A Lithophone dating from 1840, The Skiddaw Stones are composed of 61 tuned and shaped rocks, made from rare hornfels stone, found in Cumbria, England. Hornfels is said to have a superior tone and longer ring than the more commonly used slate.
The Stones currently reside at the Keswick Museum , who very kindly agreed to let us take to a studio for the recording.
Two different sets of mallets were used to laboriously capture large sets of velocity hits, then an extra articulation was recorded - the sound of the head of the wooden mallet being scraped across the stone surface - a surprisingly haunting and resonant sound.
The result is a truly bewitching instrument, one that sounds truly ancient, even older than it is. Totally unique rock music.
The Skiddaw Stones were created by Joseph Richardson, a stonemason and musician, it took almost thirteen years to collect and shape enough individual notes of hornfels to make an eight-octave range. The stones were taken from Skiddaw, one of the highest mountains in Cumbria. The massive task of assembling this instrument consumed Joseph so absolutely that he and his family were reduced to poverty. Once complete, Richardson and his sons toured Europe as The Rock, Bell and Steel Band, and even performed at Buckingham Palace, by command of Queen Victoria.
The main instrument features envelope and filter controls for shaping the sound.
The effects panel features a custom KSP ensemble effect, as well as convolution reverb, Phaser, delay, compression and saturation.
The KSP Jammer is a deceptively simple generative arpeggiator. It plays sequences like any arpeggiator, but these eveolve over time; you can select how much the notes and cotaves vary within the seqeunce, as well as a restricting the sequence to a certain key.
The Skiddaw Stones in the Keswick Museum
The texture of the heavy rock is clearly visible in this shot
Chris Stones playing the Skiddaw Stones at the sampling session
Skiddaw: the mountain where the rock was collected.
|KONTAKT LIBRARY SPECS|
2.5 GB Library - 24 bit 44.1khz stereo (4,920 samples)
12 Velocity layers, 5 round robin layers
3 articulations : Wooden Mallets, Rubber Mallets and Scraped stone.
30 Sound design presets
Full KSP front panel control with assignable MIDI
KSP Jammer generative arp. module
Compatible with Kontakt 3 or later - Full version of Kontakt required.
This is not a Kontakt Player instrument. This means that you do need to own the full version of NI Kontakt to use it. It will only run in the free Kontakt Player in DEMO mode, for 15 mins.
If you are are an NI Komplete user, then you should have a full version of Kontakt.
System Requirements: Requires Kontakt 4.2.4 or later, Logic 9 or higher