composer • educator

Prototyping 1: Sound Sculptures

Added on by Carolyn O'Brien.

Michael O'Brien, that brother of mine, and I are up to prototyping sound sculptures and musical instruments. Much of our collaborative process is done by text, short videos, and phone calls since we live far apart. Soon I'll start sharing our work process with the my favorite part, Michael's photos of his coffee napkin sketches which he creates on the fly during work breaks from his day job. These drawings are some of my favorite glee-filled dreams and works of art. 

Down in Texas, Michael is completing a top secret project that we will reveal in Spring 2018. Yesterday up yonder in Illinois, I worked on a prototype for a series of pinwheels that can be played like a panpipe when spun and blown across the tops. You can see that below, but give my performance the benefit of the doubt. I have zero flute breath control (never could do a decent beer bottle solo,) so I'll be asking my wind-instrument-playing betters to help me with these babies when the time comes. I have some other tricks up my sleeve too, but I won't reveal those until I have proof of concept, a phrase and concept Michael has helped me to adopt. I'll be implementing the next steps with these pinwheels this week. I am truly enjoying the experimentation process, especially the part when I get to work with my hands. It's like playing with blocks, tinker toys, etc. So far, I'm having the tinkering time of my life!  

Inventing some instruments to amuse myself and use in future shows. Today I made a prototype for a pinwheel with a crank out of cardboard, dowels, wood stand, and boba straws cut to different lengths and crimped at the ends to create something akin to panpipes.