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US sound artist wows Saigon audience with music made from water jugs

US sound artist wows Saigon audience with music made from water jugs

Sunday, May 08, 2016, 14:03 GMT+7

A group of expat musicians, led by a U.S. sound artist, left a stunning impression on Ho Chi Minh City audience by performing music with empty 20-liter water bottles on Saturday night.

Such a one of a kind musical instrument consists of 97 bottles, an interactive sound installation work American multi-genre musician and sound artist Alec Schachner spent nearly a month on creating.

The artwork is being on display during a month-long exhibition at Mai’s Gallery in District 1.

At the venue, 20-liter water bottles were hung from the ceiling by fishing lines and rigged with contact microphones, with the musicians making use of them as percussive and stringed instruments to create interesting and ear-catching sounds.

Schachner deliberately kept water in some of the bottles to create different sounds, while shaping some others like T’rung, a traditional bamboo xylophone used by ethnic people in Vietnam's Central Highlands.

During the free-of-charge show, Schachner, joined by his countryman David Tran, Janel Orbida from the Philippines, and  Frenchmen Julien Masson and Ben Rabillon, left audience in awe with both electronic and acoustic melodies.

Not only by tapping onto the water jugs, Schachner also made sounds by shaking the containers and blowing into them.

The U.S. artist said he was stunned to see local people use big water bottles of 20 liters when he first came to Vietnam. He then also realized that the jugs make funny sounds whenever they are put onto water coolers. All of these led to the idea of playing music from water jugs, he told Tuoi Tre News after the show.

Schachner added that the jugs could create “surprisingly good” resonance sounds as well.

“The installation is to try to give people a new perspective on simple things around,” he told Tuoi Tre News.

“The idea of organizing tonight’s show is to give people chances to see what musicians could do with the installation, and they can be playing as an instrument.

“There is a possibility right there with very simple materials, like the water bottles, some fishing lines and metal cables.”

“I want to make people to open up their ears, listen again and realize these kinds of music around us all the time,” he added.

After the show, the water bottles will continue to be on display from Friday to Sunday at the gallery until May 26.

Visitors are invited to play with the jugs to explore the sound they produce.


Alec Schachner blows into the jugs to make sound. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News


David Tran (R), Janel Orbida (back) and Julien Masson (L) perform with the plastic jugs. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News


Audience including expats and local residents enjoy the show. Photo: Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News


French musician Julien Masson performs with a Vietnamese T’rung – inspired instrument made of water jugs. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News


A close up to the instrument. Photo: Huu Hanh


An over view of Alec Schachner’s water jug installation. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News

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