Guilted Manse

A project presented by the band Silica Gel. The combination of our homemade instruments is intertwined with how we write music. This presentation of our work in this project is a combination of our song writing mixed with instrument building.
Gilded Age Ghosts Still Plunder the Earth For our Maker Music performance, we are developing a new piece using amplified glass, a custom built pyramid shaped harp, and vocals modified by a homemade leslie rotary speaker. Our piece titled "Guilted Manse", uses numbers from the stock market to determine pitches that are then projected through the pane of glass. These sounds are accompanied by the twanging resonant tones of the pyraharp and rotary modified vocals to achieve the sound of a haunted Gilded Age mansion.

Laura Thomas: voice
Lauren Jones: percussion
Joel Nelson: electronics, amplified glass
Jasper Lee: pyraharp

Full Video:

Side story Pyraharp built by Jasper Lee:

The pyraharp is a sculptural instrument made with an overall hexagonal pyramid shape. Strings of piano wire radiate outward from a central neck with pinblock. The tension of the strings pulling on opposite sides of the neck creates unpredictable tuning schemes where the tuning of one string affects all the others in a dramatic way. There is no set tuning for the instrument, so tuning is an ongoing process every time it is played. The pinblock can be manipulated while plucking or bowing the strings to produce twangy effects. A modified ceiling fan is attached between the neck and hollow base, and the fan can be turned on to pluck the strings mechanically, making it an "Automatic Acoustic Drone Instrument."

**Material: piano wire, zither pins, plywood, baluster, ceiling fan, maple block, paint**


Amplified Glass built by Joel Nelson

The amplified glass is a mix of digital sound with acoustic vibration. I use transducers attached to different shapes of glass causing a timbral effect between the surface contact of the physical material. I was looking for a way to bridge the gap between laptop and acoustic sound. After working with a lot of different objects and trying to create this interplay I found glass to be the best material. The surface allows enough vibration and flexibility that when combined with the transducers has created a relationship between acoustic and digital.The crude homemade instrument has allowed me to explore new ways of making music and expand how I think about sound.

**Materials: transducers, laptop, Various sizes of glass, speaker wire, and audio amplifier**

Silica Gel : Band/Collective
The maker Silica Gel
Silica Gel is an electro-acoustic group equally at home playing in an auditorium or a grimy basement. Coming out of the underground DIY scene of Birmingham, Alabama, Silica Gel's sound is a unique synthesis of early medieval art song with custom electronics and homemade instrumentation. Their debut album radically adapts a series of art songs from the 12th - 14th centuries to serve as contemporary political allegory. Silica Gel is Laura Thomas, Lauren Jones, Joel Nelson, and Jasper Lee

Connect with Silica Gel
How I can help you:
Silica Gel would bring to the Maker Festival some of the most innovative music being created in the South. We are your ambassadors from the country known as Alabama. We can help by spreading the word here and elsewhere and offering a project that is avant garde, yet accessible.
How you can help me:
Being involved in the Maker Music Festival would be very beneficial as a platform to perform with our new experimental group, Silica Gel. We released our first LP in the Fall and are currently working on new material which we'd like to share with this audience. We think our approach to combining homemade and modified instruments with experimental vocal techniques would be well received by your audience, and would be a great chance for us to network and find like minded performers to stay in touch with.