Hear the Trippy Mystical Sounds of Giant Gongs

Grow­ing up I thought there were only two uses for gongs. One was for mak­ing one large bonnnnnnng sound for some­thing impor­tant, like the announce­ment of a roy­al ban­quet or the begin­ning of a J. Arthur Rank pro­duc­tion. The oth­er was as a weapon against car­toon animals–it would make a fun­ny sound and their heads would be turned into a pan­cake. How was I to know there was so much more to gongs, espe­cial­ly 80-inch wide gongs that cost around $27,000? Thank good­ness for YouTube, then.

The above video fea­tures Sven aka Gong Mas­ter Sven aka Paiste Gong Mas­ter Sven (it’s not very clear in the descrip­tion) very gin­ger­ly play­ing this mon­ster sym­phon­ic gong, coax­ing out of it men­ac­ing, echo­ing groans and wails straight out of a hor­ror movie.

Just a gen­tle stroke can cause the met­al to vibrate and feed back onto itself. Using a small­er mal­let pro­duces sounds like whale songs. That some­thing so large can make such a stun­ning array of tones, and react to such del­i­ca­cy is fas­ci­nat­ing. (Watch with head­phones on or a good sound sys­tem, by the way).

If that whets your whis­tle, here’s more gong action with musi­cian Bear Love, who man­ages to make his gong sound like some­thing out of sci­ence fic­tion, incred­i­bly creepy. If there’s a ghost sto­ry movie out there with a one-gong sound­track, I’d believe it.

Michael Bet­tine plays the same Paiste gong in a more famil­iar way, by whack­ing it with a big mal­let. It’s impres­sive, and he doesn’t real­ly hit it that hard. “You can feel your inter­nal organs being mas­saged by the vibra­tions,” he says.

Final­ly, Tom Soltron Czarto­rys­ki, slims it down to a 62 inch “earth gong” with its array of inden­ta­tions, and cre­ates a near­ly 10 minute ambi­ent work, which is one expan­sive dose of space music. Groovy and some­times stress­ful, fas­ci­nat­ing and all-encom­pass­ing. Enjoy!

(Note to self: Resolve to find a local giant gong and have a go.)

via Kottke.org

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Mod­ern Drum­mer Plays a Rock Gong, a Per­cus­sion Instru­ment from Pre­his­toric Times

Hear a 9,000 Year Old Flute—the World’s Old­est Playable Instrument—Get Played Again

Punk Dul­cimer: The Ramones’ “I Wan­na Be Sedat­ed” Played on the Dul­cimer

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the artist inter­view-based FunkZone Pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, read his oth­er arts writ­ing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.

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