Unearthly acoustics as saxophone and overtone flute improvise duet in giant cooling tower

8 March 2021, 17:21 | Updated: 10 March 2021, 15:03

Baritone sax and overtone flute improvise duet in giant cooling tower
Baritone sax and overtone flute improvise duet in giant cooling tower. Picture: Winne Clement/YouTube

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

When the reverb is out of this world...

Being a curiously inclined species, musicians have long been fascinated with the possibilities of playing their instruments inside cooling towers.

(Just listen to the sound of a balloon being popped in one at an abandoned nuclear plant, and you’ll get the obsession.)

Winne Clement, a flautist and instrument maker, was offered the chance to play in one of the giant cooling towers at a gas powerplant in Vilvoorde, Belgium.

He was joined for the musical experiment by saxophonist Koen Van Roy who plays some bopping baritone sax, alongside his friend on overtone flute.

“Me and Koen Van Roy never played together, so this was our first time improvising together,” Clement said. “The huge space made it a very nice and unforgettable experience!”

Read more: Saxophonist finds industrial pipe, plays duet with his own echo >

Impressive saxophone and overtone flute improv inside a cooling tower

“The direct echo bounce with the light reverb on top holds a lot of rhythmical possibilities.”

Clement is right – the delayed reverb basically sets the tempo for the performance, allowing the two musicians to invite a third member, the echo, into their unexpected trio.

Read more: This contrabass flute might be the spookiest thing you’ve ever heard >

“We just arrived, set up some lights and a camera and played a small improv concert there,” Clement added.

“So, it sure would be nice to go back and take some time to explore them!”

Whatever the wonderfully weird location, music always finds a way...

More from Winne on Instagram just here.