Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Show 13: Music from the Ether

Finally got around to fooling with the Theremin I bought last year. An incredibly difficult instrument to master. Plenty of great info on Lev Termen’s (Leon Theremin) early electronic instrument can be found here and here.

I’m far from mastering the instrument but here’s a small sampling of songs in which you can hear the Theremin either playing a melody line or creating otherworldly effects.

Song 1 : : Galaxy
Artist : : Frank Comstock
Album : : Project Comstock: Music from Outer Space

Project Comstock is a Theremin classic from the heyday of space age pop. I read that the Theremin used here is actually an electro-Theremin, aka a Tannerin, like the one used on The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. Here the instrument is used both to play a melody and to create an atmospheric effect.

* * *

Song 2 : : Sensual Hallucination
Artist : : Les Baxter
Album : : The Dunwich Horror (soundtrack)

A record that uses the Theremin to create spooky sounds, as it is often used on the soundtracks of thriller, horror and sci-fi films. From a film score by exotica master Les Baxter.

* * *

Song 3 : : Oracle
Artist : : Hecate’s Angels
Album : : Hidden Persuader

Pietra Wexstun sampled and added effects to a transistor Theremin on this and other tracks on her band’s first record.

* * *

Song 4 : : Sinners
Artist : : Freddie and the Hitch-Hikers
Album : : 45 RPM single

One of the earliest uses of a Theremin in rock music can be heard on this rockabilly tune. This song was later covered – sans Theremin – by The Cramps.

* * *

Song 5 : : So Attracted to You
Artist : : Herbi Silvers and his Orchestra
Album : : 45 RPM single

This one’s really great and it features a man who is regarded as one of the mid 20th century’s greatest and most famous thereminists, Dr. Samuel Hoffman.

* * *

Song 6 : : Ed Wood (video)
Artist : : Howard Shore
Album : : Ed Wood (soundtrack)

A more recent film score that features the Theremin as performed by one of today’s more well-known and well-regarded thereminists, Lydia Kavina.

No comments: