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Wednesday
Oct012014

Processes, arty-fartyness and "Welshness".  

I started this blog post last November... and it was called Woodwork and Solenoids.  

Really though it is about materials, processes, "contextual" and conceptual layers.   One of the reasons I liked the idea of starting to make my own instruments is because of ownership.  I created the instrument and therefor I am responsible for every part of the final sound that is created.....kind of like Brian May.    

The other reason though (the arty farty one) is that things can have hidden layers of meaning. If I make a new thing out of something else I can (in a rather post-modern way) super-impose the meaning of one thing in to its new form.  Traditionally meaning within music has been approached through narative, themes, motifs and more prevalantly through the 20th century with the use of "concepts" borrowing from art practice.  I guess that is kind of where I'm going with this work.  I am not a craftsman and don't want to be... I am interested in adding hidden meaning to the final output through how the sounds are made.  

The two examples I have here are the Crwth I started making in 2013 and the clay Udu I have been chipping away at for around the same amount of time.  The Crwth is a very Welsh instrument. This one is made from a piece of scorched Ash that was part of of a fireplace in a Welsh cottage... it was made by me, I have a Welsh birth certificate but don't really speak Welsh... what does this mean? possibly nothing... that's up to the audience.  I kept the scorch marks on the back of the Crwth as a reminder of its old life as a mantlepiece. 

The Udu is made from Ruabon red brick clay.  The same afformentioned non-Welsh speaking man (me) dug it up from the back of Dennis Ruabon brick factory and spent hours powedering and refining it before making it in to an instrument that originates from Nigeria.  It's made with Welsh clay... If Welsh people had been a bit more "percussive" in the past and less vocal could it not be seen as a Welsh instrument? Again that's up to the audience.... I just like the sound it makes.  

Anyway....here's some pics.