Check out this interesting video interview/podcast episode. By Richard. A.k.a Rewild your soul. I wil tell a lot about my history, motivations and experience.
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 how musical instruments work you have building blocks to design musical instruments”.
Jesse explored a lot of musical instruments mostly in a percussive way. As he says:
“Musical instruments are the most infinite interesting and fun objects to explore and express yourself with”.
In 2005 he came across a very special sound sculpture made by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer called the ‘Hang’.
This particular instrument had such an atraction to Jesse he experienced something he never experienced before.
“Wow this must be the most beatifull piece of art to connect your body and soul with, I need to experience this instrument on my lap”.
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 with years of love for and confusion about the instrument. He one day 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 frequencies found in these objects. He combined robotics with tuned steel. Two interests he
had and combined this to create the following sound installation and exam project for his Bachelor in Sound Design 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 managed to tune 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. But you can imagine his enthusiasm for one note in a wokpan was pretty confusing for his friends and family.
As stubborn as he was he wanted to learn more about tuning steel but, without a mentor.
Jesse purely learnd to tune and control steel membrames by doing and exploring the possibilites in a singing membrame. This is not the fastest way if you can imagine. So he developed his own way of shaping and tuning instruments which gives Godan it’s unique sound.
“It took me years to get sufficient control to be satisfied enough about the sound and behaviour of my instruments to enjoy them and still theres a lot to explore”.
After having the chance to get help from Shellopan’s first batches of deepdrawn handpan shells to tune, things went greater and greater.
After some shells and instruments with cracked notes The first Godan was finished 23th march of 2014.
Now that the Godan handpan instruments got to a quality Jesse satisfies, he is making them for himself and other enthusiasts that apreciate the same taste in behaviour and sound in his instruments. Check out more about Jesse’s background on www.jessesmits.nl .
The Godan logo is made by the artist Merel Woudwijk. She managed very wel to translate the filosophy about the Godan instrument and the path it needed to become Godan. Exploration, freedom, curiosity and growth.