commentary, images and sounds
in 1998 our tour down the westcoast brought us to Santa Cruz and the renown statue of Thomas Jefferson Scribner.
This soothing mechanical sound is produced using the treadle from an old Singer sewing machine now paired with an Indian Head spinning wheel. Spinning for an extended time wrapped in this rhythmic acoustic drone seems to slow down time. The wool is from a sheep named Emily who lives in Warkworth, Ontario.
Waves rippling and splashing within deep stone crevices, waters edge, Hornby Island, BC
how to make that beautiful sound on a bottle
The Minden Duo uses glass bottles for many of their compositions, all sizes and shapes of bottles can be used each producing a unique timbre. Carla plays most of the bass jugs because of her training as a horn player:
“I find the best one gallon cider jugs in Canada are supplied by “Triple Jim’s”. The cider is a bit on the sweet side, but the bottle itself has the best taper in the neck, and the opening at the top is not too wide. This makes for a better, more focused tone. I find some cider jugs have an excessively wide mouth and neck making them very difficult to create a clean sound and requiring huge amounts of air, only to produce an overly diffused tone. Exceptional lung power is already a basic requirement to play even the most optimum one gallon jug if you want to have even the slightest amount of sustain. And I don’t mean that one needs to emulate the sustain of a piano. We want a bottle to sound like a bottle. But do take care not to make life overly difficult by playing an inferior jug.”
Flying Horses with an ensemble of 69 tuned glass bottles and….stay tuned
The mail box started singing when we mailed a letter today.
When Carla was young her visits to her grandmother introduced her to sounds she wasn’t familiar with; like her grandmother’s telephone. Fancy and ornate it seemed like a treasure. This old phone now sits in our studio and sometimes the sound of its dial, the mechanical wind-up and reedy release might inspire a musical idea. We included this sound in “Waltz” the last track in What Is Your Name
It’s the longest day of the year today which was the working title for a piece we composed many years ago on the longest day of the year. The song opens with a plaintive melody heard on blown glass bottles and the twangy acoustic of repetitive plucked old guitar strings (a musical invention – “string box ” by Dewi Minden as a gift to her father when she was twelve) then the easy voice of Carla Hallett singing an elegiac ode to the natural world. The sounds of tuned glass milk bottles and cider jugs played by Andrea and Dewi Minden provide the quirky textured ground of this dark environmental song. The piece was lovingly recorded at Vancouver’s historic Mushroom studios with engineer Simon Garber and released as “Alone Together” in 1992 on the album “Long Journey Home” by the Robert Minden Ensemble.