Bow. String. Gourd. Bliss.
July 5, 2013 11:02 PM   Subscribe

You think you need more than one string to make some totally captivating, subtly expressive and utterly soulful music? Well, you wrong!
posted by flapjax at midnite (42 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
See also: (again, from Cambodia) Homemade board zither and vocal.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:04 PM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


While we're on the subject: Prescott Church Bass Dumpster Diving
posted by linear_arborescent_thought at 11:33 PM on July 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Man, that's a horrible sound. Sounds like strung piano wire wound around a rusty dumpster.
posted by w0mbat at 11:43 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sounds like strung piano wire wound around a rusty dumpster.

And.. that would be... bad? Gosh, that's one of my favorite sounds.

Especially the rusty ones. Adds a lot of richness and depth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:04 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh. Looks like a berimbau, sounds completely different.
posted by Nomyte at 12:07 AM on July 6, 2013


Huh. Looks like a berimbau

Yes, this one* looks like a berimbau too, but again, different. You'll note that the player from Zambia in that clip is also using a stick to play the instrument (like the berimbau) but he gets three basic notes out of it, as opposed to the more usual two notes from the Brazilian berimbau.

The Cambodian fellow in this post, however, is obviously playing entirely more sophisticated melodies from his one-stringed gourd-resonator instrument.

Personally, I love all of it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:16 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say it's a horrible sound but "subtly expressive and utterly soulful" is wishful thinking.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:32 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


wishful thinking.

All musical opinions are entirely subjective. You disagree with my assessment, that's fine, I have no problem with that. But characterizing anyone's statement regarding their impression of music, any music, as "wishful thinking" is unfortunately closed-minded and very condescending.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:36 AM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let the naysayers have their fancy two or three strings and their Justin Biebers and their boombox radios - I personally like the hypnotic groove that man is plunking out.
posted by item at 12:44 AM on July 6, 2013


"fancy two or three strings "

Love it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:45 AM on July 6, 2013


Thanks. When you really break it down, there are only two types of music in the world with an electrified fence running between them: there's the side of the fence that this guy is on and then there's the side that Justin Bieber, Whitesnake, and all the other awful stuff is on.

I know which side I plan on building my dream house on.
posted by item at 12:55 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


hint: it's not the side with Whitesnake
posted by item at 12:57 AM on July 6, 2013


One string, but contrapuntal melodies!
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:12 AM on July 6, 2013


I'm with the flapjax, this is badass, super grungy and the harmonics over the bass are rad, he almost gets an auto-wah sort of effect going. Thanks for sharing it, never seen anything like this (berimbaus, sure, but yeah, way different)

Sounds like strung piano wire wound around a rusty dumpster.

I've watched people play pianos that were actually set on fire. I... watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate...

YOUR FAVORITE WEIRD DIY INSTRUMENT PLAYED BY SOMEONE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD SUCKS
posted by jake at 1:47 AM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the way you phrase the FPP:

You think you need more than one string to make some totally captivating, subtly expressive and utterly soulful music? Well, you wrong!

If we are talking about my music making, the optimum number of strings is 0. I am as musical as a rat in a coffee can. Far better to enjoy this guy. Very nice.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:36 AM on July 6, 2013


But characterizing anyone's statement regarding their impression of music, any music, as "wishful thinking" is unfortunately closed-minded and very condescending.

Well, you wrong!
posted by DU at 3:31 AM on July 6, 2013


Wow, he sure knows where that blue note is. Great stuff.
posted by vanar sena at 3:38 AM on July 6, 2013


Well, you wrong!

Heh. I figured somebody'd be along to call me on that!

But I think most would understand that the post framing is a humorous device, not meant to be taken literally. Especially people who've been around this place long enough to know me. Like, for example, you, DU. It's kinda like a while back when I made an FPP on some stamping tube music from the Solomon Islands. I called the post "Better than Radiohead". That was something that anyone who thought about it for a minute, and who halfway knew my posting history here, would realize was, yeah, a joke. Well, anyway...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:52 AM on July 6, 2013


I've played on that instrument (thanks, instrument collector) and making music on it like this guy does is not the easiest task in the world.
posted by ersatz at 3:55 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]




Love the way there's solid rhythm, bassline and melodies coming from one string + some fingers. For cultural reasons his impassible face may hinder reading it as soulful, but for some reason I imagine early blues players wearing a similar kind of dead-pan; to better let the sounds work their magic unaided. Thanks for this!

