instrument-a-day 28: melt (after mineko grimmer)

Instrument-a-day 28: MeltInstrument-a-day 28: Melt (after Mineko Grimmer)

Instrument-a-day 28: Melt (after Mineko Grimmer)

Years ago I was in a gallery show with Mineko Grimmer, who makes sound sculptures of pebbles frozen in ice. As the ice melts, the pebbles drop into a pool or a wooden lattice and make irregular sounds.

I made my own version entirely out of things from my junk drawer: marbles, squashed pennies, old keys and dog tags, and some acorns I was saving in a tiny jar. What does it sound like? I won’t find out until the weather warms up.

Many thanks to Thing-a-Day for inspiring the instrument-a-day project for the second year in a row!

instrument-a-day 27: semi-automatic bass

Instrument-a-day 27: semi-automatic bass

This one didn’t really work out. It was supposed to be a sequel to last year’s automatic tension guitar, but it doesn’t work or sound nearly as good. I’m experimenting with cheap substitutes for the little clapper solenoids I used last year, which are now really hard to find, but so far the results are bad.

And it’s not even automatic! I didn’t get around to rigging up a computer interface, so I’m playing it with the funny little wooden keyboard you can see at the upper right. It sounds like this.

instrument-a-day 26: tiny tuning fork

Instrument-a-day 26: Tiny Tuning Fork

Instrument-a-day 26: Tiny Tuning Fork

Very very tiny. I clamped it in steel pliers so I could use a magnetic pickup to record the sound it made. Slowed down by a factor of eight (down three octaves), it sounds like this.

instrument-a-day 24: mudflail

I found this arboreal flail in a mud puddle in the park, so I glued it to a motor. It keeps the beat pretty well, until it falls apart.

Instrument-a-day 25: Mudflail

It sounds like this. (Video here.)

instrument-a-day 24: mobius music

Instrument-a-day 24: Mobius Music

It’s a familiar tune played upside-down and backwards, and then just backwards, and then upside-down and backwards again. Over and over, forever.

It sounds like this. (Video here)

instrument-a-day 23: nyc sunday morning simulator

Instrument-a-day 23: NYC Sunday Morning Simulator

Instrument-a-day 23: NYC Sunday Morning Simulator

A drum, some antique wind-up motors (from the Aladdin Toy Motors company of Brooklyn!), and leftover wood from the laser whistles combine to give you a simulation of the sound of a peaceful sunday morning in New York City. It sounds like this. (Video here)

instrument-a-day 21: baby shaker

Instrument-a-day 21: Baby Shaker

Good old-fashioned circuit-bending with a baby-rattling device I found in the trash and slightly modified. Magnetic pickup and contact microphone pick up sound in two different ways.

It sounds like this.