Sdtrk: ‘The kill’ by Joy division
At various points in our lives, my music-making mates and I would regularly vow that we would one day assemble a bucketful of contact microphones, for additional Noise-making weaponry. As you suspect, we never got round to it. But thanks to the Bay of e, now we don’t have to!
Contact Mic Noise Shaker. Masonna Merzbow Whitehouse
This is a noise maker! A shaker with a microphone inside. Plug it into a distortion pedal for a seering wall of noise. Similar to the noise shaker device used by Japanese noise artist Masonnna. Hand built in a sturdy aluminum canister.
‘HAY!’ I can hear you asking. ‘What the hell’s a contact microphone?’ Essentially, it’s a regular mic, only stripped down of its casing, so that all you have is the bit that picks up the sound. You then rewire it so that it plugs directly into whatever your lead is; again, like a regular mic, but since it’s considerably smaller without its housing, you’re free to do more anarchic things with it. You can tape one to the inside of a suitcase, fill it with Cd jewel cases, and shake it about!* You can place one in your mouth!** You can gaffer tape a couple to your bare chest, and have a friend beat the shit out of you!*** The possibilities are limited only by your imaginaaaation.
For a better grasp of a typical contact mic in use, here’s Maso Yamazaki (Masonna) himself, leaping like a spastic, posessed bunny on YouTube. About 1.22 into the video, you can briefly see him throttling it about in his left hand.
Very ace! Kinda makes me want to dust off my effects pedals and four-track again
*as done by Masonna
** I think Jojo Hiroshige of Hijokaidan did this once
***as done by Einstürzende Neubauten