Kingso Hot or Cold


A lot of contemporary invented instrument makers work with found objects. The idea is to discover interesting sounds in cast-offs and in everyday items. The results are often excellent, but for the most part this approach has not been my style: I usually prefer to think through, design and build from the ground up. But some found sounds really do catch the ear. The stainless steel water bottles that seem to be everywhere these days — particularly the thermally insulated double-walled ones — often make sounds so delicious that I went ahead and assembled this set of them, hung on a rack for playing by percussion. The individual bottles can be tuned, within limits, by adding varying amounts of water, and part of the instrument’s charm is way the movement of the water modulates the tone as the bottles sway. Even with water-tuning, it took some searching to gather a collection of good-sounding bottles capable of covering a suitable range of pitches. Conveniently, the lid screwed on tight prevents evaporation and reduces the need for frequent re-tuning.

In the audio clip, Kingso Hot & Cold is joined by Spin Chimes and Open DTF.

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