Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar Theme, Performed On One Of The Strangest Instruments In The World

Sunday Synth Jam: No synths were harmed in this gorgeous performance of the Interstellar Theme, by Hans Zimmer.

The main instrument in this arrangement, by Loup Barrow, is the Cristal Baschet, below, an instrument designed in the 1950’s by brothers Bernard and François Baschet:

The sound of the Cristal Baschet comes from glass rods attached to resonant cones. Stroking the rods creates a sound similar to glass harmonica, but the cones resonate and color the sound in interesting ways.

7 thoughts on “Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar Theme, Performed On One Of The Strangest Instruments In The World

  1. Wow…. Just amazing and very extraordinary…. I like to hear it as a real life-performing act because my loudspeakers have problems with the ‘translation’ of it 🙁

  2. Fine, haunting performance. A few years back, Todd Rundgren said you weren’t generally likely to find someone who had a synthesizer/speaker setup at home. That goes about 50X for this instrument, which is surely a near-one-off not aimed at wide distribution. I’d love to play it & so would you, but good luck there! Home setups are way more common now, but I don’t think a junior version of this is coming anytime soon.

    1. It’s like rubbing the rim of a crystal glass partially filled water up to a certain level for tuning. The glass itself is the resonator. It’s a pretty similar sound and effect.

      You can even do it with a wine glass if the glass is thin enough and your finger is just slightly damp.

      A friend had a very large glass container that when filled with water and rim-bowed made a satisfying low tone.

    2. “Which is surely a near-one-off not aimed at wide distribution.” —Not even close. The brothers continued making glass instruments at their workshop until they died (2014 & 2015). Cliff Martinez used one to score Drive. Concerts are more common in Europe, but they’ve been used by people like Thomas Bloch for decades. For people wanting to mimic these sounds, there are samples & software emulators of glass instruments. http://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/28-rare-and-experimental/g14-glass-works/ historical info: https://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2017/04/the-baschet-brothers http://baschet.org/site/

  3. Thanks for the correction, echorec. I’m aware of Sonicouture (good company), but I didn’t recall Glass Works. That’d be a great candidate for a ROLI. I have friends who have built some useful mallet instruments & resonance boxes in their garages, so I get it, but I let my awe over the craft here step on the fact that more than a few people embrace these instruments. Somehow, its no harder to see someone taking this on in depth than it is to consider using Omnisphere. Big league is still big league.

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