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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Royal Enfield heard in music by Children of the Drone

A Royal Enfield motorcycle was one of the curious "instruments" played by the talented musical collective The Children of the Drone during their 10th Anniversary Drone-a-Thon in the UK.

I've been listening to their haunting and weird sounds since a fan of the music, screenwriter and wit Douglas Kalajian, alerted me that a Royal Enfield was listed among their instruments.

Other instruments listed were more familiar, but don't ask me about the Kaoss Pad, mandola, submerged gong, Kaossilator, hang or theremin. I will say that, together, they sound wonderful.

The Children of the Drone (the name was chosen with a random band-name-generator) don't drone at all. They harmonize in a gentle, thought provoking way, making them the ideal sound by which to blog. Lyrics are few, but often quite funny:

"You know, Hell is just over there, just over the horizon."

"I didn't know that. Looks like a jolly good place. I might pop over there myself one day."

"I been there. Nice in Hell. I been there."

This is followed, I thought, by the thump of the Royal Enfield, "played" by musician James S. I hear it at about 19:26 in this piece. But that may be just my imagination, and the effect of the music, which is perfect for anyone who enjoys the beat of a Royal Enfield motor.

Drone-a-Thon, with James S. at right. He "played" the Royal Enfield.
The Children of the Drone is based in Exeter, in the UK.

Music from their Drone-a-Thon was posted online Aug. 14, 2011 by member Matthew Watkins on The Spring blog.  He writes:

"This was out at James S's farmhouse a few miles west of Exeter. The original idea was to celebrate 10 years of COTD with a non-stop 10-hour Drone session! We were planning to play noon until 10 p.m. As it happened, it wasn't nonstop (we had a few civilised breaks to converse and imbibe), and we started a bit late, but the session, from first notes/beats played to last, was only 15 minutes short of 10 hours. James S and I recorded the whole thing, with a relay setup involving both of our Zoom H2's."

Matthew disagrees with me about where the Royal Enfield comes in. Here's his description of how it happened:

"It was a beautiful moment. You've seen the photos so you can picture the surrounding — sunny day, rolling Devon hills. James (bike owner) slipped away unnoticed during the jam, and, next thing we knew he was cruising up the down-sloping lawn towards us with a huge grin, reving his bike. As you'll hear it really livened up our playing at that point too."

Matthew says you hear the motorcycle at about 31:20 of this piece. If it's there, I would have said it was at 30:20.

Give it a listen and let me know what you hear.

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