which you can see some of at Castlefield Gallery on 13th October) really set me off thinking about the weird and wonderful things that are possible through finding different ways to make sound visible; these films being just one of them. This was all first sparked by an encounter with Carsten Nicolai’s work via a Gerhard Richter painting on display in the city gallery in Leicester sometime in the early noughties. A summer visit to Manchester’s City Gallery also brought me into contact with a Haroon Mirza sound sculpture which operated in a similar area.
Doing some work yesterday with turntable and strings which I’ve had on the go the last few weeks. Trying to work through various ideas to isolate what works and what doesn’t, made a bunch of recordings which are mainly textural, drones and processing those back end of last week which I’m mixing at the moment. Mainly I found it was the processed stuff that was least interesting and the agitated string things I was most interested with. This is what I came back to you yesterday; to try and make a stand alone sculptural piece which played itself using just the string tensed between two points and then producing vibration and harmonics from the turning of the turntable. Have a listen to the results below:
I’m really please with this am I going to carry on working on the mixes including it in the material Ive gathered in the last few weeks. Think an early track from this will be included on an upcoming compilation from Electronic Musik also hoping to present this work as an installation/performance piece later in March, tbc in Manchester.
Got a little bit of inspiration looking at Jethro Brice’s excellent blog http://futuremuseum.wordpress.com/ the other day. Its an investigation of some our not so smart current uses of resources looked back on from two centuries in the future as well as imaginings of some immediate post-apocalyptic responses to environmental/political meltdown.
It set me off thinking about what kind of guitar/string instruments would be in circulation in this kind of world: obviously mass produced high/low quality instruments would disappear fairly quickly. There would still be some craft masters working but the majority of string instruments would be home made from whatever materials happened to be at hand; this kindof practice has been pretty continuous amongst African guitar players.
So I set myself the task to make an instrument by reusing stuff that was just lying round the house. The couple of conditions I set were that it should sound reasonable as an acoustic instrument so as not to rely on electricity and that only a couple of hours should be spent in its construction to keep it as DIY and rough and ready as possible.
Hear the result here:
sawn off trumpet end
half a cello bridge
3 machine heads
2 empty batteries