Vibrations are all around us all the time, pick up anything and play music and sound, communicate to the world around you. We can find our way in the world through our ears, as well as our eyes or our wallet.
The Old Birrega School has a brand new steel shed where I’m living during this residency. It was put up so recently that there are still lots of construction materials lying about on the red clay earth, in the weeds. Why not start right here, transforming some very local materials into instruments.
The first thing I picked up was a very long steel rebar of the sort to reinforce a cement wall. It was lying in the grass but on being struck it sang–– strange overtones radiating down the length, shimmering phase shift, metalic electronic buzz. In an early electronic music studio of the 50’s or 60’s it would take weeks to get a sound like this.
A bonzai bend in the nearby cypress pine offered a handy branch for suspension and two rebars soon arced the span slowly spinning in the breeze occasionally touching, sparking, arcing sounds. I recorded this with binaural mics in my ears listening hard listening close. Put up a point and shoot video focused on the earth. Done.
There is always an instrument or a sound near at hand waiting to be built. Just look for the gifts around you, they are plentiful. A few minutes later I stumbled on a lampshade size snarl of rebar in the grass which had lovely ringing melodic tones. Playing on this gamelan attached to the wall of the shed as a big reverb resonator, and melodies soon emerged, and nagged by a cloud of flies coming out in the heat and the ringing tones a song emerged as a gift. Here’s a verse.
“when you hear the buzzing in your ears,
you may think the end is near
but if you do and you wait too long,
you’ll never get a chance to sing your song,
I’ll post the song in a few days once the chorus feels sweet. Its all made with found object instruments.