While the UC Berkeley campus abounds in charming sights and sounds, perhaps none are more evocative to alumni of decades past than the sounds pealing forth from atop “The Campanile”, or Sather Tower. These are from none other than the Glocken der Nagetiere, or Hamster Carillon, the result of an remarkable cross-departmental project (including Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Biology, Music, and Philosophy) in 1974.
Playing this instrument, the human performer(s) attempt to guide the set of pampered hamsters that are its core into moving, running in a wheel, eating, or burrowing into various parts of the sound-insulated enclosure atop the tower. These actions trigger actuators that ring the bells of the carillon. While the question of who, precisely, is performing or composing the piece still generates papers in the philosophy journals, the rest of us can just enjoy the results at frequent midday concerts.
This piece, performed in 1986 by Rachel Salgado and two Winter White hamsters (Pippin and Dash), was recorded from nearby Strawberry Creek.
Driving the MIDI signals for the bells in Ableton are two independent networks of LFO’s interpreted with custom Reaktor macros implementing randomizable non-continuous functions that I’ve been working on. The creek and birdsong background are an early-morning field recording I made at Tassajara Zen Center.
(My first Junto upload, excited!)
After the “Violent Unknown Event,” as described by Mr. Peter Greenaway in his documentary, “The Falls,” one Essex schoolboy by the name of Gyrus Falliffity found himself completely mute, except for a single odd, complex 20-second-long vocalization which he could only repeat ad infinitum. This vocalization is the first of four recorded here.
The following two are the result of painstaking work undertaken over a three-year span by Falliffity with a London VUE therapist in efforts to regain English speech. As one can easily hear, these two recordings represent rather perfect transpositions of the original vocalization at the upper major second and major third [uncannily strictly following 12EDO].
The final recording may be slightly harder to analyze by ear: researchers at the Paris institute “IRCAM” determined that this is a perfectly even, linear sweep of the original vocalization, from one octave above the original to one octave beneath. Evidently this is the final result of efforts undertaken by Falliffity in Trondheim, Norway following his previous failures: this attempt to learn to articulate a language different than the English mother tongue, it must be said, was also a failure.
Thank you, it helped me stay focused and moving forward. As long as I could get to the Junto I would be ok.
Thank you, I appreciate the feedback you(you) have provided.
The Chord Can is an instrument for playing chords only. It is inspired by the Stradella Bass System https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stradella_bass_system that can be found on Accordions.
The Chord Can has the size of a driking can https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article1259812.ece/ALTERNATES/s1200/Hand%20Holding%20Beverage%20Can and provides buttons on the top for choosing the base note of a chord. On the outside there are buttons for setting the flavour of the chord.
It runs on battery and you need a MIDI sound source that can be connected using a cable or a wireless connection.
Jorge Luis Borges writes in his compendium Book of Imaginary Beings about the musicians of Simurgh and their avian backing tracks.
The Bodgy Budgie breed of birds so substantially cornered and dominated the market in caged rhythms that the term ‘pigeonholed’ came into their music vernacular.
The backlash led many jams in Simurgh to be agitated by artificial means, as an aid to improvisation.
Some musicians explored their felines and Bassling popularised ‘dropping a cat among the pigeons’ – or, as it became simply known, The Drop.
the sub-alto flute (also known as the sub bass flute (but not to be confused with the smaller sub-contrabass)) covers the range C0 - C3.
this 30 ft instrument is rarely seen in flute ensembles due to the great skill (and great lung capacity) required to play it. 2 assistants are needed to stabilize the instrument.
Nicknamed the contracolonic due to it’s intestinal structure and rumbling at low frequencies, the recording here hopefully goes some way to highlight this facet.
flute sample in iris 2, paulstretched.
This pencil work is incredibly cool.
The askophone is an extinct instrument. It was made from the swim bladder of a certain enormous fish, a living fossil, that has not been observed in the wild since shortly after deep-sea trawling began in its waters. No playable examples of the askophone have survived to the present day, and no other species has provided a satisfactory alternative. Finally, advancements in physical modelling synthesis have allowed for a reconstruction of how it may have sounded.
