I’ve approached the Vit S guys about working with fraulien Karen and doing “Stilled life with intercontinental remote controlled mail dirigables” but have yet to recieve a reply but thats not stopping me going forward and building an instrument for her… if we end up doing something.
Might be a case of the curators running the farm and not listening to the little piggies in the mud, but whats so unusual about that these days?
So this is the instrument so far.
It’ll have microphones attached to the top…
and each mic on a momentary and then mixed with a kinda wind machine thing which is a white noise going though a filter similar to a wah which is movable bandpass. Once mixed the signal is split to a bypass and a set of eight strings, tuned to a note each of a known scale, or otherwise, which has an amp feeding a sustainer to make the strings vibrate. This is picked up by a normal magnetic wire wound guitar pickup, a humbucking one split into two, and then the output mixed with the bypass signal.
Then it going into another amp, and a bypass, that sends the signal out through speakers onto the spring mounted sheet, which has piezo’s attached to it and the signal is mixed and goes out.
Karen would stand behind it with the mics at the right height and be able to push the momentaries for each mic, just like a stewardess on a zeppelin, while also having the two controls of the windmachine to play and the mix knob to balance or unbalance those two variables.
The signal can then be sent, or partial parts thereof, to the strings where notes will set particular strings in motion to be picked up and mixed again, another knob, and then the reverb does it’s job which again the original signal and the reverb are controlled with one knob. While all this is going on the string tuning is accesible while the strings themselves can be reached as also is the sheet of the reverb.
So it’s all for a specific show but if that doesn’t eventuate, and I have no idea whether it will or not, it doesn’t matter because the exercise of deciding to do something for someone else to use, who I’ve watched performing a little bit, takes me away from what I’d normally do for myself. With instruments I build to play the inter-connections between elements are obvoius to me but, and I’ve let others play my instruments to gauge this, they aren’t so obvious to others, so in this instrument, kinda designed for a specific person and use, has allowed me to approach things from a completely different angle.
The vitamin S thing has even had workshops about different ways to approach performance, taking on personnas, reviewing storylines, etc and here I am using the approach to distance self from self to build the instruments… and I like it.
Apart from this I’ve mostly finished the little tube amp.
and it was a real chore, but an enjoyable one, making all that stuff fit into such a tiny space. All I’ve got to do now is put on the grill then rip it down and sand the shit out of the outside and then oil it up. I contemplated carving the rimu and oak so that it looks like its a squashed carton with ripples and folds all the way across and around it but I don’t think I can be assed with any of that and I’ll just put a grill on the front and that’ll do until a quieter time when my workshops are tidied up and I’m well beyond this super mess I’ve created with these weeks of building and having no cash.
But this Comedian fellow may be good fun, pun intended, because he wants to use a digi looper and a bunch of instruments for his act and it seems like I’m just the man to sort out his kit for him. For the difference of the price of the looper he was looking at, an RC20, and the price of that which will do, the RC2, I should be able to mic, mix and make simple to setup, what he needs to do his job.
I find it really interesting that to work conventionally and buy mic’s preamps and mixers to be able to get signal into the loopers is a very tedious, space eating and expensive task for people who want to use loopers… unless they are already in a band and have acess to this stuff and the accepted setup time it takes to get it all together.
What the problem is is that the digi loopers aren’t only appliable to the band on a stage conventionality and they are somewhat of an anachronism to it, even though they are developed for it. They are more akin to the ipods and blackberries that the youth of today take for granted and as such they, the loopers, are becoming of interest to many outside that hallowed world of loud bands and sweating fans and afficienados.
But the trouble is the interconnectivity of the ipods and suchlike, the bluetooth thing, is not there with the loopers which are still encumbered with the 6.5mm jack and the metres and metres of cabling and big butty gear of the machismo world of the boy bands… but the looper actually shares more in common with the cellphones and ipods. It’s kind of like a modern sports car that they’ve put tractor wheels onto.
Now with someone like a Comedian wanting to use a looper it stands to reason that having half an acre of patch leads and a rack of equipment to do his job is just complete nonsense but then he finds me, or I found him because I was the one who had the nutty old Italian harmonium for sale, who has been working in vitamin S where the conventional musical world is still somewhat prevalent but the idea of putting three people together into a small space with there own gear and doing it quickly has alot more akin to a vaudville presentation or school play than it has to ticket buying and 164 trucks worth of stuff for a U2 show.
Lucky me huh? though I’m not even contemplating a commercial venture making lots of little simple amps and preamps and mixers I do know that commerciality has to be completely stupid if they haven’t seen the potential market that is slowly growing into something that needs feeding.
I’m quite content to see it as an interesting set of problems that need solving and I’m quite glad I’m somewhat in the right place at the right time to have a go at it and as usual what the market gets, a few had years before and are already doing something else.
Harmoniums maybe? So I fixed the other one, the Italian job, and thats made me somewhat interested in the real McCoy eastern one that I have for sale on Trade Me.
As you can see it’s quite the interesting piece with all those keys. springs and valves.
While inside it’s rows of reeds and chambers and stops.
But then again, I have got the old church one to keep me busy if I ever need a reed fix.