Metafilter: Well, you wrong!
posted by progosk at 4:37 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the curious, the instrument is known is the kse diev, and apparently only a single master of it survived the Khmer Rouge days, Sok Duch. The performer in the OP is Sinat Nhok, one of his most talented students. It is apparently the most difficult to master of all Cambodian stringed instruments, which I find entirely believable.
posted by tavella at 5:06 AM on July 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pony request: I would like to be able to favorite this more than once please.

What a great site that is! I loved this video for the other things going on besides music.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:37 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my favourite instruments is the erhu, which has only two strings. In the hands of the talented, such a magical sound.
posted by jb at 5:55 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Great post. There's something so haunting about the sound of this instrument, and its ancient history. One can almost hear the millions of souls crying out across time. Thanks for this one.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:38 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another winner, flapjax, but when I read the lead-in, I thought you were going to link us to Eddie "One-String" Jones.
posted by jonp72 at 6:50 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flapjax, I always love your posts.

I believe this is the appropriate time to direct you to Naná's monochord madness.
posted by umbú at 7:28 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, the berimbau has a lesser-known, diddly-bow-y cousin in Brasil called the marimbau.
posted by umbú at 7:39 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Angular banjos sound good to me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:43 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Kyl Kobyz from Kazakhstan almost sounds like feedback without an amplifier, the way that players isolate the harmonic partials.
posted by umbú at 7:59 AM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


when I read the lead-in, I thought you were going to link us to Eddie "One-String" Jones

http://www.metafilter.com/71939/Hey-one-strings-all-you-really-need
posted by ericost at 8:10 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Kyl Kobyz from Kazakhstan almost sounds like feedback without an amplifier, the way that players isolate the harmonic partials.

I love everything about that video, from the sound coming from that instrument to the way it looks to the glorious outfit that one gets to wear while playing it to the expressionless look on her face.
posted by item at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


We saw Robert Plant on tour last month and he had a fantastic player in his band from Zambia who was using one of these instruments, mostly fiddle style, and doing some remarkable things with it that fit right into both the blues/Americana stuff Plant was doing and the more psychedelic/Zeppelin type rock songs he was playing from the old days. It was pretty amazing to watch.
posted by immlass at 10:11 AM on July 6, 2013


I always used to say I could tell a flapjax post in the first four words. Didn't even get past the title on this one. As usual, awesome job you weirdo.

Now dig Lonnie Pitchford.
posted by timsteil at 11:11 AM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did that remind anyone else of Hendrix? I'm not sure what it was about the sound that did it, maybe the control of the wah-ing and pitch bending. Great stuff, though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2013


Also Brushy One String is great.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:10 PM on July 6, 2013


Oh, thanks for this... the website itself seems very interesting,,
posted by nicolin at 3:02 PM on July 6, 2013


Today I got a haircut from an Erhu-playing barber in Chinatown SF.
posted by mike3k at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2013


item: "then there's the side that Justin Bieber, Whitesnake, and all the other awful stuff is on."

Is it weird that I'm 38 years old as of today and I just now realized the band name "Whitesnake" is a dick joke?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:57 PM on July 6, 2013


Also Brushy One String is great.

Indeed!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:48 PM on July 6, 2013


Just for good measure, I'll link here to *all* the one string posts I've made here at Mefi...

Hey, one string's all you really need.
Back to the source
Keep it simple, keep it real.

and my own one string stuff here at Metafilter Music, with diddley bow or mouth bow:

Watched You Drive Away
Riding Your Train
Doo Dah Day
Come On Round Here Baby
That's the Way it Wiggles
Better Take Care of Me
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:07 PM on July 6, 2013


(I'm actually kinda surprised there's only been 3 Mefi posts... somehow I thought I'd made more...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2013


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