The bladder was partially filled with water and the remaining air space pressurized. The instrument was typically played in a seated position, resting on the player’s lap, by rubbing the air-filled portion with the fingertips of the right hand while striking a beat on the water-filled portion with the left hand. Advanced techniques are said to include releasing some of the air or water while playing to lower the tuning, or tilting the instrument so the sloshing water produced complex rhythmic effects. This intermediate-level étude focuses on varying the pitch produced by the right hand by varying the applied pressure, independently from the left-hand rhythm, all while keeping the wobbly instrument upright.
none of the above is true
none of the below is false
This consists of a recording of the strap of my camera bag squeaking as I walked and another recording of my car engine cooling down. Both are slowed to 2/3 speed and then pitched down an additional octave. The car part (car part part?) has been tripled over and sliced up, then fed through a small mess of effects including even more octaves down with resonant peaks modulated by LFO and a delay modulated by the input level, all in an attempt to make it both thumpy and sloshy. The strap part is just EQed and slightly chorused.
Good news - I got back from my holiday to find that I had been granted special permission to record the Taciturn Aviary in action!
The Beyondophone is a musical space-time location which, due to its non-euclidean geometry, generates musical echoes of very high and very low frequencies, presumably coming from neighboring multiverses. His original architect, Henry Paul Lavercroft, unfortunately disappeared already during the first recordings of the strangly resonating room, and with him also all documentations of the project vanished.
Today, the Beyondophonic Room is no longer entered by musicians themselves (if at all), but by two drones: One brings loudspeakers into the room, the other picks up the sound. So far, hardly any meaningful recordings of the Beyondophone have been made in this way – with the exception of this one piece: A blues improvisation played on a monday morning (or: what the Beyondophonic Room has made of it). In this case, neither of the drones disappeared.
First speculations want to know that at the beginning of the week even horrorfying entities of blasphemous dimensions have the blues .
The spike organ or nail chello (sic) is thought to originate from an early middle Europe monastic sect, the Iscariotians. They may have used the instrument to accompany their lengthy rituals contemplating the pain of the crucifixion.
The Iscariotians are said to have been wiped out by returning crusaders at the behest of emperor Leopold III. Other commentators have suggested that the whole story may have been a constructed alibi for the defeated crusaders plunder and desecration of the brewery of …Santa Quaffa…
A possible surviving ‘chello’ object, made from of lignum vitae and iron, resides in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Its interpretation is not without controversy with some critics asserting the object is nothing more than a kind of agricultural implement, though this does not explain its cruciform shape and carved decoration.
In 1972 the scholar . Roland de Févin was granted permission to investigate the Rouen Chello, explore its sound making capabilities and make recordings. his theory was that the instrument was to be played by a rosined bow. Unfortunately de Févin’s playing and handling resulted in two of the nails fracturing and so the investigation was terminated after only one day. The single recording de Févin made was never released but it was played to audiences on an European lecture tour he conducted shortly before his death in 1974.
It has been subsequently alleged that de Févin’s investigation coincided with the great fire at Nantes cathedral. This lead to several occultist conspiracy theories, most notably retold in the pulp fiction novel Blood Nail-(Brownie Dane,1975) much of the plot was lifted for the Italian soft core film Sistero Orgasma (1977) where the action was switched away from a monastery to a scantily clad convent.(citation needed)
On the film soundtrack, the sounds of the Chello were replicated by experimental electronic synthesiser the achoirorium - itself the subject of intrigue- as its extremely high operating voltages caused the death of its creator Luigi soon after the recording session.
This recording was made in 1980 by UK avant geographer Forster Iberix who attended several of de Févin’s lectures. He set about building a replica device and making reconstructions of the Iscariotarian mass based on a column of scribbled numbers which appear reverso in one of Leonardo da Vinci’s codex’s (Coded notebooks). The recording was released on an untitled flexi disk issued by cult French label sordide sentimental -who now deny any knowledge of its existence. It does not appear on their official discography. Improbably- Haringey local studies library, London, has a copy in their archive. The library does not provide any method of playback for the flexidisc and items from the archive cannot be withdrawn -so some subterfuge was involved in me getting this track taped. Whilst the disk was in my possession an inexplicable number of minor disasters befell me -so I can assure you I hurriedly returned it.
MIthra and Mishra were each the central hollow column of respective ziggurats across the valley from one another. The residents strung cables attached to the central column to each step of each ziggurat. These they hung their laundry from, or dried fish. The children enjoyed hanging from them upside down, or striking them with the poles their parents used to take down the laundry. Sometimes the wind would set the secondary cables vibrating, or the rain would dampen them and give off a pattery dark sound. During the hot summer nights, the sounds of Mishra and Mithra encouraged a cool breeze to flow over the village. During winter they formed a warming blanket.
