the MuLttr Box

~ a brief history of µ and of Box.


What is Mu?

The Mu box (spelt: "µ"[sic]; and pronounced "Mu") is MANUFACTOTUM's new Tank Drum! Sometimes called a Tongue-Cut Drum, or Steel-Tongue Drum. Typically, it is created by cutting slits into  the top and/or bottom of a steel propane tank in such a way as it can be played melodically. The tongues are tuned (often to pentatonic scales but also a diatonic, chromatic, or any set of notes by varying the length and width of the tongues). The player strikes with the fingers or with mallets to produce a bell-like tone. They are sometimes referred to as Tank Drums, Hank Drums, or Tongue drums. Tambiro

   The Steel Tongue Drum was created by Dennis Havlena in 2007.  It was an evolution of the Whale Drum by Jim Doble, and inspired by the physical properties of the Tambiro, created by Felle Vega. By taking the tone layout of the Hang, Havlena created a steel tongue drum with a circular cross pattern layout from an empty 20-pound propane tank. It was named the 'Hank Drum‘ from a combination of "Hang" and "tank". Its greatest influence, was, of course, the Hang.

Hangpan   The creation of the Hang was the result of years of research on the steelpan and other instruments. While it uses some of the same basic physical principles, it is actually modified to act as a Helmholtz resonator. The shape and materials were continuously modified and refined and have produced several variations over the years. Because of this and its patented heat-treatment the Hang is a registered trademark and property of PANArt Hangbau AG, making it pricey and difficult to obtain. Dennis Havlena's creation, being cheaper and easier to produce, has inspired other steel tongue drum inventions. Today there are a lot of vendors of commercial versions of the steel tongue drum world wide.  

At this point, you're probably asking yourself, 'okay, so what makes your drums so special?' Well, of course you're curious. You aught to be. The answer to that very profound question is here. :)


on Sound & Being

Where does the name Mu (µ) come from? The answer to that question, can be found in the answer to another, and that is this:


Does the dog have budha nature?

Well, that depends on who you ask. Ask the dog, he might say arf, or he might say bow. More likely, he'll just cock his head and perch his eyebrows in confusion (the way dogs often do). A cow, not having eyebrows, might answer, 'moo,' or a cat, whose eyebrows are not nearly as expressive as a dogs, might answer ‘mew’ ...and then scamper off (the way cats often do).

 As it happens, the infamous answer to this question, given by a Buddhist master, agrees with the cat and the cow! When asked by the monk "does the dog have Buddha nature, or not?" The master answered: "mu" which means no, negation, or no-thing. 

If this doesn't yet seem strange to you, consider that buddhist doctrine states:

"Above to all the Buddhas, below to the crawling bugs, all have Buddha-nature."

So why does the dog not have it?  He didn't lose it along the way, mind you…. *

Well, this hermetic and cryptic answer has been the marrow of many debates, theses, tomes, and dissertations around the world, some of which miss the point, or take a very straightforward look at the issue. Many of them analyze the issue in light of semantics, and culture. But most of them seem to agree.... It isn't a 'no' in answer to the question, it is a negation of the grammer of the question itself. What do you answer to someone who says: "why is the grass red" or "how heavy is all the cheese on the moon?" Questions like these cannot be answered.... Not that any answer is wrong, rather, any answer to that question, which permits its erroneous syntax, will inevitably be wronger than wrong!

Mu, therefore, means: try again! It means cut down all your presuppositions and free your mind! Tear off those old definitions, and aristotalean labels! Words are only sounds! But wait, then every sound is a word!

It's an invitation to paint the world with new words and meanings! Or to discover a new world altogether! Like Agartha- the lost city inside the hollow earth, whose entrence is in the province of Mu, Italy! Or the lost continent of Mu, sunken so long ago in the pacific ocean; gone the way of Atlantis!

A world, like that of RahXephon... inhabited by the blue blooded Mu(lians) '...sufused with sound!' Not unlike our own world (back where we started!) that eternal stage, so aptly described by Shakespeare, as "[...]full of sound and fury, signifying [Mu!]"