Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I would have to say that to date I still feel the first tongue drum I built was the best out of the three. This one is close, and by far better than Tongue Drum Two the Adventures in Naughty Pine. For this one I used a different type of wood which was great. All the sites I have been to suggest using a harder wood then soft. I think that’s why number two sounded so flat and boring. I don’t actually know what kind of wood this is that I was using; it was just something I found at one of my local second hand shops. These were part of a four box set of containers one might find in a kitchen from the seventies. Coffee and flour were once the jobs of these two boxes, and now a whole world of noise awaits them. Of course I had to add on the fridge grate bit. I think I will look back on the year Two Thousand and Six as the year of the refrigerator grate. Those two little sticks with the knobs on the tops are the sticks one would use to beat this instrument down.
I'm going at my mother's home this week end, I'm sure she has that kind of wood boxes in her attic, So maybe I will make my first tongue drum too !
I recently made a very basic four-tongue drum using an Altoids tin and a knife. I now have a rudimentary tongue drum and a messed-up knife, as well as lots of fun.
I gotta say, I never would have thought of any of the instruments I make without having visited your site, Iner. You're quite an inspiration.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Over the years I have used refrigerator grates in quite a few different instruments. There is the Two Stringed Golf and Refrigerator Bass one of my first instruments built that I actually liked, and the more percussive instruments such as the Percussive Computer Panel, and The Things from the Fridge series 1, 2, and 3. I guess the point I’m try to make is that the fridge grate has become one of those materials that has a permanent place in my spaceship/workshop. Much like the metal salad bowls, or the lovely and talented fan grates, and last, but most defiantly not least, the Chicken Cooker. Yes the fridge grate is now part of the local junkman’s list of must haves, and I think it is this instrument that put it there.
I have yet to name this instrument, as it stands now The Evolution of the Fridge is where it’s at. These things can and will change with time, but for right now let me talk a little on this new piece. In one of my fits of bowing madness I came up with the idea of bending the grate in a semi circle fashion in order to make the bowing of each of the tines more distinct for one, but also so that each individual tine is easier to reach. This worked out just as I had thought it would. The chamber I built was more of a piece together a few of the scraps I have lying around the spaceship and see what happens. I find the recycling of my own garbage to be just as rewarding as the recycling of others.
Once the resonating chamber was built I ran two springs down the center of the box, attached the face and grate, and then started bowing. I was getting some really cool sounds with the bow, but it wasn’t until I brought it out to a Jam night that I truly discovered it’s magic. Getting tired of bowing and the sounds I was making I decided to play the instrument in a bit more of a percussive manor. At first it was just a few taps on the box, then I would run a pen back and forth across the tines, but it was when I started plucking the tines that I got the sounds this instrument was suppose to make. All of a sudden I had a really messed up looking bass on my hands. I spent the rest of the night playing the Evolution that way, and have continued to play it like that since. Occasionally I will pull out the bow, but that’s only when the tips of my fingers get raw, and need a break.
I look forward to seeing how the fridge grate will evolve in my work over the next few years. It’s a good thing I have this blog to keep as my record.
Here are some comments that were left for this instrument.
Let me start by telling you where the idea came from, because it wasn’t mine. I saw it in a music store in
Here are some comments that were left for this instrument.
I used pine in the construction only due to the fact that the piece of hardwood I had cut for this new drum snapped clean in half as I was finishing my grooves. Pine was all I had left so I moved forward and started to make my cuts. At first the grooves in between where much smaller, but two bad things were happening. One, they would occasionally rub together when struck, and two, there wasn’t much volume to be had. So I got out the jig saw and free handed the re-cut. I do not recommend free cutting with a jigsaw if your loved ones are apposed to loud obscenities coming from a space room somewhere deep in the bowels of a two bedroom apartment. Oh and it might be dangerous to boot. So after fixing my cuts and giving the thing a good sanding I was ready to piece it together. Before putting the under plate on I decided to mount a spring inside the box running the length of the instrument. I can’t yet tell if this is doing anything, but I will let you know as soon as I bring it out to a Jam night.
Before I go I would just like to say that if you do decide to build one of these, try to find a harder wood then pine, over all I would say the piece as a whole sounds a bit flat, and that’s that.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I guess this is where I try to use up all the scrap pieces of wood and other interesting bits of metal. I do enjoy building them, and always bring them out to recordings and jams. It also gives me something to do when I’m waiting for the glue, paint, and varnish to dry on some of the bigger pieces, which in turn helps to keep the creative juices flowing. This one is made from rake tines, but I’m starting to run out of them. I think I may have to try an all aluminum one next.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 02, 2006
Mike Whitla said...
How does this sound iner?
Is it a specific pitch or just a bunch of overtones?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Well after much waiting, my good friend Jeremy finally sent me a photo of this instrument I had built some time ago. This is one of the many remnants from my past, when I was not so good at documenting my sculptures or paintings. Oh the pieces I’ve lost to laziness and indifference. It’s a good thing that we jam together on a weekly basis or this one may have been lost forever.
The face of the instrument is a chicken cooker. Back then I was trying to find ways to put those things into any and every piece I was working on. I have since refined that process. I must say as far as metal percussive instruments I have built, this one has to be the least offensive. I placed a contact mic right in the center of the plate, so as you play outward from the middle the tone and volume change. To add to that effect I added tone and volume knobs, and I find that playing this instrument with your fingers gives the best results. The large rectangular object that sweeps out from the side was part of the amplification system out of an old gramophone that was beyond repair. All of it pieces found a good home and a new life still within the music industry.
The bass is part of a disk brake system; I find these in front of my local garage all the time. They are nice and heavy and keep the instrument from bouncing around to much. The pole on which this instrument is attached is from an old salon hairdryer, so it has the option of pivoting back and forth to suit one’s playable comforts.
With the contact mic right in the center on the face plate one is able to place other objects on this instrument, in order to amplify them. I once rocked out for 40 minutes with a thump piano, a bow, and a brass bell using this technique. And yes you can rock out with a thumb piano.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Refrigerator grates now have made it into six of the last eight instruments I have built. I still feel like I have not yet captured the soul of my fridge yet. There are some things that man should just never understand.
This one is a bit different in that I turned what has been a recent problem of things leaking in my fridge into an artistic solution where I just add water before hand. That’s right, this new one needs water to reach its full potential. This isn’t my first attempt at water based instruments and probably won’t be my last. The first was the Water Fisher Tube which worked out alright, but never really saw the light of day. I built it and immediately hung it in a bar. The second was the Round Bowed String Thing. Which saw a bit more action. It has traveled around in different art shows, been used live on stage, and is in the process of being recorded for an album (or something similar to whatever a group recording noises of experimental instruments can be). The Hydrofridge-a-phone
is just an evolutionary process of building. All my contact points are sealed with water resistant silicon, the chamber of the instrument is free of obstructions, and for this one I had the foresight to add an air hole for easy draining. I’m guessing it holds about 120 ounces of liquid, but really I think about twenty to thirty ounces might be enough to do the trick. What trick you ask? It’s the trick of messing with the pitch of the instrument; you can add as little or as much as you like, though I suspect there is probably a cutoff point. Once you have added the water, start bowing the refrigerator tines. As you do this just slowly turn the instrument on an angle, swishing around the water inside. If all goes well you will start to hear the pitch of the tines start to bend slightly.
The best example I can think of where this technique is used to its fullest potential would be an instrument designed by Richard Waters called the Waterphone. Not only is it quite lovely to look at, but it is also a beautiful sounding instrument.
Maybe one day I too can have an instrument I’ve designed be named after me. Inerphone is too obvious, but how about the Inertar, no wait I think I’ll call it the Inerimbau, or the Ineriano. Yeah, these are all stating to sound great; I think I’ve spent too much time out of the spaceroom.
Time to recompress.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I still feel that I have yet to really rap my head around the true potential of the thumb piano, but I feel confident that day will soon come.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
This piece is part of the Excess Space Baggage series, which you can learn more about in the next few blog entries.
Friday, September 15, 2006
It would seem that for the past few weeks I have been going through the spaceship in search of wild and weird parts that just don’t seem to fit anywhere else. Once I find them I make all those odd balls fit together whether they like it or not. So the next four posts will be of just that. I think I will call them Excess Space Baggage
I’m looking forward to recording this beast and then fining it a proper home.
Some things you will find on the second bell monster are a kids bicycle bell, a sink drain, two carburetor caps, a refrigerator grate, a tea kettle, two metal salad bowls, a circler saw blade, some weird metal disks I found on an old Japanese massager, a little tiny kids cymbal, plus a bunch of other various metal parts.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The tower stands at a whopping 130 cm or for all my friends south of the boarder 51 inches. There are 21 bell like objects mounted up the pole at varying heights and placements. I tried to set them into groups of three or four that sounded good together. Also attached to the pole is a spring that runs almost the full length of the piece, and one tunable piano string. The bass of the instrument is a disk from a breaking system of some body’s car. Who’s car? I have no idea.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
My Oblique Strategy for the Things from the Fridge 3 Strings and Things was You are an Engineer
Oddly enough the same card came up for the Things from the Fridge 2. It was at that point that I decided to remove the cards from the deck after they had been chosen.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
I am still hoping that I won’t go to hell for cutting up these rosary beads.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Sometimes I fell like I post any and everything I do. That’s not true. I built this instrument some time ago, and kind of just lost track of it. There are a few out there like that.
A very simple instrument to build that is easy and fun to play. You can suck as bad as I do, and still be able to pull this one off. It would be nice to have a bunch of these with different tunings.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I don’t know if I should put this on my experimental instrument page or my lost in time and space page.
This is part of my spaceship, the percussive part of my spaceship.
As I’m writing this it has occurred to me that the spaceship could in fact be the largest experimental instrument I have built to date.
As you can see there are many different things you can play on this panel. Some of the things include, saw blades, refrigerator grates, and numerous springs.
This entire box is built on hinges so you can open or close them to get different levels of sound. The box not only acts as a resonator, but it also holds all my painting gear, tools odd electronic things that must be destroyed, and some 8mm video cassettes from my misspent youth.