November 2019 - Mickey Delp

The November 2019 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast features music from Canada, Spain, USA, and Norway. Rick Reid's interview guest is Mickey Delp, co-designer of the Theremorph synthesizer.


"Space Sister" - Stephen Hamm (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
"Memorias Imposibles" - Javier Diez Ena (Madrid, Spain)
"Twilight Landscape" - Theremin Noir featuring Rob Schwimmer (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
"Ad Lib" - Bergen Impro Storband (Bergen, Norway)


"Opera Glasses" - Phlogiston Theory and Ron Allen (Denver, CO and Seattle, WA, USA)
"Time Shadows" - Phlogiston Theory (Denver, CO, USA)
"No Static at All" - Phlogiston Theory (Denver, CO, USA)


Mickey Delp, co-designer of the EF202 Theremorph synthesizer by Delptronics and Electro-Faustus.


Visit the Theremin 30 Calendar of Theremin Events for links and details of events mentioned in this episode.


Theremin 30 Playlist

Submit your music, suggest a calendar event, or volunteer for an interview by writing to: Visit Theremin 30 on Facebook.

Send in a voice message:

*The full-length recordings featured in this show were used with the knowledge and permission of the artists and composers. Please support the artists by visiting their websites, purchasing their recordings, and attending their performances.


Producer/Writer/Host: Rick Reid
Opening and closing announcer: David Brower

Copyright 2019 Rick Reid


Please note: This is a machine-generated transcript that has not been manually edited. There will be numerous errors. Check back soon for a corrected version.

David Brower  0:04  
This is Theremin 3030 minutes of Theremin music news events and interviews with a new episode about every 30 days. Now here's your host from Denver, Colorado, USA Rick Reid.

Rick Reid  0:19  
Hello and welcome to the only regularly scheduled podcast devoted to Theremin music and events. This month I've got music from Canada, Norway, the USA and Spain. And I'll be visiting with Mickey Delp about the new Thera morphic gesture controlled synthesizer. Let's get started now with brand new music by Stephen ham from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Steven is releasing his very first studio album this month. The album is called Theremin man and the first single is space sister. In a few minutes I'll tell you how to get a free download of this song.

Rick Reid  5:23  
That was space sister by Steven ham. You can get a free download of that song by visiting Stephens website and signing up for his mailing list. I've got the link on my website. there I'm in three also check out the music video to space sister. It's on the Theremin 30 playlist on YouTube.

Up next I've got new music from Javier Diaz aina from Madrid, Spain. This is a track called impossible memories. And believe it or not every sound on this song and the entire album was created with a Theremin, including the percussion. Javier used a sub scope 120th anniversary model Theremin with its adjustable velocity and white noise generator along with some outboard gear to create all the drum sounds you hear in this track. Here's how the RDS anaa with impossible memories

That was impossible memories from the new they're ammonium to album by Javier Diaz aina Javier has scheduled an album release concert for November 14 in Madrid. For details follow the link on the Theremin 30 calendar of Theremin events. And it happens to be Time now for a look at that calendar with highlights a Theremin concert and events that you can attend over the next several weeks. Andrew Levine will be performing in Stuttgart, Germany on November 5. Karolina ik has a couple more stops on her US tour before returning to Europe for shows in the UK, Germany, Austria and Malta tour wild Jorgensen travels down under for five performances in Australia this month. The annual Theremin Academy and lipstadt Germany runs November 22 through the 24th. Lydia cabinet leads a Theremin masterclass on November 24, in Moscow, and on December 5 in London, the radio science orchestra will perform their Theremin 100 program at the innovation and music conference. rsls Bruce Willis will also be one of the keynote speakers. And just a reminder, there are so many Theremin events going on around the world every month, especially this year that I can't possibly keep up with all of them on my own. So if you don't see your event on the calendar, it probably just means that I haven't heard about it yet. So send me the details through the Theremin 30 website or the Theremin 30 Facebook page.

Just a few weeks ago in New York City multi instrumentalist Rob Schwimmer celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Theremin noir album. By getting the trio back together for a one off performance at the progressive Chamber Music Festival in New York City. Rob was kind enough to send me a track from the Theremin noir album to play here on the podcast. He wanted me to remind you though, that this recording was made shortly after he started playing Theremin 20 years ago, and that he plays much better now. Here's Rob Schwimmer on the mug melodia Theremin with Mark Feldman on violin and Yuri Kane on piano with a song called Twilight landscape.

That was Theremin Nur featuring Rob Schwimmer. You can catch Rob onstage in a benefit show at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music on November 8. Then he'll be at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC from November 14 through the 17th. Playing in the backing band of the mark Morris dance group production of pepper land, a dance tribute to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album. Follow the links to these shows on the Theremin 30 calendar for more details.

After the break, I'll visit with Mickey Delp about the new Thera morph gesture controlled synthesizer. And then I've got some really cool experimental music from the better gun impro store band from Bergen, Norway, so stay tuned.

this past September, I attended nob con. It's an annual synthesizer convention held just outside of Chicago. One of the cool new products on the trade show floor was a portable synthesizer that you can play almost like a Theremin. I thought it might be of interest to some of you. So I invited one of the designers to tell us all about it.

Rick Reid  18:41  
Mickey Delp, thank you so much for being on Theremin 30

Mickey Delp  18:43  
Rick, thanks for having me.

Rick Reid  18:45  
What is the Thera morph? And how is it that you came to this collaboration with electro fastest to create it.

Mickey Delp  18:52  
The third morph is Theremin ish. I like to call it a synthesizer with Theremin esque control. So it's not a classic Theremin. In that, first of all, there's only one control not a separate volume and pitch. The pitch control also is a gate control. So when you move your hand over it, it's like pressing the key and the distance is the pitch. So it combines both of those in one control.

Rick Reid  19:22  
Dump. tronics is known for electronic percussion modules. And electro fastest is known for noise devices. So pretty different product lines. How did the two companies get together to create their morph

Mickey Delp19:35  
we originally got together to do the black fly, which is an amplified spring. They have a pedal version of it. And they came to me and said can you make a eurorack module out of it? And so we did that that was our first collaboration. And they have this relatively simple photo Theremin pedal and they said hey, do you think this would make a good eurorack module and we started talking and I said, Dad Oh, no, because all the wires are going to cover the sensor. But maybe we could just make a new version of the pedal and just do it up and make a full featured synthesizer with the optical control. And they were all on board. And so we designed, what features would go in it, and I designed the circuitry. And I think that's the whole story.

Rick Reid  20:23  
One thing with a photo Theremin traditionally, is that it relies on an external light source, whether it's the ambient light in your room, or you can play it with a flashlight. Now this is different in that the light source is in the instrument as well as the sensors. So how does that work? The typical photo Theremin is a light sensitive resistor.

Mickey Delp 20:44  
So it acts like a potentiometer, which is a knob. It's the same thing but light controlled. So for this, I went with a more advanced infrared sensor. So the sensor itself has an infrared LED and receiver

Rick Reid  21:00  
because it has its own light source. If someone wanted to use this on stage in a dark club, it would still work just as well as if it were a brightly lit room, right?

Mickey Delp  21:09  
Yeah, absolutely. The light in the room is irrelevant. The only time it would not work great is in direct sunlight in noon. Oh, but indoors, any lighting conditions work fine.

Rick Reid  21:23  
I gave it a try to play it like a traditional theorem and to try to play a melody on it. And here's a little sample and I'm way off key hit something that's going to take a learning curve. But here's my attempt.

Ouch, the ending there. The gate was open the whole time that I was playing. So that's why you heard continuous tone. If I wanted to have silence between the notes, I'd have to raise my hand out of the field that it's sensing

Mickey Delp 22:04  
Theremin is so used to having their pitch control hand in place and using the other hand for the volume. And you have to adopt a different style with this. You have to move left and right to get out of the beam.

