Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff and Crystal from Colorado. They are gifted musicians who use Wind River’s Corinthian Bells chimes to improvise beautiful, relaxing music, which they freely share with the world under the name Shane FlyingSun Tapes.
As musicians and recording artists, for years Jeff and Crystal have strived to create what they call “ego-less” music from their home recording studio, utilizing hundreds of different kinds of instruments they’ve collected during their life together.
Part of their musical collection includes several sets of Corinthian Bells wind chimes, a favorite instrument of theirs due to the pure, precise tones of the chimes.
When we learned about Jeff and Crystal and how they use Wind River chimes to inspire this level of harmony, we couldn’t wait to have a more in-depth conversation to learn more about them and their music.
Please enjoy these excerpts from our conversation:
- WR: What made you want to use Wind River chimes in your music?
- Jeff + Crystal: Wind River chimes inspire us particularly because the sounds work together with the natural element of the wind to make music. Most of our music is improvised, so we try to take the lessons of humility from the peaceful side of nature into our style of improvised music.
- WR: What’s it like using a Wind River chime as an instrument in your music?
- Jeff + Crystal: Wind River chimes are always in tune to concert pitch. That means we can pick a particular chime for the key it’s in and it will sound simply beautiful. We have a collection of different styles of wind chimes and bells that we’ve acquired over the years. Some are in tune and some are not tuned at all. With Wind River chimes, they are always perfectly in tune. We also like the sympathetic harmonics of Wind River chimes – the overtones work so well together. It’s a river of sound to float on, which can be both peaceful and also somewhat ominous… Music is a sonic fantasy world, drifting down a long lazy river that is unpredictable, or even ambiguous. We think of this as ancient music, as old as the universe.
- WR: What inspires your creative process? What’s it like for you to record a song together?
- Jeff + Crystal: Our process is that everything can inspire. It’s like a slow fire underneath a teapot. We are inspired by playing our instruments. We build on the sounds we hear. We try not to take ourselves too seriously and let the music have a life of its own. We have both played music since we were young, so a certain amount of intuition happens naturally. It’s like a conversation that we started a long time ago and are still having.
- WR: Your music has supported people struggling with insomnia, distress and anxiety. Knowing that, how does that inspire you in your creative process?
- Jeff + Crystal: This inspires us because it feels like we might improve somebody’s day. We want to give a soundtrack to people that will hopefully help them to slow down and be thoughtful. A lot of our recordings are purposefully long to allow time to relax, and it absolutely works. The way the chimes resonate in the wind is the perfect mix of sound and nature, which creates both longing and comfort. The elements of air and chimes make an ego-less music that transcends barriers. This inspires us through the creative process because we try to make music that is transcendent.
- WR: Why do you think sound affects people so profoundly?
- Jeff + Crystal: Because when sounds are arranged musically, they can create the complete range of human feeling. We strive to create sounds that inspire longing, hope and peace.
- WR: What’s the story behind your name “Shane Flying Sun Tapes”?
- Jeff + Crystal: When we were 20, living in Eugene, Oregon, our car broke down, so we were hitch hiking back to town. We got a ride with a really nice fellow who struck up a conversation about music. He wanted to hear us play, so he drove us all the way back to our rental house where we jammed for him. We became really good friends. Our band needed a name, so we said, let’s name it after him, and his name was Shane. That was in the 1970s. The name Flying Sun Tapes came into being because, back then, the recording medium for us was cassette tape. “Flying Sun” was a name we liked because we used a logo with a sun over the water from one of Crystal’s drawings. When we decided to put music online, we needed a name for our production company, so we kept the name to tie back to our roots.
Jeff and Crystal say that much of their inspiration comes from having just one person supporting their dream. For Jeff and Crystal, they’ve been each other’s inspiration for decades, and you can really hear that in their music.