Thursday, October 15, 2009

Antarctic Instruments Part 2

Here are some photos of the instruments we are using in my first few Antarctic compositions.

Brash Ice
Things that produce popping, snapping, cracking, jingling, tinkling sounds a la underwater ice.
Rock slabs from Breaker Island, limpet shells, the Adelie Vertebrae Mobile, and some penguin leg bones (probably the tibiotarsus, and their rounded ends looks like they were gnawed on by skuas or some other predator).

Adelie nesting stones, granite rocks, more penguin bones (femurs), and bowls of melting crushed ice.

Greater Than 20 Knots
Airy, whistly, howly, windy instruments

The Bone Slug- two Adelie leg bones amplified via an Aquarian Audio hydrophone. Played with a violin bow or by pulling string across the bones it produces ominous low tones.

More rocks, of course! There are so many wonderful sounds you can make with them, including the delicate whistly wind that these two Adelie nesting stones emit when rubbed together in just the right way.

The Limpet Spine Instrument (now completed, except for a little cosmetic tweaking)- 10 mounted Antarctic limpet shells which are bowed and brushed with feathers for this piece. I have a whole arsenal of playing techniques that work great on this instrument and I expect to use it in several more of my Antarctic compositions.

The Adelie Synsacrum-
This is the bone at the base of the penguin's spine where the sacrum and several vertebrae are fused together.

Performer Ann Dentel demonstrates how to make gusty sounds by blowing on and through the Synsacrum.

And one more instrument that's not in a piece yet, but it most certainly will be: The Keel, an Adelie sternum bone.
And now it's time to get back to building more instruments and composing more Antarctic music...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Live on stage this Saturday Oct 10th

Come see my first three completed Antarctic compositions this Saturday at Mills College. Together with musicians A.L. Dentel and Cliff Neighbors I'll be performing:

Greater Than 20 Knots- a piece inspired by the mighty Antarctic winds
Brash Ice- explores the spectrum of sounds that ice makes underwater
Lullaby for E Seals- sort of a love song for Antarctica

This will also be the concert debut of several new instruments made with materials I collected at Palmer Station, including the Limpet Shell Spine and three Adelie penguin bone instruments.

We are playing first, so don't be late!

Saturday October 10, 2009, 8pm
Littlefield Concert Hall
Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94613
$15 general, $10 seniors and non-Mills students

Breathtaking works located at the intersection of the natural world and new technologies. Nick Didkovsky performs new solo works for prepared electric guitar, electronics, and software. Krys Bobrowski's works feature everyday objects and invented instruments made from natural materials. Cheryl E. Leonard premieres compositions for amplified natural objects and field recordings from Antarctica.