Exploring experimental instruments with BA (Hons) Sound Arts
Embracing our interdisciplinary approach to thinking and making, academic staff Russell Cleave and Harrison Newman have collaborated to create a range of instruments to showcase the possibilities of noise, sound, and experimental music.
Russell Cleave, Technical Demonstrator - Multimedia Lab, has been a touring musician, recording artist, recording engineer and filmmaker for over 30 years. He’s always had a keen interest in experimental music, alongside manipulating, exploring and researching sounds.
Harrison Newman, Workshop Coordinator - Materials Lab, is a woodworker and contemporary painter who has worked with high-profile artists and organisations across the UK. Harrison is interested in innovative techniques and how traditional crafts and modern technologies can be combined.
We spoke to Russell to find out more about the collaboration, “With Plymouth College of Art’s facilities and workshops we really have the ability to make pretty much anything.
"I'd been really interested in Intonarumori and experimental musical instruments invented and built by the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo. It consists of a single string in a large acoustic box continuously bowed by a circular disk and amplified through a drum skin. There is also a movable bridge control with a lever to change the pitch. The result is a tunable droning sound which is a perfect suspense builder for any film sound design.”
“For the creation of our second machine we made an apprehension engine, invented by Mark Korven, the film score composer. His inspiration for the machine came from his boredom with the overused sound options for the horror genre. He was commissioned to score Robert Eggers ‘The Witch’ (2015) so it was the perfect opportunity to make something new.
"It was great to work with Harrison again adding some extras (a nail violin) to the apprehension engine. We plan to build a second one with a completely new set of sounds.”