Synthesist and sound designer Richard Devine let us know about a free sample library that he’s created, based on samples of the Mysterious Ringing Rocks of Montana.
The Ringing Rocks are a unique geological formation that features rocks that ring musically, when taped with a hammer. They are natural lithophones – instruments based on rocks that are struck.
Visiting the Ringing Rocks apparently involves braving bad roads and the occasional bear. Fortunately, Devine made the trek and made field recordings with a Sony PCM-D100.
Here’s a track he made, featuring the field recordings:
Here’s what Devine has to say about the recordings:
Field Recordings of the Mysterious Ringing Rocks/Montana, music made with rocks. Near Butte Montana, and part of the edge of the Boulder Batholith, is a large jumbled pile of boulders, the rocks in this unique geologic formation chime melodically when tapped lightly with a crescent wrench or mallet.
It is believed that the ringing is a combination of the composition of the rock and the way the joining patterns have developed as the rocks have eroded away, though ultimately a concrete scientific explanation has yet to be arrived at. Curiously, if a boulder is removed from the pile, it no longer rings.
Slightly different pitches and timbres emanate from thousands of rocks in the formation, and in theory Butte’s Ringing Rocks could form the basic ostinato for the “Music of the Spheres.”(Musica Universalis)
Devine has created a free Kontakt library, based on his Ringing Rocks field recordings and shared it via Dropbox.
20 thoughts on “Richard Devine Went To Montana And Hit Rocks With A Hammer To Bring You This Free Sample Library”
woah, that was fast! he just did that last weekend 🙂
Well this is great news. Huge lithophone fan here, fairly obscure interest and certainly was not expecting this. Thanks very much Richard, I will make good use of this.
Oh by the way I should have added, any other fans of this should be on the lookout for the millennium old lithophone instrument at the Mayan city of Chichen Itza (which it doesn’t seem anyone has recorded despite them sounding really good), and Luray Caverns in Virginia which has a pipe organ built by a CIA agent which plays a 3 acre sized field of stalactites.
> … and Luray Caverns in Virginia which has a pipe organ built by a CIA agent which plays a 3 acre sized field of stalactites.
+10 but missing a really key part: you hear the organ’s 3-acre spread of stalactites *reverberating around the 64+ acre cavern*. Even the hokiest of music sounds like absolute magic.
At first I thought you were just giving us a neat library of the sound of rocks crumbling, shattering, or impacting things.
But now that I see what it is, wow! I didn’t even know rocks could resonate like that! And what a unique concept for a library! Good on ya, mate!
Thanks Richard. Will definitely play around with the samples.
hit the road jack?
way to get your rocks off?
Punn, i know , but hey great idea for sounds
these will go great on my circuit
I have been to this site before and it is really bizarre.
Pretty hard to study since moving the stones around, destroys their musicality.
It is a good thing it is pretty remote.
It is also pretty damn cool that he did all this for his own music and decided to share the labor for free.
Lots of music makers horde and hide samples.
I am always making loops. Have been using Sound Forge 20+ years since version 4.5 Do it really old school working in milliseconds, it’s almost like working on a molecular level lol. Just finished another series of 1000 loops at 140bpm. Richard’s generosity has really inspired me to maybe do a drop box link and just share some of them with everyone.
I’d thumb you but it’s still broken…..
What the hell is going on with it?
Never thought I’d see a guy like Richard venture into… (wait for it)… rock music.
you are on,,wait for it,, a roll
I saw this in his instagram account and it was amazing to see this. To me he is a very very unique person on of those genius of sound production that I admire. Just like Robert Henke for all of his work also. To me Robert Henke and Richard Devine are just amazing sound sculptures that amazes every time.
Whoa Whoa Whoa… how can we verify that these are rocks from Montana?
I am in fact from Montana, lived here my whole life, and they are indeed from here. if the rocks are taken from the location, they cease to be instruments.
Next time I mow my grass, I will make a Sample Library by recording them.
Richard: Thanks for providing these tools. Very valuable for documentary film.