Tuesday, January 05, 2010
If you are interested please go to www.inersouster.ca
I would love to hear what you have to say about it.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
This was a Junkstrument I built for a play called Petrichor. My job in the play was instruments and set design along with some foley work. I will be posting all of the foley junkstruments soon.
This was built from my nephews old bike, a lovely brass candy dish, the cast metal bass of a floor lamp, and high tension steel strip that goes thwap. Very simple to build, dosen't do very much aside from thwapping, but does that thwapping well.
Keep that thwapper thwapping.
Monday, August 24, 2009
A new hybrid I built for the relaunching of a play called Reesor. Unfortunately the Ragga can only be played by David William McEathron and he was unavalible for thos production. I will be filling the roll and decided something simple would be best. Basicly the banjo that was donated by The Kensignton Hillbillies and the neck was kicking around from and old busted ukulele I had lying around. In this image you can see Andrew Penner and how he is when doing musical direction for a play.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Friday, August 08, 2008
The FemBots began as a home recording project of Dave MacKinnon and Brian Poirier and their debut, Mucho Cuidado (2000), featured songs written and performed on power tools, toys and broken down thrift store instruments. The duo quickly carved a unique space in the Toronto music scene bringing their post-industrial folk songs to the stage using tape loops and reel-to-reel machines mixed with often frantic live performances.
Their critically acclaimed second release, Small Town Murder Scene (2003), adopted a more atmospheric approach with traditional instrumentation and soulful laments. The third FemBots record, The City (2005), built on this earlier work while taking it up several notches with banging piano chords, catchy choruses, soulful vocals, swinging guitars, woven strings and horns. The City – that landed on several top ten lists for 2005 – pushed the stark black and white vision of their earlier albums into full technicolor.
The FemBots originally envisioned their fourth album Calling Out (2008), as an entire album using an assortment of junkstruments, musical instruments created from garbage by artist Iner Souster. Eight months into the project it became clear that the junkstruments were simply too unpredictable and too difficult to work with to sustain an entire album. Rather than scraping the project entirely, the FemBots used the junkstrument instrumentals they had recorded as rhythm tracks, the rock and roll chassis that the rest of the songs are built on.
Calling Out also marks another departure for the FemBots. This is the first time Dave MacKinnon and Brian Poirier have collaborated with other musicians during every stage of the writing and recording process. In the past MacKinnon and Poirier wrote the songs, then brought in other musicians to fill out the arrangements. With Calling Out the songs were built up from improvisations with Iner Souster and drummer Nathan Lawr.
The result is a collection of pop and rock song built on a foundation of odd sounding home made instruments, resulting in their most straightforward and strangest record to date.
The FemBots have drawn comparisons to Califone, My Morning Jacket, Latin Playboys and Wilco but their sound is not easily categorized. Influenced by a wide range of music - from Rock ‘n Roll, Blues, Soul, Country, and Folk - they continue their genre bending approach, honing a new style from the old. With each new album the FemBots transform in ways unforeseen, yet strangely familiar.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
This is number two in the new microphone department, and slightly more authentic in appearance then the Funnel Mic. I built this for a secret project that I alluded to in my last blog posting based on images I found online of microphones from around 1880 to 1920.
I used an old 510 microphone I bought years ago for about ten dollars. It had been sitting in a metal box in the spaceroom almost immediately after I purchased it so I really didn’t feel bad about ripping it out of its casing. The base of the microphone is from one of the many old useless brass instruments I also have laying around the spaceroom. So in a way I am clearing out the old junk and making new and wonderful junk in the process. Sometimes I find this to be a good exercise when the creative juices aren’t flowing as well as I would like. This goes for the strainer on the back of the microphone as well. For years I have been collecting old kitchen utensils and it hasn’t been until recently that I have discovered a use for them. The face plate was actually from an old busted microphone I took apart years ago to use the body for one of my Fauxbots. If only I knew then what I know now, but I guess it’s always better could regret something you have done, then something you haven’t …Feel free to fill in the next line. There is an output jack and an on/off switch that were salvaged from one of the many broken electronics that get sent my way. As far as the two metal rings that round the face of the microphone I have no idea where they came from, sometimes the spaceroom just gives me gifts.
Again, much like the Funnel Mic I have no idea if this will work in a live setting. Years ago I had the brilliant idea of getting rid of both my amps. I think it one of those I suck at music moments why do I want this stuff taking up space in the spaceroom. If somebody knows what I was thinking please let me know.
Over and out.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This is the year that I have decided to go back to working with a few electronics in my instruments. After learning as much as I have in the ongoing process of recording an album in the studio I have now decided to turn my attention to live performance. A few months ago I was contacted by some friends who asked me if I would like to be part of a new project. At this time I don’t want to go into the details of this project mainly because none of us are sure what exactly those details are. All I can tell you is that it involves the turn of the last century, some thespians, an animator, and my instruments.
I am experimenting with a few different microphone configurations using all the old mics I have picked up over the years. None of them are exceptional great so tearing them apart isn’t really a big deal for me. Some have been taken out of telephones, kid’s toys, or crappy musical instruments made of plastic that have all but died under my curious tampering.
I built the funnel Mic using parts from a few old brass horns I had scattered about, and some hand made aluminum swirls. The microphone is mounted fairly close to the mouth of the horn and I am hoping it will be good for picking up stringed instruments. Testing has yet to be done on any large scale. One of the side effects was the way the mic inside picked up the sound of the swirls. It is jammed into the horn as far as it will go, touching the metal a full 360 degrees. It now seems to be acting much like a contact mic would. My only fear is that it may feedback easily at very low levels.
