As I am always on the lookout for musical delights, I came across the magnificent musical sculpture “Aeolus”: an Acoustic Wind Pavilion by Luke Jerram, and after listening to the incredible sounds generated by the pavilion I contacted Luke and proposed my idea to make a virtual instrument of his work and to my delight, he gave me the thumbs up to the project and asked me to share the link of my finished work with him.
I looked into the history of Luke’s creation and the ideas behind his work for the sculpture and then started to work on the samples and bring in the natural elements of nature too.
I worked many hours extensively on the samples and placed layers with various changes to the frequencies with modifications to the LFOs, I then added time stretch to some samples and added EQ with some elements of reverse audio.
I wanted to keep to the original sounds so I then placed them in the mix with the newly created sounds and added more ambient nature sounds, this worked surprisingly well with some great sounding results.
The overall result was sounding soundscapes and pads and as an added bonus I sampled an old Santoor instrument that would work well with the acoustic pavilion.
You will find on the top keys colored orange the Santoor instrument with a corresponding colored volume.
On the light brown keys, you will find the various soundscapes that are controlled by the 6 volumes and panning controls.
To the left side of the GUI, you will find 2 controls (Birds & Wind) these allow you to add some natural ambient nature sounds.
Many thanks go to Luke Jerram for creating a wonderful sculpture and allowing me to express his work in this virtual musical instrument.
Acoustic Wind Pavilion
Reviews for Acoustic Wind Pavilion
Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!
Lots of resonances!
If you are looking for layers upon layers of resonances, this might be it. It's a single patch with 6+2 layers of sounds, featuring this "metallic" kind of ambience, as if you took a bell body and infinitely stretched it. This is probably because of the percussive nature of the Santoor. And speaking of that, the separately coloured Santoor section sounds great, and works really well with the included Dynamic Range knob.
The +2 mentioned earlier refers to the Birds and Wind layers which are honestly great and can give a good twist to any music track just by themselves.
The GUI lets you control the volume all these layers, with the extra PAN setting for the main 6 ambient ones. This means you can mix them however you want according to your taste.
The photo and video didn't give me any sense of scale, so I looked it up and it turns out that the arch is about 4 metres high, and then there are all those tubes (tuned to the Aeolian scale, of course) on the outside. So, it is big, with a couple of metres of headroom over your head as you walk through it.
Hearing the sounds in context sets the scene beautifully. The bird sounds and the blustery wind are the perfect backdrop for a varied set of the many different moods of this piece of musical sculpture. Some of the sounds are metallic, some are bell-like, some sound like bowed chimes, and more. There are also some more ambient noise and environmental noises, which give a real sense of the size and scale of the sculpture. At the top end of the keyboard is a complementary Santoor, whose bright hammered string sound contrasts perfectly with the sounds from the arch.
The UI would be improved with a little adjustment here and there - with the default sizing, the pan sliders would work better if they were moved up by about 10 pixels, so that they do not interfere with the vertical sliders that control the arch sounds (and the vertical sliders can get lost against the background photo...). The labels for the 'Birds' and the 'Wind' also overlap slightly when the UI is at its smallest setting, but again, you just need to resize the window... I now feel guilty, because I'm going to be seen as being cruel and picky here, and these are tiny blemishes...
My suggestions for a few minor UI adjustments should not in any way be seen as diminishing this striking capture of an amazing musical sculpture. I suspect that the real thing is a very impressive and compelling artwork, and this virtual instrument goes a long way towards conveying some of the imposing presence of this sculpture. There's a lot of time and effort that has been expended in creating this virtual instrument! The samples are long and varied, and there's a lot of variety and moods.
Pavilion by name, musical by nature, and right at the 'rare and unusual' end of the musical instrument spectrum! You definitely don't hear virtual instruments like this every day, and I now want to go and see/hear the real thing!