Some people might use wind chimes to add a musical background to their day, or even a wave machine to sooth the senses. But one New Orleans musician takes it a step further with an electronic synthesizer that turns the weather into constantly changing notes. Dave McNamara introduces us to the “weather warlock” in tonight’s Heart of Louisiana.
This is the sound of sunrise in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward that most of us would hear. But the weather sensors on this St. Claude Avenue house create their own sounds of the sunrise.
On this day, there is the unique combination of sun, clouds, wind and rain. The weather events filter through a musical synthesizer that gives every moment of daybreak its own unique sound.
“These two propellers here are the wind speed anemometers,” said Quintron.
He calls himself Quintron, an avante garde musician and inventor who pushes the limits of music and sound.
“The brains here are designed to produce a very constant, pleasing e-major chordal drone,” he said.
This old radio mixer board has been rewired with sound-generating circuits. The electronic musical invention is called the “weather warlock.”
An ultraviolet sensor outside activates a low drone note that slowly climbs in pitch as the sun rises in the east.
“Hear it climbing up?” Quintron asked.
Moisture sensors respond to raindrops, creating a gentle popping sound. Quintron’s weather warlock provides a sonic connection to what’s happening outside, and he streams his weather music 24/7 on a website he calls “weather for the blind.”
“Which is just kind of a reference to a disorder that a lot of sight-impaired people have with not being able to connect to the cyclical changes in the day,” Quintron said.
But it’s also a musical instrument that allows a performer to shape, distort and bend its notes.
“And then there’s all kinds of other fun filters and volumes and mixers and things you can do, so you can play it as a musical instrument or just let it kind of do its thing by itself,” Quintron said.
“The musicians sort of taken over use this as a leader, completely take it over and then self-destruct and let the robot take control again,” Quintron said.
It’s not the kind of music that will have you whistling a tune, but rather an experience of frantic sounds that rise, fall and sometimes explode, that mix with a new kind of instrument – one that responds to the sun and wind, temperature and rain. It’s where heavy metal meets nature.