Some time after the Funnel Mic was finished I got the idea of building a similar piece, but this time placing a much smaller microphone at the other end of the horn in the hopes of creating a more tinny sound. Perhaps they could be used in conjunction with one another.
When I build it I will let you know.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I am still very much on a percussive kick lately. I keep going through the spaceroom finding all these different metal bowls, cups, and bells that I have been collecting from my travels throughout
I built this instrument as part of an ongoing project I have been working
on with my good friends the Fembots. For those of you that don’t know, we have been working on an album now for quite
some time. Over this period of time I have learn many things about the construction of Junkstruments, and the convenience of transporting these instruments.
Some of the materials in this instrument include a kettle straight from our stove top, candle holders, metal lids, serving bowls, drink coasters, disk breaks, and of coarse a had to throw in a few salad bowls.
Monday, February 25, 2008
This is one of my attempts at making an instrument that is road worthy. Something I can pack away in a box that can easily be situated safely into a touring van. Right now if you try and move any more then four instruments a time you’ll end up with cacophony of stings and fridge parts that sound slightly better than when I perform live.
The “Swirl” as I will call it from now on was made from a busted hi-hat stand. A ribbed metal vase, and six handmade aluminum swirls. On the top there is an aluminum ring that guides the swirls around the vase. Below that sits a cymbal I found at the dollar store. Not the greatest of sounds but it is more about the swirls in this one.
Basically the swirls run up and down the vase scraping along side its ribs and flicking off the tops and bottom to get more of the swirls chimes.
I am still up in the air about the sound it produces, sometimes it can be a bit harsh, and then sometimes I think harsh is good.
I guess I will have to wait till my next trip up north and get the word from the professionals.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
My plan is to start with a few that are simple but reliable instruments that can be used in a live setting without fear of it falling out of tune or snapping in half, or snapping in half and then falling out of tune.
As some of you may know I have been working on an album with a band called Fembots. We have been recording for about a year now and getting some great results. Over that year I really had the opportunity to see the instruments in action. This has helped refine what I was building, or rather Brian telling me it was crap helped refine what I was building. In the studio there is much room for error. Often I found myself banging away on an instrument for five to ten minutes only to watch Dave cut it down to about ten seconds and make it into a loop. I would ask Dave about this and all he would say is that I needed the practice. He reminds me of my piano teacher I had as a small boy. She was a most evil cow. The point is that in the studio little bits can be added here and there, things can be altered and fixed up, live on stage is another matter all together. As I say these new instruments have to be reliable and sound good. For the next few months I am going to build things around the album with the idea of touring in mind. I may rebuild old instruments that we used in recording, or I might just try to build new to get a sound we already have, this time without the aid of a computer and sound technician.
I am looking forward to what this year will bring.
Having said all that I can now finally get to the Electric Chicken Cooker Thumb Piano, and it’s extremely simple construction. Maybe after you build a certain amount of thumb pianos from junk the universe give you a little break and make it just a bit less frustrating. I think that was the case for this instrument. Thumb pianos have always given me a hard time. There are a great many thumb piano carcasses in the spaceroom right now as I speak. It is the mounting of the tines that always makes me snap. This time though I used a mount that I recovered from a junction box. It has threaded screws already in place and a pre-drilled hole you can use to attach it to what ever face plate you like. I have a thing for chicken cookers so I went with that. The tines are from a street sweeper that Dave had collected so many years ago. They are strong and flexible, but thin. For years I was using rake tines, but they are a bit too thick and everything always sounded a bit flat. The back end of the tines has been swirlafied which slightly changes the sound if you pluck it from behind. I might experiment with this further I think it warms the sound up a bit, but I don’t want to chance it on this piece.
Inside there is a simple contact mic, a volume knob and a three quarter inch jack. All of it is very simple in its construction, but extremely effective in its sound.
Friday, February 01, 2008
The Tin Can Thumb Piano was inspired by a work room full of material I was given after my wife’s father passed away. These are materials that most people would consider to be of no use, outdated, or just down right garbage. Odd little bits of this and that, a mind boggling assortment of rusted nuts, bolts and screws that I can waste hours on sorting. Basically things that most people don’t seem to think have any value emotionally or financially. I love finding a machined piece of something completely foreign to me. It opens up an entire world of possibilities, and a new place for my mind to wander while I figure out where I am going to store all of this stuff before my wife kicks my ass.
I have always enjoyed placing my father’s things into my projects, and through him my grandfather’s things as well, it gives me a strong feeling of connection to my Dad, and an introduction to a man whose name I share, but know so little about. In this way my father is still a very big part of my life. Unfortunately I can now do this with Jen’s father’s things as well, and I am getting to know him in a completely new and wonderful way.
It is interesting to compare the pieces from both there lives. There are so many similarities between them in the things they held on to. Is this just products and mindsets from there times, or were they just similar in work and life.
There will be many things over the next few years that will have little pieces from there lives incorporated into mine. When that happens I will find a way to document what they added to the piece.
Before I forget and sign off, the instrument sounds great.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
This is made from dull reciprocating saw blades I took from Brains house. It has a deeper tone to it then any of my other thumb pianos, but I am not so crazy about the way this one looks. I am most defiantly in a metal stage right now. Who knows, those blades could be on a tin can in the near future.