Monday, November 21, 2011


"The cristal baschet is one of the most beautiful musical instruments you will ever see, made of vibrating, tuned steel, fiberglass amplification cones and wire "whiskers" that shimmy when fingers rub the glass-rod keyboard. Film composer Cliff Martinez's version, which resides in the living room of his Topanga Canyon home, is about the size of an upright piano and is as much sculpture as instrument." So says this L.A. Times article about the soundtrack to the recent neo-noir film "Drive" by former Captain Beefheart (and Red Hot Chili Peppers) drummer Martinez.

The cristal baschet, created in 1952 as a sound sculpture by Bernard and Francois Baschet, is a cousin of the glass harmonica and glass instruments we've featured here, in which the moistened fingers of the player rub the instrument, like running your fingers around the rim of a wine glass, creating a melodic humming drone. The soundtrack album is a surprise hit, bringing this odd, obscure object to mainstream ears. It's dark, moody, eerie & lovely stuff, and you can listen to it here (jump down to track 6):

Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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