The Overtone Ensemble

The Overtone Ensemble (Tim Catlin, Atticus Bastow, Dave Brown, and Philip Brophy) was formed in late 2012 and perform using microtonally tuned metal rod instruments built by Tim Catlin.

Dubbed the “Vibrissae”, after feline tactile hair follicles (cats whiskers), these instruments are longitudinally stroked by hand and produce an ethereal, haunting sound. The long sustaining nature of the rod’s sound and close interval tunings allow players a sonic palette of rich textures and harmonic complexity.

The group utilise acoustic phenomena arising from microtonal interval tuning such as phasing, combination tones and sympathetic vibrations, as well the effects of room resonance to produce a deeply immersive sonic environment.

Other acoustic instruments such as handbells, bowed cymbals, singing bowls, wineglasses, acoustic guitars, re-tuned glockenspiels and sound sculptures are used to supplement the sounds of these instruments.

Catlin has also been developing long wire instruments for studio and live performances (between ten to thirty metres in length) that employ a similar playing technique to the vibrissae using rosined hands to excite longitudinal vibrations.


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