‘Godan’ is a musical instrument project started by Jesse Smits. The name Godan is inspired by Indonesian language which can name objects or situations with a word(s) inspired by its sound(s).
Jesse has a bachelor with honours degree in Music and Technology (2012). In his last year he spend most of his time understanding how musical instruments work. “By knowing this you have building blocks to design musical instruments”.
After hordering a lot of musical instruments and playing them unconventionally (specially percussive) in 2004 he came across a very special sound sculpture made by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer called the ‘Hang’. This looked like something Jesse was looking for. Percussion combined with harmonics, designed such a way the body and mind can freely move between rhythms and harmonics. Jesse fell in love. And couldn’t let go. It became such an obsession he started building his own harmonic sound soundsculptures …. But before that he made some experiments. In 2012 Jesse started hammering paint cans and dishes to try to understand some about stretching steel and how to work with the vibrations found in these objects. A sound installation was born in his last year of his study. He combined robotics with tuned steel. Two interests he
has and combined this in the following sound installation called ‘Canned’:
After tuning some paint cans and dishes Jesse bought some ‘Linotune’ software and a cooking pan. And one day soon after this he tuned his first steelpan style note with a fundamental, octave partial, compound fifth partial and double octave. This was a big celebration day and gave Jesse the no doubt feeling this is something for him…. Tuning steel.
As stubborn as he was he wanted to learn tuning steel without a mentor. This is not the fastest way if you can imagine. But it learns you more then tuning steel. So he developed his own way of shaping and tuning instruments which gives Godan it’s unique sound. After having the chance to get help from Shellopan’s deepdrawn shells, things went easier.
After some instruments with cracked notes The first Godan was finished 23th march of 2015. Nitrided instruments came later that year. With a lot of help from Ralf van den Bor (Ayasa instruments).
Now that Godan got to a quality Jesse likes he is trying to make more use of his knowledge as a percussionist sound designer and instrument designer.
Check out more about Jesse on www.jessesmits.nl .