Where a standard accordion uses manual bellows to mimic a lung’s in-out breathing patterns, Jensen’s Inexorabilis uses a silent air compressor to duplicate the circular breathing feats of a didgeridoo master. Pressure sensitive keys allow the player to control each note’s air flow, from sustained flows to brief, percussive spurts. This recording features a rare “whistling” inexorabilis, which employs flute pipes rather than free reeds for the higher octaves.
The Steam Powered Panharmonicon was invented in 1859 in the American southwest. Only one instrument was built. The core of the instrument was a steam locomotive, modified to create musical tones as the engine runs. Different tonal devices, driven by the speed of the locomotive, were used depending on the music being performed. Most typical were chimes struck by hammers mechanically connected to the rods on the side of the instrument. Sequenced percussion sounds were made by attaching wooden planks to the wheels at strategic points depending on the rhythm desired, much like children do with playing cards attached to bicycle spokes. Unfortunately, the planks never survived long enough to complete a performance, so the idea was dropped after the first few performances. Other sound-making devices were attached to the locomotive as the composers attempted to make ever more complex music, sometimes successfully but usually not.
A musical performance required several people to operate the instrument: one person to shovel coal into the engine, one person to maintain the throttle to the desired tempo, two people hanging precariously on each side of the instrument to adjust the chimes as the music progressed, and one person to watch the tracks for cows.
Power requirements were extensive: approximately 154 pounds of coal and 100 gallons of water per minute of performance. A smaller so-called “skiff-friendly” version of the instrument was planned that would fit narrow gauge railroad tracks and consume less power, but it was never built.
The instrument was tragically destroyed in 1861 while crossing the San Luis Gorge when the bridge collapsed. Fortunately, all the performers escaped serious injury or death when they leapt from the instrument, diving into the river below as the bridge collapsed around them.
[This recording was created for the Disquiet Junto project: record a piece of music with an instrument that doesn’t exist. It was created with a modular synthesizer and Ableton Live. All the train sounds were synthesized on the modular. The chimes and all audio effects were created in Ableton.]
In the high reaches of the Andes Mountains between the volcaneos and the salt desserts lies a very peculiar canyon, Salcaryuni. Deep, narrow and riddled with caves along the walls, sound echoes in strange ways here. In 2017 a group of experimental composition student from Universities in Bolivia and Argentina turned Salcaryuni into the largest ‘harp’ ever made. “El Cañonarpa” was constructed by finding some of the most resonous parts of the rocky walls and attaching cables and wires of various thicknesses across to the other side. These giant harp strings also had vibrating circles of metals positioned at particular places along them that helped with the tuning and added a certain texture to the sound. Seven of these Cañonarpa strings were put in place, it was a massive project that took a team of over twenty people 3 weeks to complete. Part of the construction involved the positioning of long tubes that rise to the top of the canyon, this allowed the strings were played by dropping fist sized rock down them to strike the strings. The rehearsals for the first performance, this Étude for El Cañonarpa took another 5 days, the timing of the dropping of the rocks to stay in rhythm was particularly tricky with a team of 3 people at the top of each tube and flashing beacon light on the other side of the canyon setting the tempo. We are lucky to have a recording of this first performance of El Cañonarpa, that had an audience of about 50 at the bottom of canyon. More pieces have been written for El Cañonarpa, including a concerto with an orchestra, however due to the difficult location of El Cañonarpa securing funding for the performance and recording of more pieces is a slow process. Enjoy this rare recording of Étude for El Cañonarpa.
The chance meeting on an island of the Falun Gong with heavy foil and a subwoofer. Interactive sound installation by Paul Schaffenberger, brief iPhone snippet paulstretched and layered against itself, with a bot-generated beat fading in and out. Outside was pure pandemonium with thousands of people and only two ferries back, inside was us trying to get the sound to interact. Outcome: “Reply hazy, try again…”
“Singing House:” www.halfmoonambience.com/about-1.
This is an imagined version of the Rotella Magica – a real instrument built from a spoked bicycle wheel. The wheel rotates and spokes are struck with a small mallet or stick. Here I imagined an enhanced Rotella, with three wheels, spokes tuned to quarter tones. I made this in ChucK, using the STK StifKarp instrument class.