June 27, 2007

Electro-Mechanical DIY...

by Chris Randall

I've been pondering making a few instruments for my next CR album, and in doing so have been perusing Iner Souster's pages as a source of inspiration and ideas, along with my normal and perfectly healthy obsession with All Things Neubauten. After successfully making the Bogdon Box Bass, I've realized that there really isn't a lot to these sorts of things. What's your favorite electro-mechanical (as opposed to synthie type stuff we normally cover here) DIY instrumentation? Have you built something odd? Discuss.



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Jun.27.2007 @ 3:54 PM
a tin of pringles filled with rice is the most sophisticated instrument i've built :p makes awesome shaker recordings though.

Jun.27.2007 @ 4:34 PM
Adam Schabtach
That's hilarious. I read CR's posting and the only thing that I could think of was when I made a shaker out of a tea tin with rice in it.

A 48" or 60" length of aluminum tubing from an old USS keyboard stand makes a pretty good didgeridoo.



Jun.27.2007 @ 5:08 PM
getting a cheap bass bow and bowing things is always a blast. Bowed styrofoam in particular makes a truly appalling sound. I find that "pops" rosin gives the best grip. Finding a metal structure of some kind in a park and attatching bass strings to it and hitting them is fun. You could always go across the river to washington to get some firecrackers and then set them off in oddly shaped spaces. One of the weirdest sounds I have ever heard was an m-90 (or an m-1000 or something. one of the less powerful versions of the m-80. I can't remember which one exactly. I think you need to go th e reservation to get those.) set off inside a rubber traffic cone. there is a muffled thud at the beginning, and then a rapidly decaying and very electronic sounding high pitched whine as the cone vibrates and releases all the energy it has absorbed.
i also had a lot of fun taking all the buttons off an autoharp to make it into a zither , and then preparing it, mostly with bbq skewers, and playing it as a percussion instrument.
Just a couple off the top of my head.

Jun.27.2007 @ 5:37 PM
Hard plastic film canister with uncooked couscous = best shaker ever.

("What is this 'film canister' of which you speak?")

Upside-down plastic bottle from a water fountain makes a nice boomy conga, I stuck a rubber ball in the end for more sustain.


Jun.27.2007 @ 5:39 PM
The ol buckets and drumsticks!

Jun.27.2007 @ 5:41 PM



Jun.27.2007 @ 6:02 PM
You may find some of Len Lye's kinetic art interesting and noisy.

Jun.27.2007 @ 6:22 PM
I've been wanting to record a large (about 8" square) metal railing at the train station near my apartment. Mainly I want to sample it to generate an IR for reverb uses. I just can't decide if I want to mic it with a piezo / contact mic, or something more standard. I'm kind of thinking of using a pair of these old ElectroVoice dynamics I've had forever with one mic on either side. I'd have to do the recording at about 4 in the morning though to avoid having too much background/traffic noise.

Jun.27.2007 @ 7:13 PM
Pierre Bastien (had a release on rephlex a while back) does some pretty amazing electro-mechanical type stuff.

link [www.pierrebastien.co...]">link [www.pierrebastien.co...]


Jun.27.2007 @ 8:43 PM

Junk in the dryer was kind of randomly rythmic. Start small then add more. I used to haul one around to play live with a 'percussion' ensemble.

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