HandPan in the Sky - Lenticular Clouds

More of a general interest offering, inspired by the amazing photograph to your left (found via Climatologia Geográfica) than anything particularly HandPan related - but as far as we're concerned, a giant HandPan shaped cloud floating in the sky, is certainly deserving of a short post here.

This gigantic HandPan in the sky is a particularly stunning example of a 'Lenticular Cloud' (or 'altocumulus lenticularis' to use their scientific name), stationary cloud structures that form in the troposphere.

The Technical Stuff (from Wikipedia): As air flows along the surface of the Earth, it encounters obstructions. These are man-made objects, such as buildings and bridges, and natural features, like hills, valleys, and mountains. All of them disrupt the flow of air into eddies. The strength of the eddies depends on the size of the object and the speed of the wind. It results in turbulence classified as ‘mechanical’ because it is formed through the “mechanical disruption of the ambient wind flow. Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. As the moist air moves back down into the trough of the wave, the cloud may evaporate back into vapor. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds can form near the crest of each successive wave, creating a formation known as a "wave cloud." The wave systems cause large vertical air movement, enough that water vapor may condense to produce precipitation. The clouds have been mistaken for UFOs (or "visual cover" for UFOs), particularly the round "flying saucer"-type, because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape; also, because lenticular clouds generally do not form over low-lying or flat terrain, many people have never seen one and are not aware clouds with that shape can exist. Bright colors (called irisation) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds. These clouds have also been known to form in cases where a mountain does not exist, but rather as the result of shear winds created by a front.

While few (if any) of the other lenticular cloud photographs out there on the net are as perfectly HandPan-shaped as the one featured above, there are others that are (almost) as equally stunning.  Watch the video below to see more...

Inpex, Apex, and Ding - HandPan Terminology

While “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” might have proven to be one of the greatest mental conundrums of all time - the question of which came first, the “Apex or the Inpex” is a much simpler riddle to solve - with the answer being the “Apex” (or the “Ding”, if using PANArt terminology).

The ‘Ding’ refers to the central domed note found on all PANArt Hang - and is the lowest note on the instrument - it is played by either striking the protruding dome directly, or by striking the area surrounding it.  Another name for this structure as used in a more general way is ‘Apex’ (meaning ‘the tip’, or ‘highest point’), and is a label believed to have been coined by Pantheon Steel (possibly to avoid legal problems with PANArt) in the creation of their own instruments.  

An alternative structure of this central note can be found in the form of the ‘Inpex’ (a word that appears to have no definition prior to being used in HandPan terminology - and is also believed to have been coined by Pantheon Steel), and is essentially the exact opposite of the Apex, being instead of a protrusion, a depression into the surface of the steel.

The following two videos of a pair of Saraz HandPan tuned to the same scale, with one featuring an Apex, and the other an Inpex, demonstrate the difference perfectly, between the two approaches...



What Are “Booty Taps”? - HandPan Terminology

A recent addition (at time of posting) to the world of HandPan are “Booty Taps”,  Arguably better (but less pleasingly) described as “bottom notes”, or “bottom tones”, booty taps are additional notes that are hammered into the bottom shell of the HandPan. 
The average HandPan (if there is such a thing) of traditional structure usually features around eight to ten tone-fields (notes) on the upper shell.  And while makers have found interesting ways ways to cram on more notes than is standard (such as the “grace notes” used by Pantheon Steel, or the non-standard architecture as used on the 13-note chromatic Spacedrum), the space available on the top shell is always going to prove limiting -. hence the invention of booty taps, which opens-up the unused space found on the bottom shell for the inclusion of additional notes.

At this point in time we’ve personally yet to try playing a HandPan with booty taps, and with only YouTube performances to go by, they look to be a little awkward, but presumably, with practise, you soon get used to them(?).  And with more and more makers now offering them as an option when building your HandPan, it looks like booty taps are here to stay.

Here's a video of Sylvain Paslier playing a Saraz-made Handpan featuring 8 notes on the top, and an additional 3 notes on the bottom shell....

