Circulòfon après-Baschet, by Martí Ruiz, 2010
Oscillators: Steel rods connected to a heavy steel ring, insulated from the stand with inner bike tube strips.
Activation: Percussion with wooden mallets covered in tire strips. The rotary system (manual) allows for lots of fun interactions, producing cascading sequences or introducing an element of randomness by spinning it and playing without knowing which rod you will strike.
Radiation: Two hard cardboard cones with fiberglass-resin core pieces offering a clean frequency response, resulting in a quite warm and full sound.
Gamut: This was our first medium size piece, made under the supervision and guidance of François Baschet. Here we tuned the long side of the rods using a conventional pentatonic scale (C,D,E,A,G, in several octaves). The leftover upper segments of the rods accumulated weights in several different regions to explore the multitimbral range with no preconceived idea in mind, just letting intuition and discoveries prevail. The tuning of the longer segments of the rods created a very resonant system, so we can consider all the rods to be resonators of each other, offering a particular consistency to the sound and notable built-in reverberation.
Axolotl Multitimbral Percussion, après-Baschet by Daniel Schmidt, Sudhu Tewari, and Martí Ruiz, 2019
Oscillators: Several iron rods and some straight ones, N-fitting doubly coupled rods, some with weights along their lengths and some short mushrooms, bolted into a massive aluminum gum, suspended on ropes to an external pipe frame on both sides and at the back of the speaker.
Radiation: A hand-folded stainless steel sheet, about 0.8 mm thick.
Gamut: This is also a multitimbral gamut, designed to showcase many different timbral qualities using only 6 pitches from Daniel Schmidt’s harmonic series pelog scale. Some rods’ multiphonic features have been tuned to match two (or even three) tones of that Pelog scale, so we can say we have succeeded in fine tuning the overtones to create a chord or a cluster sound. The piece shows how the same perceived pitch can be presented along with different complex envelopes. One particular innovation we accomplished here is the tuning of both sides of the rods, by precisely cutting the lengths of the rods and adding weights with washers, to obtain more compact oscillating segments on both sides of the gum, thus we have no leftover segments of rods with unintended sounds.
Resonators: Each oscillating element functions as a resonator for the others. The stainless sheet radiator also adds a lot of resonance and reverberation, reacting dynamically to the activation intensity and offering a range from sweet, deep sounds to powerful, overdriven sounds.
Our Axolotl Multitimbral percussion, made in collaboration with Daniel Schmidt and Sudhu Tewari, was shown for the first time at the San Francisco Center For New Music in January 2019.