Musique Métallique

“The dim suggestion of my workshop fell away, there was a fleeting impression of scaffolding… then I was in the open!”

No, not French for ‘heavy metal’ music, but music made using real metal objects, a very specific kind of Musique Concrète, a compositional technique employed by the likes of early avant-garde composers such as Delia Derbyshire (Doctor Who) and Louis Barron (Forbidden Planet). I’d always had this idea that here should be a lot of metallic clangs, rings and clattering going on in the music of ‘The Time Machine’ and when builders erected scaffolding around my house so they could repair the roof, well, the opportunity was too good to miss—I had to make a few recordings of the sound of scaffolding. That scaffolding didn’t come cheap and I was going to make the most of it while it was there.

Piezo contact pickup
Piezo contact pickup.
Solid-state field recorder
Here’s a shot of my trusty Marantz solid-state field recorder – a giant leap forward of the UHER 4200 and Sony Pro Walkman.
Tools of the trade.
Here are a few tools of the trade, hammer, mallet and spanners that I experimented with to hit the scaffolding to get the ‘right’ kind of clanging noises I was after.

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