Rick Reid  22:20  
That's what I was doing wrong.

Mickey Delp 22:22  
Yeah. So it's moving left and right to turn it on and off and then up and down for the pitch. And it doesn't have a fluid volume control like traditional Theremin. But it does have an attack decay envelope like a synthesizer.

Rick Reid  22:38  
Now one thing I thought was interesting about the control that's different than a Theremin is that you can adjust whether you want the pitch to go up or down depending on which way Your hand is moving.

Mickey Delp 22:48  
When we first started showing prototypes of it, a lot of people asked about that, what if I want to reverse the response. And so we definitely added that. The other thing that I like about it is that you can control the range, it's got an eight octave range, but usually I don't want to play in that much space. So you can lower that down, you know, anywhere from one to eight octaves.

Rick Reid  23:14  
And the next little sample I'll play for you. This is kind of a UFO sort of oscillation effect.

Mickey Delp 23:36  
instrument is just a lot of fun. And you can totally noodle around on it and make crazy sounds and use that through a bunch of pedals and make that your main instrument for sure. But it's a nice accompaniment. I play drum machine and sequencers controlling synthesizers when I perform. And so I like the Thera morph because it's another synth to me. It's got all the controls that you would want in a basic synthesizer. It's got MIDI in and I can just hook it up to my sequencer and play it that way. Then you can use the sensor for controlling something else. And it there's a lot of different combinations with all the inputs and outputs.

Rick Reid  24:23  
And one of the combinations I tried was I connected my Korg Sq one sequencer to the Thera morph using CV and I didn't get really deep into it, but just wanted to see if it works. So here's a little sample of what I came up with.

I was curious to see if I can control this device with a Theremin. So I have a mug either way plus, which has CV outs, and I have a couple of samples here. The first one is More of a subdued sound, but it's using some of the oscillation in there and morph.

And then the second one is kind of a bass sound where you actually hear the gate open and close.

Mickey Delpr  25:29  
Yeah, if you give it a longer release time, and then modulate the filter with the envelope, then you'll get like that classic bass synth kind of sound, with the filter sweep on the decay. So how do people get one of these? You can get them directly from Delta tronics on our website, or electro Faustus on their website. And it's now going out to more distributors as well. Perfect circuit has it now.

Rick Reid  25:56  
Well, thank you very much for letting me borrow the E f 202. thermore, from electro fastest and beltronics.

Mickey Delp 26:03  
Well, thanks for having me on the show.

Rick Reid  26:06  
If you have a product, album or event that you'd like to talk about on the podcast, please let me know. There's never a cost to you to be an interview guest. You just have to have something interesting and Theremin related to discuss. Look for further details on the Theremin 30 website. With the time we have left I want to play an excerpt from a really cool recording sent to me by sindri sortland who plays Theremin with American impro store bent and improvisational music collective based in Bergen, Norway. This track features about a dozen musicians and was composed by collective member Knute Volga with liberal improvisation by all of the musicians involved. The entire track is about 20 minutes long, and you can listen to it on Spotify or Amazon Prime. I definitely recommend headphones. Here now is the Barragan impro store band with a track called ad lib.

That's all the time we have for this month. I want to thank Stephen ham, Javier Diaz anaa Rob Schwimmer and the Barragan impro store band for providing the great music, and Mickey Delp of dope tronics for being my interview guest. In the December episode, I'll be visiting with Dorit Chrysler of the New York Theremin society. She'll be giving us a sneak preview of the new Theremin 100 compilation album due out next month. If you have music you'd like me to play in the December show, please contact me through the website or the Facebook page. As always, thank you for tuning in.

David Brower  29:51  
You've been listening to the Theremin 30 podcast visit Theremin 30 on the web at Theremin three