The Skiddaw Stones
The Oldest Lithophone
The Skiddaw Stones are probably the most unusual and certainly the oldest instrument that Soniccouture has sampled.
A Lithophone ( litho = stone, phone= voice ) dating from 1840, The Skiddaw Stones are composed of 61 tuned and shaped rocks, made from the 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 Worlds First Rock Band
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.
Recording The Stones
The Stones currently reside at the Keswick Museum , who very kindly agreed to let us take them off-site, to a studio for the recording. As the stones are insured for £350 000, this was no casual undertaking. Every stone was carefully wrapped and packed in custom made flight-cases for transportation. Once at the studio, 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.
More info about the Stones can be found on the Keswick museum website
Compatible with Kontakt 3, 4, 5 - Full version of Kontakt required.
Logic 8 or above
Live Intro or Live Version 8.1.3 or higher