Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ms Mabel Florence: Live! at Stone Mountain

Last weekend I went for a walk at Stone Mountain and on a whim I decided to cruise down by the carillon, and guess what: I was just in time for a live show!

Man, I guess there's not many carillons here in Georgia, but according to wikipedia there are many in Europe. Basically its a big ass set of bells, and someone controls them on this keyboard/foot pedal panel thing that looks like an organ. They totally kick ass and they look beautiful too. This is clearly a departure from normal "rawk talk" but the bells are fucking enchanting as fuck, especially in stone mountain and I feel like talking about their particular brand of rawking.

It was cold as all fuck when I was there last weekend, and it was a grey day, so the bell tower looked ominous.....

....or as my friend Kimberly pointed out, it totally looked like Mordor.....

Here's a picture from a sunnier day:

That's actually just the bell tower (which really just holds some big ass speakers). The bells are actually underground from what I understand, and are amplified there. Also I found out that this particular set of bells, while it was originally the largest in the world, in the 60's, is not even really considered a carillon by the snobs over at the Guild of Carilloneurs. I bet Ms. Mabel Florence would beg to differ.

From reading the guild's website I found out that you essentially have to go to college and major in being a carillon player to learn how to play the damn things. Alternatively you can be taken on as an intern or whatever by some carilloneur that believes in you. 

Here's the totally tranquil amphitheater at stone mountain where you can chill and soak in all the epic glory of the bells. The vibes they put off are totally wicked.
Here's a photo I took of the lady playing the console. That thing looks so sweet!! Its all woodgrained and retro! It also totally looks whimsical as fuck. 
In other photos I've seen of her she is all dressed up to perform, but as I mentioned it was cold as all hell that day so she was pretty bundled, even though it appears to be heated inside there. But scope those pedals would you? Its all knobs and switches and magic in there! 

Here's a way better photo of her that this lady took. Apparently she usually has her canine buddy in there with her too, but I'm sure she kept him home and cozy due to the bitter cold the day I was there. 

I've been knowing about those bells for a long time, seeing as how I grew up in stone mountain and all. I don't always make it out there but I do love to swing through on occasion. And being that stone mountain is in the general vicinity of atlanta there tends to be sweet stone mountain related ephemera to be found in junk shops and thrift stores in the area. For instance these sweet combs I found a bag full of at My Favorite Place:

fucking groovy. 

I also found this kickass record of the bells a while back. This was at a thrift store in chamblee as well (a favorite township for junkin in, also where I attended high school) This record is great because it brings all the magic of the bells right into your living room.

Here's some photos of the back of that record, which supplies some info about the bells, the mountain, and the dude who plays on the album, recorded in the 60's. He was totally a carillon composer:

Here is my shitty video of the tailend of Ms Mabel playing Georgia on My mind on the carillon last weekend. She played a bunch of great classic German sounding, magical jewelry box sounding music, but then she also totally played a bunch of covers of pop stuff which was killer.

And finally, here is photo my sister took at legoland with my niece and nephews the other day. This is a fucking LEGO version of the carillon at stone mountain, under attack by clone storm troopers!

Sure hope that never happens in real life!

Carillon live sets are Saturdays and Sundays at stone mountian park at like one and four, I think. Its enchanting as fuck, and great entertainment for people of all ages. and its free, so go soak in the glory of the bells, yall.

1 comment:

  1. Martin from Once PossessedJanuary 11, 2014 at 10:38 PM

    Lego Carillon is next level. My mum was here in 2003 and we did the ubiquitous Stone Mountain trip. Why wouldn't we, the Park was and is awesome and the town was kickin' out some homely vibes. Carillon was the background to a great day. I've had the record(s), but didn't know the all the history. Thanks for the education. P.S. Copyright that Ominous Bell Tower pic and quickly. It's awesome.