The Moods and Emotions of Different Musical Keys

HandPan tuned to different musical keys can vary in flavour considerably.  But how do you put the differing moods and emotions conjured up by the various musical keys into words(?). The following descriptions penned by Christian Schubart, in his work, 'Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst' ('Ideas for a Aesthetics of Music'), back in 1806 - are just one of many attempts to do just that...

C majorCompletely pure. Its character is: innocence, simplicity, naïvety, children's talk.
[Video of a Spacedrum in C major: HERE]

C minor Declaration of love and at the same time the lament of unhappy love. All languishing, longing, sighing of the love-sick soul lies in this key.
[Video of a Live-Metart HandPan in C minor: HERE]

Db major - A leering key, degenerating into grief and rapture. It cannot laugh, but it can smile; it cannot howl, but it can at least grimace its crying.--Consequently only unusual characters and feelings can be brought out in this key.

D major The key of triumph, of Hallejuahs, of war-cries, of victory-rejoicing. Thus, the inviting symphonies, the marches, holiday songs and heaven-rejoicing choruses are set in this key.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in D major: HERE]

D minor Melancholy womanliness, the spleen and humours brood.
[Video of an Innersound HandPan in D minor: HERE]

D# minor - Feelings of the anxiety of the soul's deepest distress, of brooding despair, of blackest depresssion, of the most gloomy condition of the soul. Every fear, every hesitation of the shuddering heart, breathes out of horrible D# minor. If ghosts could speak, their speech would approximate this key.

Eb major - The key of love, of devotion, of intimate conversation with God.
[Video of a Gaia HandPan in Eb major: HERE]

E major Noisy shouts of joy, laughing pleasure and not yet complete, full delight lies in E Major.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in E major: HERE]

F major Complaisance & calm.
[Video of a Bali Steel Pan in F major: HERE]

F minor Deep depression, funereal lament, groans of misery and longing for the grave.
[Video of a Live-Metalart in F minor: HERE]

F# major - Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief utered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key.

F# minor - A gloomy key: it tugs at passion as a dog biting a dress. Resentment and discontent are its language.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in F# major: HERE]

G major Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.
[Video of a Sonobe HandPan in G major: HERE]

G minor - Discontent, uneasiness, worry about a failed scheme; bad-tempered gnashing of teeth; in a word: resentment and dislike.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in G minor: HERE]

Ab major - Key of the grave. Death, grave, putrefaction, judgment, eternity lie in its radius.

Ab minor - Grumbler, heart squeezed until it suffocates; wailing lament, difficult struggle; in a word, the color of this key is everything struggling with difficulty.

A major This key includes declarations of innocent love, satisfaction with one's state of affairs; hope of seeing one's beloved again when parting; youthful cheerfulness and trust in God.
[Video of a Saraz HandPan in A major: HERE]

A minor - Pious womanliness and tenderness of character.
[Video of a Spacedrum in A minor: HERE]

Bb major - Cheerful love, clear conscience, hope aspiration for a better world.

Bb minor - A quaint creature, often dressed in the garment of night. It is somewhat surly and very seldom takes on a pleasant countenance. Mocking God and the world; discontented with itself and with everything; preparation for suicide sounds in this key.

B major Strongly coloured, announcing wild passions, composed from the most glaring coulors. Anger, rage, jealousy, fury, despair and every burden of the heart lies in its sphere.

B minor This is as it were the key of patience, of calm awaiting ones's fate and of submission to divine dispensation.

(!) You can find more information on the characteristics of musical keys: HERE

Heat Treatments and HandPan Colouration

You may have noticed that while HandPan do come in various different colours, the most common colouration for a HandPan is a blueish / greyish hue - and there is reason for this.  Most (if not all) HandPan undergo heat treatments as part of their creation process, and it is these heat treatments that (unless other means are used to artificially colour the instrument) are responsible for the colour of the HandPan.  

The colouration itself is primarily a side-effect of the heat treatments upon the steel from which the HandPan is formed, with the heat treatments being used to modify the strength of the raw steel, by exposing it to specific temperatures, in a prescribed manner.  And the colour is formed from an oxide-layer that forms upon the steel during the heating process.

As mentioned before a blueish hue is among the most common to HandPan, and we can see from the chart (right) that this occurs at around 575°F / 302°C.  An interesting example of different temperatures used in these heat treatments affecting the final colouration of HandPan can be seen in the work of Pantheon Steel.  Earlier generation Halo all exhibited a strong blue colouration, while more recent examples (at time of posting) display a more golden-brown to purple finish - showing that the temperature of the heat treatments used in the creation of more recent Halo, are somewhat lower.

You can watch a video from Live-MetalArt demonstrating heat treatments upon a HandPan below...

While the following video provides a great introduction into the purposes of heat treating steel, for those wishing to understand the process more fully...

HandPan Studio Recording Session Bundles - Studio Volta Recordings

It has recently been announced that “Hardcase Technologies” have teamed up with “Studio Volta Recordings” to offer HandPan studio recording session bundles.  And while we don’t know a whole bunch as yet about the Studio Volta Recordings themselves, Hardcase Technologies do bring something to the table that could make this an appealing offer for those interested in recording a studio-quality Handpan album of their own, over alternative recording options.

That said, Studio Volta Recordings is based in Florence, Italy, let’s get that out of the way at the start - a beautiful city that will no doubt only add to the experience of recording your album for those able to make the journey (if you’re not already lucky enough to be located nearby), but obviously, travelling to Italy, if you aren’t, isn’t going to be as convenient as hooking up with a local studio, for most.

Those who are able to make the journey however, might find certain benefits at having done so.  Hardcase Technologies, makers of what are generally agreed to be the best hard cases and transportation solutions for Handpan, in the industry, and organisers of such events as the 2013 “Dream Event”, have an increasingly long history of active participation within the world of Handpan.  And, Allessio, of Hardcase Technologies, has proven time-and-time again, that he puts his heart and soul into his Handpan-related projects.

The Handpan sound is notoriously difficult to capture fully with recording equipment, and with studio recording time rarely being the cheapest of commodities, a studio that is already familiar prior to your arrival, with ways and means of best capturing the sounds of singing-steel, could shave a significant cut off of your faffing-around time, allowing you to get straight on with the recording, and as we can see from the videos uploaded to the Studio Volata Recordings YouTube channel, these guys now have considerable experience with recording a number of different Handpan makes.  And to our ears, the results sound very pleasing.

Packages start at 479 Euro for eight hours of studio-time.  And Studio Volta Recordings are able to produce your album for you in either Jewel Box, or Digipack, in batches from 100 upwards.  

For more info you can visit the Hardcase Technologies website: HERE.  Or browse the Studio Volta Recordings YouTube channel: HERE, for more examples of what they have to offer.

Secrets of the Steelpan - A Book Review by Hang-Maker Felix Rohner.

Whether Felix Rohner would wish to be known as the “Father of HandPan” is debatable.  He has, reportedly, shown a strong dislike for the “HandPan” moniker being applied to PANArt’s own creations - preferring them to be called purely, “Hang”.  But as the inventor of the instrument type (along with Sabina Scharer), that is most commonly now known as “HandPan”, the title is fitting.

So when Felix Rohner decides to publish a book review, anybody with more than a passing fascination with this instrument form, should find interest within it.

Rohner begins the review with a nod to the work, “The Physics of Musical Instruments”, by Thomas D. Rossing, and Neville H. Fletcher.  Acknowledging its importance in both the creation of the Hang, and more recently, the Gubal.  Before continuing on to discuss the book in question, “Secrets of the Steelpan”.

Secrets of the Steelpan, is a work by one, Dr. Anthony Achong, from Trinidad.  Who, according to Felix Rohner, has spent a life-time, working with “sounding sheet metal”.  

Secrets of the Steelpan is, Rohner states: a 1200 page extensive study, and summary of this lifetime of work, and experimentation with steel, by Achong. Before continuing to explain why the information contained within this tome, is of so much importance, to the modern-day tuner...

>> Read the Full Review Here <<

* It has been noted by some, that Secrets of the Steelpan is quite a technical work. And could make for a challenging read, for those with little familiarity with the art-form.

The PANArt Logo / Branding - As Seen on First Generation Hang

The PANArt logo, or brand, appeared across the first generation of Hang in a number of different styles.  The earliest PANArt Hang (at least from number 65, up until 759) featured the following style of brand...

The style is very similar to the PANArt logo featured on the sticker found inside each first generation Hang...

Later first generation Hang feature a different style of brand (I'm gonna' guess that it came into use somewhere in the early thousands, but could easily be wrong), that PANArt seemed to settle on for generations to come.  The same style of logo also features on later generation Hang, and can also be seen on PANArt's more recent creation, the Gubal.

The text no longer slants as it did in earlier first generation Hang.  And it tends to look a little more machine applied, than hand applied (but maybe Felix and Sabina just got better at doing it).

One anomaly, that I've stumbled across recently, can (just about - I'll try to get a better photo soon) be seen in the following photo...

Which features a small "a", in the brand.  And featured on Hang number 933.  So this particular style may have been an experimental brand that was toyed with, before the more standardised form featured previously was settled upon.

As a point of note, first generation Hang were offered by PANArt between 2001 and 2005.  And approximately 4300 first generation Hang were produced. You can watch them being made by PANArt in the documentary titled, "Hang: A Discreet Revolution": HERE

The HandPan SKILLZ of Adrian J Portia

If we were forced to name just one HandPan musician who has really blown us away in 2014, it would have to be, “Adrian J Portia”. And I’m pretty sure that we’re not alone in this.  His HandPan performances over at YouTube are both intensely inspiring, forcing you to reach for your own Pan in a bid to let loose the pure HandPan-Ninja energies that you know you must have absorbed while watching him in action, and then sorrowfully shame-inducing, when within minutes you realise having done so, that by comparison, you play like a bumbling-idiot.  Or maybe that’s just us. :)

We don’t know much about Adrian J Portia, other than that he rocks the HandPan like a badass, often sports a mohawk, and has his hometown listed as being: “AUSTRALIA”, on his facebook profile.

So, as we find it’s often best for us to do, we’re going to let the music of Adrian J Portia, speak for itself...

Adrian J Portia Playing BELLArt BElls:

Adrian Playing the Symphonette (from Dave's Island Instruments): 

Adrian Playing an AsaChan (from Echo Sound Sculpture):

To listen to more you can check out Adrian's YouTube channel: HERE, or go check out his Facebook page: HERE.

GuSkin - A Skinned Percussion Adaptation for HandPan

Here’s an interesting thing dreamed up, and designed by popular HandPan musician, ‘Kabeção Rodrigues’, called the ‘GuSkin’.  A device, that like the ‘Dum’ (a device originally sold by PANArt - the Hang makers), slots inside the ‘Gu’* to open up new sonic possibilities, for Hang, and HandPan.

However, while the Dum was intended to lower the Helmholtz resonance of the Hang, the GuSkin, once inserted, is designed to combine the qualities of more traditional skinned drums, with those of UFO-shaped singing steel - potentially opening up a whole new world of play - and/or certainly convenience, for traveller types, who could now transform their HandPan into an instrument with a more conventional percussive sound (eliminating the need to travel with multiple instruments).

A device like the GuSkin seems perfectly designed for enhancing vertical HandPan play.  And HandPan musician, Jacob Cole, has shown that this is so (see video).  And with more and more HandPan appearing now with notes on the bottom shell too, the promises of a device like the GuSkin are many and varied.  

One argument that was raised against the device when it was first demo’d over at Facebook was concern that the GuSkin would limit the Hang / HandPan's natural sonic qualities, blocking the sounds from the instruments internal resonance chamber.  Which seems likely, but is obviously a temporary trade-off, and a choice that each player can make depending upon the mood, and situation.  

At time of posting, the GuSkin is noted as being in prototype phase, and as such, is not available commercially for purchase.  But if you’re interested (and like us, don’t have the D.I.Y skills to try and knock one up yourself), you can follow Kabeção Rodrigues over at YouTube: HERE.  And await further development, and/or future release. 

* ‘Gu’ is the name given to the hole/port on the bottom of Hang, and while technically specific to only PANArt Hang, it has to a more or lesser degree been adopted for all HandPan makes, Some makers do though have their own names for the bottom port, Pantheon Steel (the makers of the Halo), for example, call this opening the, ‘Oculus’.

Hang Massive's: 'Once Again' - 51 Remixes and Counting...

Type, ‘Hang drum’, into YouTube, and (at time of posting) the video you’ll most likely find in first position is, ‘Once Again’, by the Hang-playiing duo named, ‘Hang Massive’.  And with well over seven million views as I write this, Once Again, is arguably the single most popular Hang/HandPan track as yet recorded.  

If by some miracle, you have yet to hear it, you can take a listen below…

Seven million views and counting, is of course, highly impressive (and well deserved) - but another interesting measurement in terms of this particular tracks popularity, can be found over at SoundCloud (an online audio distribution platform that enables its users to upload, record, promote and share their sounds), where, as recently reported by Hang Massive’s, Danny Cudd, there is an ever-increasing number of remixes of this legendary Hang track being made, and uploaded (51 and counting at time of posting).

“Amazing that so many have felt moved to make these tracks!” - Danny Cudd stated over at Facebook.

And we agree.  Because as much as we love the original - there is always new inspiration to be found when others take something beautiful, and make it their own...

Listen to all of the Hang Massive remixes as a playlist over at SoundCloud: HERE, or find Hang Massive over at Facebook: HERE

The Xuansound - China's First HandPan Maker

Why the news of the first HandPan to appear from China’s shores should really be of any greater importance than the first to appear from any other country, is hard to say.  But it is.  If you believe everything that’s been piped out of Televisions here in the West for the last ten years or so, China wants to swallow us up, in every niche, and in every market, China will do it, if not necessarily better, than certainly cheaper.  China, if you believe the hype, is COMING FOR US ALL, and even the HandPan is not safe from this now woken Dragon.

For years now (at time of posting) people have prophesied the coming of the ‘YamaHang’.  A mass-produced Chinese export, that would with its arrival: DESTROY THE WORLD OF HANDPAN AS WE CURRENTLY KNOW IT!!!

The Xuansound HandPan

The first HandPan to come from China’s shores, comes in the form of the Xuansound HandPan.  And the good news is, in our opinion, this is far from the cheap-plastic-Christmas-cracker-toy, that many have feared.  But is instead, the beginnings of what should blossom into a great sounding Handpan, indeed, even the early offerings that we’re listening to at time of posting, are sounding pretty sweet already.

And in fact, there is evidence of a growing HandPan community in China.  Something that tends to foster both demand for, and produce those with interest enough to learn the skills to make, quality instruments.

So that for now, the coming of the YamaHang, remains still to pass (though the Oval guys might be taking a stab at it).  To hear more of the Xuansound HandPan, and follow their progress, you can visit them over at YouTube: HERE.

From Pizza Pan to HandPan, in Two Years - The Aura HandPan Evolution

Recently I posted a thread in the forums on attempting to make a HandPan from a wok, explaining that to date, we'd never seen any kind of success at this.  And then, while watching the latest (and beautiful sounding) video from Aura, I remembered that for Jon Antzoulis (the Aura maker), it actually did start off in a very similar manner.  With a 'Pizza Pan'.

Two years ago (at time of posting), Jon Antzoulis posted the following video to YouTube...

As kitchen utensil attempt videos go, this one clearly shows, that to some degree, it can be done.

A year or so later Jon Antzoulis posts his first prototype video...

And we can clearly see that things were progressing nicely.

Another six months on and we find this video...

More progress.

And then we have this...

The most recent video from Jon Antzoulis, as of April 2014, of an Aura Kurd 9.  Uploaded just two years after the pizza pan video was shared (marking the beginning of the Aura HandPan), and we're here, listening to an instrument, that to our ears; sounds incredibly beautiful.  From pizza pan, through prototypes, to a HandPan that can now boast that 'Choir of Angels' quality, that the best of these instruments are renowned for.

So that while taking a hammer to a pizza pan, may, or may not be; the best way to begin your journey as a HandPan maker (should you be considering building your own).  As the Aura maker has proven, it probably isn't the worst place in the world to begin, either....

You can follow the continuing evolution of the Aura at Facebook: HERE

Or at YouTube: HERE

Yuki Koshimoto - The 'First Lady' of the Spacedrum

This post is a small tribute to the beautiful, and talented, Yuki Koshimoto’, a HandPan performer who, at time of posting appears to have no album to sell, or band to promote, but regardless, has fast become one of the most seen faces in HandPan music online - with the classic video of Yuki playing her Spacedrum in a serene looking area (embedded) - going viral, over, and over again.  

World traveller, and street performer, Yuki Kosimoto, has spoken of a journey she undertook to find something important in her life, and of how that journey led her to India, where she discovered, and adopted, a completely new, ‘way of life’.  

Later, in 2009, inspired by a busker she met in London, Yuki acquired, and began to perform, on what has now almost become a Yuki-signature instrument, the thirteen-note chromatic Spacedrum (a HandPan produced in France).  

There are probably over a hundred different copies of the Yuki vid above, littered around YouTube, titled as everything from, ‘Amazing Space Drum!’, through to, ‘Sexy girl and a Hang Drum’.  Over the past few months, we’ve stumbled across this video being shared on Facebook, and blogs, etc. more than any other. Often racking up thousands of likes at a time, on larger Facebook groups, and always drawing great praise.  

And while the argument could be made that the success of Yuki’s iconic video is partially because, let’s face it, she’s HOT! (and that she makes a pretty welcome change from dudes with lots of facial hair),

with Yuki, you come for the looks, and stay for the skills.  Because this girl can play, and still, years now since we first saw the Yuki vid, it’s a struggle to recall any other Thirteen note chromatic Spacedrum video, where the instrument is played with the same kind of flair.  And as a point of note, both Yuki, and Metalsounds (the Spacedrum makers) both recently shared a photo of a new fourth generation 13-noter, thanking each other - a well earned gift perhaps? For the huge amount of attention she has brought to the Spacedrum...
In addition to her most-viewed video, there are also some stellar performances of Yuki, performing with a didgeridoo player named, ‘Taku’, to be found on YouTube.  And while we stated above that Yuki doesn’t appear to have an album for sale, she does seem to be using her growing Facebook fan-base to promote a range of (presumably Yuki designed) jewellery (which we must admit, does look pretty cool).

Find Yuki Koshimoto at Facebook: HERE, or find more video at YouTube: HERE.

Eleven 'Other' Swiss Inventions

If it wasn't for one Swiss-made invention, the PANArt Hang, this website would not exist. None of us would be playing Hang, or HandPan, or dreaming of one day playing them. I wouldn't be here writing my little posts, and you would not be reading them. The festivals, and gatherings would not take place.  Viktor Levinson would not be hammering steel out in Russia, and Manu Delago, would not have toured with Bjork.  All of these things simply, would not have happened.  If it weren’t for Felix, and Sabina, two steel pan tuners, and inventors, from Switzerland.

Which got me to thinking about other Swiss inventions.  And the impact they may, or may not have upon my daily life.  And in an arguably unusual tribute to PANArt, and the lands they hail from - I share my findings below (if nothing else, knowledge perhaps, that will come in handy one day, in a trivia board game, or some such thing)...

Eleven 'Other' Swiss Inventions:

(1) The Electric Toothbrush - If it wasn't for our friends in Switzerland, none of us would have the option of going high-tech on our gnashers.  There would be 'no advanced sonic power cleaning systems', reaching the areas of your mouth that a regular toothbrush just can't.  And like a cave-man, with a stick, you'd be back to cleaning manually.

(2) LCD Displays - If you're a fan of old-school calculator watches, and microwave ovens (among many many other things), then you have good reason to thank the Swiss for inventing the 'LCD Display' (or 'Liquid Crystal Display').  

A flat panel display system, that utilises the properties of liquid crystals to display fixed images, such as letters and numbers, they can be found everywhere; from telephones, to aeroplane cockpits - and if you're from a certain era - you'll remember what typing these numbers: '5318008' into your calculator, and then turning it upside down, reads as... :)

(3) Helvetica Font - In tribute to the Swiss, for this post, and this post only, we've switched from, 'Arial', to 'Helvetica', and actually, it does not look a whole lot different.  A popular sans-serif typeface developed in 1957 by designer, 'Max Miedinger', Helvetica has been used in the logos of: Jeep, Microsoft, Mc'Donalds, and Texaco (to name a few).

(4) Velcro - The perfect invention for people of all ages who have yet to master the trickeries of tying their own shoe-laces.  A 'hook and loop' fabric fastener, Velcro was invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer, 'George de Mestral'.  And as the name, 'Hang drum', has to some degree been adopted as a name for all Hang-like instruments, aka 'Handpan', in the wider world (rather than just those produced by PANArt), Despite Velcro being the name of a particular 'brand', it is often the name used to describe any hook and loop fastener of a similar nature.

(5) Cellophane - Hard to think of anything particularly interesting to say about cellophane offhand - but that is primarily because its uses are so varied, and abundant.  You can wrap your sandwiches in it, jobs a good'un!

(6) Aluminium Foil - Perfect for hat-making crazies, and like cellophane above, also quite handy for wrapping your sandwiches in, aluminium foil, replaced 'tin foil' (which left an undesirable taste to foods) back in 1910.  In addition to food preparation, and keeping the government out of your head, aluminium foil is also used in electromagnetic shielding, insulation, and geochemical sampling.
(7) Toblerone - As a child growing up in the UK, Toblerone seemed very much to be a Christmas favourite - you wouldn't see a bar on the shelves all year long, and then suddenly, shops (and then later, Christmas stockings) would be full of bars the size of tactical rifles.  A heavenly-tasting triangular-shaped bar fusing chocolate with nougat, almonds, and honey, Toblerone, like the Hang, is a product of Bern.

(8) Bobsleigh - Without the Swiss there would be no bobsleigh, and without bobsleigh there would be no, 'Cool Runnings' (beloved 90's comedy movie following the adventures of the Jamaican bobsleigh team, starring John Candy.  Bobsleigh is a winter sport in which teams of two or four make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled - aiming for the best times.  And the very first bobsleigh tracks were constructed in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

(9) Absinthe - At one point banned throughout Europe, and America, Absinthe is the Swiss invented drink, infamous for its supposed psychoactive properties

(attributed to the wormwood flowers and leaves used in its production).  Highly alcoholic, being as strong as 148 proof (74% ABV), those who have favoured this murky green liqueur, have included: Ernest Hemingway, Aleister Crowley, and Vincent van Gogh (who supposedly cut off part of one ear, while drinking the stuff).

(10) The Swiss Army Knife - Arguably the most iconic Swiss invention ever, the Swiss army knife, traditionally being red and featuring a white cross (borrowing from the countries national flag), is an invention that wears its origins on its chest.  A multi-tooled pocket knife, they were originally used by Swiss-German soldiers, during World War II, and in addition to a blade that conveniently tucks away inside the handle, the Swiss army knife also features such gadgetry, as screwdrivers, and can openers (with more modern additions including laser pointers, and USB sticks).

(11)  Lysergic acid diethylamide - Not content with creating one of the most potent alcoholic beverages known to man (absinthe), the Swiss went on to create, 'Lysergic acid diethylamide' (or 'LSD' for short).  A powerful hallucinogenic that comes on in the form of 'trips', that can last as long as twelve hours, LSD is often associated with 'mind expansion'.  And the drug is known to have been an influence in all kinds of great music - including The Doors, and Jefferson Airplane.  What would playing HandPan on a head full of Acid be like? - to date (unfortunately?) we can only imagine...

© HandPans Magazine