Cyclepunk instruments: Concept to Realization
The lethelium is an instrument I invented. It consists of a bike wheel rim, guitar tuners and guitar strings. The Prototype 4 has a resonator built out of copper mugs. I had to raid 4 different dollar stores around the city to make it! I play it with modified chopsticks and sometimes with a violin bow. I later added guitar pickups, a volume knob and a jack. Oddly enough I didn't sit down and sketch out concepts for this one or even the original. Half of building for me is a lot of trial and error and getting your hands dirty.
The lethelium prototype V is actually older than the LPIV, but I upgraded the LPIII with tone and volume knobs, a jack and guitar pickups . It needs further refinement but it's much lighter and I play it mostly with my hands.
I needed a chariot to house the lethelium and coolerdrums- city djimbes made from wheel rims and water cooler bottles-and happened on an abandoned stroller. It can also house a small amp in front where baby's feet would go. Figured The Crowdbringer was an apt name
The BMX bass was made from an discarded BMX. I had a lot of help figuring out the logistics with James from JK Custom Guitars, funny enough, our bass players is also named James! It sounds great  but still needs refining.
Building instruments from scratch with no formal education in anything related to mechanics engineering or music was a creative challenge! But growing up in a generation where one had to learn to take apart cassette tapes to fix them and playing with Lego and Transformers really helped me understand how things work.
Sketchup saves me a lot of time. I started sketching ideas out but combing elements fro the 3D warehouse  and building the pieces I needed proved to help iteration move faster. It also allowed me to see things from different angles and solve problems quicker. I'm a huge Star Trek fan and my favorite ship by far in all of sci-fi is the Constitution Class Enterprise from the films. Why? Because it looks incredible from every. single. angle. So I try my best to keep to that philosophy when designing and building anything while also balancing functionality
In building The Conundrum ( affectionately called this by Eric The Rhythm Keeper) we discovered what worked and what didn't. For example we didn't get the sound I wanted out of the plastic 55 gallon barrel-which I was planned to be a metal one-but they're kinda hard to find and I had no plans to buy one!

Fortunately when I ran down to Steve's music store in Montreal, they had the exact kick drum skin and rim size I needed. This made for an unconventional kit as Eric would have to stand while playing. This was also intentional as in the world of Z'Isle everyone needs to be able to escape and/or move things as fast a s possible in case a frenzy of feeders show up! Adding wheels and casters at the rear also made the conundrum easy to move for rehearsals and storage. A kick was built and a second skin added to the bottom of the barrel, but not in enough time to test and tweak for the show. Next time!
Cyclepunk instruments: Concept to Realization
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Cyclepunk instruments: Concept to Realization

1
30
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Published: