July 2021 - Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel

  

Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel


The July 2021 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast is a special, super-sized edition. It features music from England, Spain, the USA, Russia, Germany, and Australia, plus an interview with Scott Burland and Frank Schultz of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel. Host Rick Reid also previews the upcoming Worldwide Theremin Academy.

▶️ Listen to this episode on Anchor.

FEATURED MUSIC*

*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. 

ADDITIONAL MUSIC

INTERVIEW GUEST

CALENDAR OF THEREMIN EVENTS

MEDIA LINKS

CONTACT

CREDITS 

Copyright 2021 Rick Reid 

----------------

TRANSCRIPT

Please note that this is a computer-generated transcript.  Some errors have not yet been corrected.

David Brower  0:04  

This is Theremin 30, thirty 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! Welcome to Theremin 30. I came up with the name of this show to indicate that it's 30 minutes long and comes out every 30 days. But you probably noticed that I don't always stick to that 30-day rule. So here it is the beginning of July and I didn't even get a June episode out at all. So to make it up to you, I'm going to break my other rule and let this episode go beyond the 30-minute mark. In fact, this show is going to be longer than two regular episodes. This will give me a chance to play a few really cool longer tracks that wouldn't easily fit into the usual episode format. My special guests this month are the Atlanta Georgia-based ambient group duet for Theremin and lapped steel. And later in the show. I'll fill you in on the Theremin Academy worldwide online events set for July 24 and 25th. So let's get this supersized edition of Theremin 30 started with a new track featuring Uk thereminist Alexx Mazonowicz. This group called New Note Orchestra is made up of musicians who use their talents to help each other with recovery from addiction. They'll be putting on a live streaming concert this first weekend of July July 4 from Brighton England. Tickets are free and there's a link to all the details in the Theremin 30 calendar at Theremin30.com. From their Kind Rebellion album, here's New Note Orchestra with a track called "Astral's Journey part 1."


Rick Reid  15:06  

We started the show with New Note Orchestra featuring Alexx Mazonowicz. They'll be playing live online on July 4. After that, I played "El Mensaje del Rio" or "The Message of the River" from the newest album by Paulo Pascual called Modulador de Ondas, be sure to check out the music video on the Theremin 30 YouTube playlist. Coming up next I'll take a look at the Theremin 30 calendar of theremin events. And I'll play a super-sized theremin track from Chris Conway. So stay tuned.


Rick Reid  15:52  

It's time now for the Theremin 30 calendar. Look at Theremin-related concerts, workshops, and other events happening around the world in the weeks ahead. The first weekend of July Dorit Chrysler will be participating in the Heroines of Sound festival in Berlin. That's actually already started but there are some events left so if you're in the area, be sure to check that out. As I mentioned New Note Orchestra presents a live-streaming concert from Brighton, England on July 4. Leif Rapids will be performing at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on July 23. Itchy-O plays the Denver Sculpture Park on July 24th. Yoko Onishi presents another RCA Theremin Evening on her YouTube channel on July 24. The World Wide Theremin Academy takes place on July 24 and 25th. I'll tell you more about that later in the show. Stranger Strings presents a free lunchtime concert in London, England on July 30. Marla Goodman presents a summer series of theremin recitals from her front porch in Bozeman, Montana, USA on most Thursday evenings. Lydia Kavina continues her Sunday evening workshop series. And Shueh-Li Ong hosts a couple of new episodes of her Music and Chat show this month on YouTube. For details about all of these events and more, check out the interactive calendar on Theremin30.com. And if you have an event that you'd like me to put on the calendar, send me all the details through the website, Twitter or Facebook. Now here's another new recording that was just too long to play in a regular episode from Chris Conway's Splendid Isolation album. Here's a song called "A Genteel Conversation."


Rick Reid  25:05  

That was "A Genteel Conversation" by Chris Conway. It's from his new album Splendid Isolation, which is made up of improvisations he recorded in his home studio in Leicester, England during the pandemic lockdown. To learn more about Chris and the other artists in this episode, visit Theremin30.com and click on their names. Later in this extended edition of the Theremin 30 podcast. I'll preview the 2021 worldwide Theremin Academy. And right after this break, I'll visit with the members of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel. So stick around.


Rick Reid  26:06  

as you might imagine, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel is a two-member band consisting of a thereminist Scott Burland and lap steel guitar player Frank Schultz. I played their spacey, ambient music a couple of times on previous episodes. They have a brand new album out so I invited them on the show to talk about that, and about their creative collaboration process. Scott and Frank, thank you so much for being on Theremin 30

Scott Burland

Thank you, Rick.


Rick Reid

Let's start with you. Frank. Tell me how you describe your band and its music to people who aren't familiar with 
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel.


Frank Schultz  26:42  

I start out with the name and see what kind of look I get from the person I'm talking to go from there. 


Rick Reid  26:49  

Do you have a certain label that you like for the kind of music you create?


Frank Schultz  26:54  

 It's improvised music but more towards the ambient side of things.


Rick Reid  27:00  

And Scott, why don't you tell us how the two of you got together?


Scott Burland  27:03  

I've known Frank for a long time we were involved 16 years ago, maybe you know large group improv session with 15 people on stage. We knew each other. We said hello and got set up. And Frank was playing lap steel. And I had my theremin. And Frank had trouble hearing himself. And there was a bass player standing directly in front of me. And so I was having a hard time getting any kind of signal out of the theremin. And we were both a little disappointed in the outcome of that. But a few months later, Frank called and said, "Hey, would you be interested in trying to lap steel and theremin together?" and I thought that was a great idea. And so we started practicing probably early in 2006. We get together every couple of weeks, and we were both learning our instruments. At that time, I was really a newbie at the Theremin and Frank was learning the lap steel. And also we were using Ableton Live to add effects to our sounds. And so we're learning how that worked. And then things went on from there.


Rick Reid  28:05  

I think people would know the lap steel from country music or maybe Hawaiian music and one of my favorite guitarists Steve Howe uses a steel guitar on some of the Yes recordings. It sounds different when you play it. I listened to your albums and I'm not sure if I'm hearing guitar or not.


Frank Schultz  28:21  

Yeah, exactly. I never learned how to properly play lap steel guitar. So as Scott learned the theremin I learned the lap steel. I learned in a style that suited what we were doing together versus learning the instrument traditionally. So I think that's probably why it sounds the way it sounds.


Rick Reid  28:42  

You have these long, sustained, beautiful shimmering sorts of sounds. And I assume that it's difficult to hold the note that long. How do each of you do that with your respective instruments?


Scott Burland  28:53  

It's challenging to sustain notes for a long time just because of the way the theremin is played. So that's where effects come in. And I can, you know set a long delay or reverb and play around with that. And if I have to adjust my hand that's controlling the pitch, I can do that to try to nail the pitch.


Rick Reid  29:14  

For the lap steel Are you using an E-bow or a Vo Wond or some other sort of device to excite the strings?


Frank Schultz  29:21  

I have used the E-bow probably 10 times in the last 15 years.


Rick Reid

Oh!


Frank Schultz 

To me, it gives a weird harmonic ring that doesn't suit my lap steel very well. But I've been playing a little bit around with that and muting the back part of the string. So it doesn't seem to vibrate quite as much in the sounds a little bit better. So working on that a little bit primarily though, it's the use of violin bow... or effects.


Rick Reid

Oh, okay. 


Frank Schultz 

...or effects.


Rick Reid  29:53  

I tried out lap steel a little bit last year. I got an inexpensive lap steel to try to imitate what I thought you guys were doing and I never could figure it out trade secret right there, I should have you explain how you improvise the music,


Scott Burland  30:07  

there's really not a lot of discussion. But we typically rehearse at Frank's house and his stuff is set up, I show up, set my stuff up, and then we start playing, there's really no discussion about what we're going to do, we start playing, and then it may go for 15 minutes, it may go for an hour and a half. Frank will set the tone, whatever that is, whether it's a rhythmic thing or a drone, or he's bowing the lap steel. And then I'll just listen for a minute and then try to decide what's going to work with that. And then we just go from there, I can change it up. And then Frank can react to that, or vice versa. And next thing we know, it's 45 minutes later,


Rick Reid  30:46  

do you set up some rules for yourself so that you don't repeat a motif or an effect that you've already done on another recording?


Frank Schultz  30:53  

I don't, I tend to use the same types of effects that I've used for a while and just try and tweak those, but nothing really pre-planned.


Rick Reid  31:03  

You have a new album out right now I'm going to attempt to pronounce it. I think it's called Oh-mau-mua. Is that close?


Scott Burland 

So close? It's ʻOumuamua.


Rick Reid 

Say that again? 


Scott Burland 

ʻOumuamua.


Rick Reid 

And what does that mean? And how did you come up with that title?


Scott Burland  31:20  

ʻOumuamua is a Hawaiian word. And it translates as messenger from afar arriving first, it was the first Interstellar, what would you call it Frank, first interstellar... 

Frank Schultz  31:32  

Object... 


Scott Burland  31:33  

...object that was...


Frank Schultz  31:34  

...to come into our solar system. 


Rick Reid  31:36  

Oh, so this is that long space rock...


Frank Schultz

Yes.


Rick Reid  31:39  

...that was in the news, what a year or two ago?


Scott Burland

It was observed in 2017.

Rick Reid  31:45  

And did you come up with the title first, and then created music to fit the title? Or was it the other way around?


Frank Schultz  31:51  

We created the music first, and then went through the recordings, and then decided how to handle those as a project, which includes titles and themes and that kind of thing. 


Rick Reid  32:03  

You have one of the tracks as kind of a single Hector, you have a music video out for that we do we have music videos out for Vesta and for Hector. And I say kind of a single because both of those tracks are about eight minutes long. So it's not your typical single, right?


Scott Burland  32:20  

We have trouble with a three-to-four-minute scenario. The four-minute mark is just about when things start to take shape, and kind of make sense. So we go with that it's hard to make all the things happen in four minutes.


Rick Reid  32:31  

I've been to a few ambient shows, and I performed in an ambient show once. And it's definitely a different experience than going to a rock concert, I was curious about how it feels to be performing live for an audience that's drifting off into hypnosis as you play.


Scott Burland  32:47  

I go back to our first performance, which was in December 2006. And I think it struck both of us how quiet The audience was, you could hear a pin drop out there, it doesn't happen every time. But when it does, it's just a nice -- it shows a level of respect for the music. But it also just helps us to not be distracted by people talking or opening up beer cans. And we've played rock clubs, we've had to deal with that. But also, we've played the same venue and have had super quiet crowds. Our preference would be that people just weren't in that sort of dream state where they're just letting the music flow through them and or just listening.


Frank Schultz  33:25  

I think for me, that was the first grouping that I've played in that was this ambient or this droney. At first, I think I was a little concerned that there wasn't much of visual enticement for the audience. And I guess that can play one of two ways either. One way you hopefully good way is people just focus on the music. And so from that, we started showing some film, and I think the film actually helped folks not trying to either figure out what we're doing or wonder why we're not moving. a filmmaker here in Atlanta, Robbie land has cut quite a few films for us to take on tour and actually project live one more entail. I think we've just have gotten accustomed to folks that come out to the show and they don't really expect to rock and roll show. And we certainly don't provide that.


Rick Reid  34:15  

So how can people find out about your new album and any upcoming live performances?


Scott Burland  34:21  

The best place to listen to our music and purchase our music is through Bandcamp and that's DFTALS.bandcamp.com and then through our website, which is duetonline.net and that's typically where we have our tour schedule or upcoming shows listed. 


Frank Schultz  34:43  

You can purchase digital copies of our music through Apple Music and Amazon and all that stuff and as well as on Bandcamp. If you want to go straight to the source then Bandcamp's in place to go. 


Rick Reid  34:55  

This new album is a double album and the CD is limited to 120 five copies. So that's a collector's item. And I do want to mention that your most recent album before this new one came out in the height of the pandemic lockdown and you donated proceeds from the sales to support some nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta area.


Scott Burland  35:19  

Yeah, there was an organization called Giving Kitchen, which helps food service workers during the pandemic to help pay rent or bills or with health situations or health insurance. And then there was another organization, Atlanta Musicians Emergency Relief Fund, which provided help to musicians in those same ways. 


Rick Reid  35:40  

That's really a great and kind gesture and also sets a good example for other artists who might be able to do something similar.


Scott Burland  35:47  

We were pleased to be able to do that. And also just to be able to donate some money to organizations that benefited many of our friends and acquaintances here in Atlanta.


Rick Reid  35:56  

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me. And I've been a fan for a few years. I really enjoy your music and it was great to meet Scott a couple years ago at Moogfest.


Scott Burland  36:06  

Thanks for having us. Thanks for listening.


Frank Schultz  36:08  

We appreciate your support over the years for sure. Love the podcast.


Rick Reid  36:12  

Let's listen now to something from their new album that would be too long to play in anything but this supersized episode of Theremin 30 here's Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel with a track called "Vesta."


Rick Reid  44:45  

That was "Vesta" by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel. Check out the music video for that track on the Theremin 30 YouTube playlist up text I've got more details on the worldwide Theremin Academy so stay tuned


Rick Reid  45:11  

Theremin Academy is an ongoing series of coordinated workshops held each year in France, Germany, England, and Switzerland. Past editions of Theremin Academy have featured workshops and performances by some of the most accomplished professional thereminist from around the world. Of course, the global pandemic forced the cancellation of most Theremin Academy events last year and the first half of this year. So the organizers have come up with a worldwide Theremin Academy that you can attend from your own home. It'll take place on July 24, and 25th. And it'll run continuously for 38 hours. So you can drop in whenever it's convenient and stay for an hour or all day, and everything will be recorded. So if you need to, I don't know sleep or something, you can watch the parts you missed. There will be performances and workshops conducted online from Europe, the USA, and Australia covering a wide range of musical styles and there will be sessions for both beginning and advanced players. There will also be presentations on Theremin history and technology, including the session just for a moment there are many owners, the whole event will take place live over zoom, and you'll have the chance to play in a live Theremin ensemble with other musicians from around the world. It looks to be a great couple of days of learning and fun. If you play Theremin, I'm sure you're aware it can be difficult to meet and collaborate with other Theremin players. So this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us. And I should mention that I'm not involved in planning or organizing the event in any way. But I just think it's going to be a really cool event and I hope to see you there. The registration fee for the event is 30 British pounds. And you can get the details and the full schedule online at Theremin.Academy. There's no dotcom in that it's just Theremin.Academy. And with that in mind, I'm going to finish off this supersized episode of the Theremin 30 podcast with an extended set of recent releases from three of the scheduled presenters and performers at the worldwide Theremin Academy. Lydia Kavina, Oleysasa Rostovskaya, and Miles Brown. I'll have track titles and other details after the set or you can follow along and this month show notes at Theremin30.com


Rick Reid  1:05:49  

We started that final set within "Whims of the Weather for two theremins and accordion" by Lydia Kavina from the album In a Nick of Time. That track features thereminist Lydia Kavina and Trautonia Capra with button accordionist Roman Usipey. The album was recorded back in 2013, but was just released earlier this year. Then I played "Mutation" with Olesya Rostovskaya on Theremin, Sergei Letov on electric saxophone, and Vladimir Goulokov on electric vibraphone from their new album At 9pm After Lockdown. The trio recorded this live improvised performance in Moscow on August 1 2020, the first day after the lifting of lockdown restrictions there. Then we ended that set with an excerpt from Transmogrification a new album by The Narcoleptor, an experimental collaboration between Australian thereminist Miles brown and harpist Mary Doumany. Lydia, Olesya, and Miles will be participating in the worldwide Theremin Academy in late July. Check out this month's show notes for a link to more details in the full schedule of workshops and performances. And that wraps up this special edition of the Theremin 30 podcast. I'll be back around the first of August with a brand new episode and the more fun-sized 30-minute format. I'll have new music from Kevin Sinnott, Japan's 100 member matyromin ensemble Mabel and Da, Steve Stroud, and maybe you. And one final note, if you've been enjoying the podcast, please help me make it grow by leaving a review on the Apple Podcasts website, by recommending the show to your friends, purchasing logo gear in the merch store, or by sending me a small gift to help cover my expenses. Also, consider advertising on the show if you have an album or workshop or some other event that you'd like to promote. You can visit the website for more details about all of that or send me a note through Facebook or Twitter. Also, please do what you can to support the theremin recording artists. Of course, this podcast couldn't exist without their talent and generosity. Until next time, I'm your host, Rick Reid, mind your control zone and we'll see you again soon.


David Brower  1:08:03  

You've been listening to the Theremin 30 podcast. Visit Theremin 30 on the web at Theremin30.com.


May 2021 - Shueh-Li Ong

 

Shueh-Li Ong

The May 2021 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast features music from Spain, England, and the USA. Rick Reid interviews Shueh-Li Ong, host of the YouTube livestream series Music and Chat with Shueh-Li Ong.

▶️ Listen to this episode on Anchor.


FEATURED MUSIC*

*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. 

ADDITIONAL MUSIC

INTERVIEW GUEST

CALENDAR OF THEREMIN EVENTS

MEDIA LINKS

CONTACT

CREDITS 

Copyright 2021 Rick Reid 

----------------

TRANSCRIPT

David Brower
This is Theremin 30, thirty minutes of theremin music, news, events, and interviews, with a new episode about every 30 days. Now, here is your host from Denver, Colorado, USA -- Rick Reid.

Rick Reid
Hey, there! Welcome to the May 2021 episode of Theremin 30, the world's number one monthly theremin music podcast. I think it is safe to say that. This month I've got some wonderful music from England, Spain, and the USA. And my special guest is the multi-talented Shueh-Li Ong, host of the YouTube live-streaming show Music and Chat with Shueh-Li Ong. It is going to be a challenge to get everything into a 30-minute show, so let's get right to it.

First up, it's brand new music from Therematic, a project of Spanish thereminist Javier Diez Ena. Javier uses several theremins and Abelton Live to create both audio and MIDI streams at the same time. The result is a style he calls theremin dance music.  The name of this track is "Exotique Mecanique." 

Rick Reid
We started the show with a song called "Exotique Mecanique" by Therematic, the new dance music project by Javier Diez Ena. After that we heard a Claude Debussy composition, "Beau Soir," or "Beautiful Evening," performed by UK thereminist Charlie Draper and Harpist Holly Lowe, a duo calling themselves Stranger Strings. Debussy wrote this piece to accompany the words of a poem by Paul Bourget. The duo recorded this track last November for a TEDx presentation. You can watch the video on the Theremin 30 YouTube playlist.

It's time now for the Theremin 30 calendar of theremin events. On June 5th, concerts are back around the world with the Divine Hand Ensemble performing at a cemetery in Philadelphia, The Narcolepter on stage in Australia, and Javier Diez Ena performing as Therematic in Madrid, Spain. Lydia Kavina continues her online theremin workshops on most Sundays.  Yoko Onishi hosts another edition of the RCA Theremin Evening on YouTube on Saturday, June 26th. And on July 4th, the New Note Orchestra featuring thereminist Alexx Mazonovich will present a live-streaming concert with music from their new album. For details, visit the calendar page on Theremin30.com.

I'll have music from Armen Ra later in the show. And coming right up, I'll visit with the host of Music and Chat with Shueh-Li Ong. So stay tuned!

Rick Reid
Shueh-Li Ong has been called Singapore's Diva of the Theremin. The Nashville Scene newspaper has called her Queen of the Theremin. And I called her just a few days ago to find out more about the streaming talk show she has been hosting from two different continents during the pandemic.

Rick Reid
Sheuh-Li Ong. Thank you so much for being on the Theremin 30 podcast.

Shueh-Li Ong
Thanks Rick. Thanks so much for having me.

Rick Reid
We met in Durham, North Carolina, during Moogfest, a couple of years ago.You were performing at the Arcana.

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes, I was. And it was a pleasure as well to meet you finally in person.   

Rick Reid
You play keyboards and synthesizers and theremin. And it seems like every theremin player's got a story about how they became a theremin player. So what's your story?

Shueh-Li Ong
When I considered the theremin, I had reached a juncture in my development as a musician. I already had a degree in piano and post-graduate research in interactive multimedia performance systems. And I had just left a position as head of marketing and game development lead with this particular company in Singapore to then direct a music and technology show design company. I know it sounds like a mouthful, but I was always very keen that way to do too many things. So I was quite ready to incorporate other languages into my work, other musics. And the theremin was a natural choice. The grandfather of electronic musical instruments. I thought it deserved some airtime. I thought I could be a proponent -- one of many. Being a student of the theremin has also shaped the way I view and resolve problems in life. I hope I'm a little wiser or a wiser learner because of the experience.  Feeling inadequate is a catalyst to progress and a good thing if it challenges you. I guess you could say the impostor syndrome is a version of what I'm talking about. Some people are on the other end of the spectrum, the moment they start playing an instrument, they can do something, be it artistic or arithmetic or whatever. They go, "Nah, I'm really good at this. And look at me."  And I had come from the other side where the more I do,  the less I know, but the more excited I am.

Rick Reid
It seems like a lot of theremin players starting out or even after a few years still feel like an imposter. I know, I feel that way.

Shueh-Li Ong
The theremin is such a humbling instrument. Isn't it? It really forces you to just get down on your knees and pay attention. I know so many musicians and good ones who decide they want to play the theremin and realize it's not one of those instruments you can tame easily.  

Rick Reid
You've been playing theremin for more than 20 years and you've got a theremin with the Bob Moog signature on the top, did you ever get a chance to meet him?

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes, I did very briefly because we communicated over what I would like to have as a quote-unquote, player of the instrument, which was to have the volume antenna inverted. So he kindly did that for me. And when it came to purchasing my Etherwave Pro, he also did the conversion on that for me. A funny anecdote was during a photoshoot someone hit and toppled the E-Pro and damaged the antennas and it was sent it back to him to Moog Music. But unfortunately, Bob Moog had already left us and was only there in spirit. And the guys at Moog Music said to me "Bob did not leave any blueprints so we'll have to reverse engineer this and --hope we can fix it!"

Rick Reid
You use a lot of effects with your electronic music. Do you have a favorite effects pedal that you use with your theremin?

Shueh-Li Ong
I started off experimenting with effects pedals and then ended up using plug-in effects on Mainstage instead.  Mainstage is the performance accompaniment to Logic Pro, which is the DAW that I use. 

Rick Reid
The other reason that I wanted you on the show, not just because you're a theremin player, you have a show of your own --  Music and Chat with Shueh-Li Ong. What is that? How do you explain it to someone who hasn't seen the show?

Shueh-Li Ong
I began Music and Chat with Shelly Ong, a YouTube live stream, as a means to stay in touch with friends and fans during the pandemic. And friends from the industry and their friends have been my guests. Sharing their behind-the-scenes work as inventors, concept artists, VFX supervisors, composers, orchestrators, synthesists, magazine editors, et cetera, et cetera.  The whole idea was to stay in touch with everybody and to bring some fun and joy and party spirit. When I say party, everyone gets together and it's a hearty party. I say you feel like you're gathering with friends and you are interacting with them because it's real-time, everyone gets to, have conversations with each other, as well as with the guest and with me. And they really enjoy that. So do the guests, which is really nice. 

Rick Reid
People can ask questions of your guest?

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes. And they do. Very often they are more informed than I am, being fans of various areas or musical genres, or even the guest, in particular, they have followed the history or the trends of the era or the person in question. And they have more in-depth information than I might have.  And I love it because we all learn from each other. That's the whole point, isn't it? I'm just hosting it. I'm not claiming to be the historian. And I have had some. Interesting historical and anecdotal accounts as well from our various guests, who have included Peter Zenovieff of EMS London, Jim Scott and Herb Deutsch on their work with Bob Moog, Pat Gleeson and Don Preston on synthesizing Apocalypse Now, performers from Moogfest  '07  when it was still held at B.B. King's Times Square. I've been trying to find video clips from MoogFest '07, and I believe someone out there has it. So I'm hoping to bring the gang back again to view some of these clips, which I hope will be in a few months' time.  I'll have some other guests such as Dean Parks and Chuck Rainey, Fairlight and Synclavier exponents Rory Kaplan and Chris Currell, and Bob Clearmountain will be back for round two. Bob is a premier mix engineer well-known for his work during the eighties and nineties, I believe, and still carrying on.

Rick Reid
And your show is music and chat. So you actually perform live during part of your show.

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes, I do at the very start. I chat with my viewers and then I play something live for them. And "live" is the operative word.

Rick Reid
Synthesizers and theremin?

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes. Sometimes tin whistle. On the odd occasion I sing.

Rick Reid
If people want to watch your program, is it every week?

Shueh-Li Ong
I just launched season three last Saturday,  And due to my teaching schedule, I'm doing it every fortnight or some people might say every two weeks. And I will see how my schedule works out. I might start doing it weekly.

Rick Reid
I've been putting it on my Theremin 30 calendar. And  I put a note in there because sometimes you change the time depending on your guest's schedule.

Shueh-Li Ong
Because it's live. I do need to accommodate the guests depending on where they're coming from.  I feel very fortunate being in this pandemic situation that people are still reaching out and that's the whole point of Music and Chat, that we can come together, share music, and just share our companionship. And our guests have been very nice to agree to appear and allow us to do that.

Rick Reid
If I miss a show, can I watch it later?

Shueh-Li Ong
Yes. They are currently archived on my YouTube channel.  If you are interested in checking it out it's Oceanachine spelled O C E A N A C H I N E.  It's one word, or if you get lost, you can type my name in, but you need to spell it correctly. And it's S H U E H L I and my last name is Ong, O N G.  

Rick Reid
it's Music and Chat with Shelly Ong and it's every fortnight. it's either on a Sunday or a Saturday, depending on what part of the world you're in.

Shueh-Li Ong
I usually put a placeholder on the spot where the live stream will take place eventually. And it gives you time and dates and how many hours to the live stream. You won't ever get lost. And if you subscribe and hit the bell symbol, you'll be alerted to when the live streams take place.

Rick Reid
And I'll have the link to that on the show notes for this episode. So if the listeners don't remember how to spell your name, they can just click on the link on the notes and get right to your show on YouTube.

Shueh-Li Ong
If I may tell your listeners that if they're interested in lessons with me, I can do them remotely, or if they want a song or album to be produced and they need help, I can do that, too.

Rick Reid
Oh, cool. Thank you very much for being on the podcast.

Shueh-Li Ong
Thanks, Rick. And you take care, and thanks so much for having me as well.

Rick Reid
Now, let's finish this segment of the show with some music by Shueh-Li Ong that features upright bass player Brian Mooney. This is a medley of two short pieces called "SarahSaoirse" and "Izeibil."

Rick Reid
There's still music on the way from Armen Ra, so stay tuned!

Rick Reid
Let's finish the show with two tracks from Armen Ra's 2018 album Theremin Discmorphia.  I was going to play just one song, but these two tracks seem meant to stay together. First, you'll hear "Nessun Dorma," the aria from the Puccini opera Turandot. "Nessum Dorma" translates from Italian as "Let No One Sleep."  After that, we'll hear "Let Me Sleep."

Rick Reid
Thank you so much to Therematic, Stranger Strings, Shueh-Li Ong, and Armen Ra for sharing their music, and another thank you to Shueh-Li Ong for visiting with me about her Music and Chat show on YouTube. Coming up in the June episode, I'll be playing new music from Paulo Pascual and the New Note Orchestra. Until then, please do all you can to support the recording artists and guests who appear on Theremin 30. It has been a difficult time for everyone in the theremin community, so we need to continue to lift each other up. I'm your host, Rick Reid. I'll see you around on Twitter and Facebook.

David Brower
You've been listening to the Theremin 30 podcast. Visit Theremin 30 on the web at Theremin30.com.

April 2021 - Christophe Duquesne and Grégoire Blanc

 Christophe Duquesne and Gregoire Blanc

Christophe Duquesne (left) and Grégoire Blanc (right)

The April 2021 episode of the Theremin 30 podcast features music from Canada, Japan, and the USA. Rick Reid interviews Christophe Duquesne of La Voix du Luthier and thereminist Grégoire Blanc.

▶️ Listen to this episode on Anchor.


FEATURED MUSIC*

*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. 

ADDITIONAL MUSIC

INTERVIEW GUEST

CALENDAR OF THEREMIN EVENTS

MEDIA LINKS

CONTACT

CREDITS 

Copyright 2021 Rick Reid 

-------------------

TRANSCRIPT

David Brower  00:04

This is Theremin 30. Thirty minutes of theremin music, news, events, and interviews with a new episode about every 30 days. Now, here is your host from Denver, Colorado, USA, Rick Reid. 

Rick Reid  00:19

Well, hello there! This is episode 24 and the season three premiere of Theremin 30, the mostly monthly theremin music podcast. Thank you to all of the listeners, artists, and guests who have been along for the ride so far. And if you're new to the show, I encourage you to listen to all of the previous episodes for some great music and conversation. You can find a list with the links to all of the episodes on the website, Theremin30.com. In this episode, I've got new music from Canada, Japan, and the USA. And I'm happy to have as my interview guests this month Christophe Duquesne and Grégoire Blanc. They'll be visiting with me about some gorgeous high-end speakers from France that you can pair with your Moog Claravox Centennial theremin when that arrives sometime eventually.

Now let's start with some music. In a few minutes, I've got a brand new release from Japan Theremin Old School. But first, I've got the latest release from Stephen Hamm, Vancouver, Canada's "theremin man." The psychedelic rock track I'm about to play for you is available as a collectible 7-inch vinyl single. You can order it from Stephen's website. To get there, follow the link in this month's show notes. Now crank up your headphones and "Listen to the Sound of the Sun."

Rick Reid  10:07

We began the show with Stephen Hamm, "theremin man," with "Listen to the Sound of the Sun," the A-side from his current vinyl single release. Then we heard French composer Maurice Ravel's "Pavane pour une infante défunte" or "Pavane for a Dead Princess," the lead track of Renaissance and Evolution, a brand-new album produced by Masami Takeuchi of Mandarin Electron. It features recordings by two of Masami's theremin music projects, Japan Theremin Old School, and the 100-member matryomin ensemble Mabel and Da. For links to buy either of these tracks click on the artists' names in this month's show notes.

Rick Reid  10:47

It's time now for the Theremin 30 calendar of theremin events. On Sunday evenings through May 16, members of the Itchy-O marching band host a series of online electronic meditation sessions. The music history documentary Sisters with Transistors is available for streaming on-demand through mid-May. It features a segment about Clara Rockmore. On May 21 and 22nd Devotchka headlines two free concerts right here in Denver, Colorado. Also on May 22nd, the New York Theremin Society hosts a pair of online workshops with Dorit Chrysler. For details about these and other theremin-related events around the world, visit the calendar page on Theremin30.com.

Rick Reid  11:28

Later in the show, I'll play some theremin-infused piano jazz from Yelena Eckemoff. And after this break, we'll hear from loudspeaker designer Christophe Duquesne and thereminist Grégoire Blanc. So stay tuned.

Rick Reid  11:53

When Moog Music announced the Claravox Centennial theremin last Fall, they released a video featuring French thereminist Grégoire Blanc playing "Claire de Lune" on a prototype unit. In the video, he's playing through a beautiful pyramid-shaped amplified speaker from a French company called La Voix du Luthier or The Luthier's Voice. I've been seeing that speaker at music industry trade shows over the last few years along with another design called the Onde. So I thought it might be interesting to have their co-designer Christophe Duquesne on the podcast this month to tell us about them. And joining us is Grégoire Blanc to give us some insight from a thereminist's perspective. Christophe, tell me about how your company La Voix du Luthier got started and what's your involvement with it.

Christophe Duquesne  12:39

I'm also involved in Haken Audio on the development of the Continuum. I'm working on physical modeling. And there was always something I was not happy with. That was the sound of the speakers. And it happened that I met a stringed instrument maker. His name is Marc Lucas. He is also from France, too. And he was trying to embed some electronics in his instruments. That was a perfect match. And so we decided to work together. And for me, that was really the way to connect my electronic instrument and physical modeling stuff with the traditional skills of instrument makers. I'm not really the first to do this. Maurice Martenot already did this quite a long time ago. So that was also a kind of continuation of his work.

Rick Reid  13:21

I've seen your speakers at a NAMM Show a couple of years ago. They're beautiful. And what I thought was: it's a regular speaker in a beautiful cabinet. But there's actually more to it than that, right?

Christophe Duquesne  13:31

In fact, we don't call them "speakers" because there is no speaker inside. It's really fully built of wood with the same technique as you build soundboards for piano or for guitars. On the soundboard, you have transducers that are transmitting the vibration to the wood. So what you're hearing is really the vibration of the wood itself exactly as you hear it when you listen to a guitar. What you hear is is not the string. What you hear is the soundboard. The string itself is not loud enough. On an acoustic guitar, you have a bridge and the bridge transmits the vibration to the soundboard. And that's exactly the same thing we are doing. Instead of a bridge, we have exciters. An exciter is basically a magnet with a coil. When you put it on the wood then it transmits vibration as the bridge does on the guitar.

Rick Reid  14:16

So you have the Pyramide, which is a pyramid-shaped resonator with an amplifier, and the Onde is shaped somewhat like a grand piano. How do the two different systems sound different from each other? And how do they affect the sound of the instrument going into it?

Christophe Duquesne  14:32

Basically, you will have more low-end sound on the Pyramide and more sharper sound on the Onde. The Pyramide is also a bit louder. But some people prefer the Onde or they prefer the Pyramide. That's really a matter of taste, mainly. One is bigger than the other. The Onde is something you can carry like a guitar. It's very light. It's 2 and a half kilos. And so there's no trouble. The head of the Pyramide, the main resonator, is  6 kilos and the base is nearly 10. So, usually people just keep them in one single place.

Rick Reid  15:01

So, Grégoire, how do you use your speaker? Do you take it to gigs or is it mainly for use at home?

Grégoire Blanc  15:07

I got my...

Rick Reid  15:08

Oh! I called it a speaker. I'm sorry, your resonator...

Grégoire Blanc  15:12

I got mine just after the COVID started so I didn't have the opportunity to really perform gigs with it. Here what is interesting is that we can play purely acoustically. If you have a concert with other acoustic instruments and you don't want microphones and amplifiers for all the instruments, you can treat your theremin as if it were a pure, acoustic instrument. It's just amazing because you really get the feeling of a violin or something like that. And it definitely changes something, not necessarily in the way you play the theremin, but in the way you relate to it and the way you feel the sound. And it's a much more intimate, acoustic way to perform the theremin. The theremin is an electronic music instrument, right? But the way it is played by the musician like the ondes Martenot or the Continuum, it is very expressive in itself, so much closer to traditional musical instruments. So an acoustic amplifier brings the theremin back to a more classical root, I would say.

Christophe Duquesne  16:14

Unlike a speaker, which is very directional, a soundboard is omni-directional. When you play a violin in a classical venue you can hear the violin in all of the venue. It's not loud, but you hear it all over. And the Onde and the Pyramide behave exactly the same way because it uses the same principle as a violin or a piano. You can really hear them all over a venue. And if you're in a good classical venue, you don't need to go through an amplifier. You really can hear it as any other acoustic instrument.

Grégoire Blanc  16:40

I should mention, also, that these resonators are absolutely great to amplify other electronic sources. And with synthesizers, it's amazing.

Rick Reid  16:50

A lot of listeners, including me, have ordered the Claravox Centennial theremin. And it occurred to me that once I've spent probably the most money I will ever spend on a theremin, maybe I should have a good way to listen to it. And I saw the demo video that you had made, Grégoire, with the pyramid speaker. And I was wondering, are you getting inquiries from people who are planning to get a Claravox and want to learn more about the Onde and the Pyramide resonator to go with it?

Grégoire Blanc  17:19

Yeah. Definitely. It was interesting because when Moog contacted me to be part of the Claravox program and mentioned this demo video, I had this exact same feeling as you. It's a wonderful theremin. It's been a very long time since Moog did a professional theremin. And we were playing in such a very special place, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, here in France. So immediately I thought about Christophe and the Pyramide. It was absolutely beautiful for the place and also the look, in itself, of the Pyramide was really going well with the look of the Claravox. And acoustically, it was wonderful. We mic'd the Pyramide with two microphones close to the Pyramide and also we used the global ambient mics for the theremin and the piano together. And it was naturally resonating in the standing acoustics of the place. So it totally made sense to have an acoustic resonator for this specific purpose. And yeah, it really brought some interest from people. I got plenty of messages, of course, questions about the Claravox, but also about the Pyramide from La Voix du Luthier. I didn't expect just by bringing a Pyramide with the Claravox to make it feel that natural. But it actually is. And I'm sure that a lot of people would have been inspired to think about "which speaker should we use for theremin?" And yeah, definitely the resonators from La Voix du Luthier are very, very, interesting options.

Rick Reid  18:50

Gregoire, can you share an example of how the resonator affects the sound of your performance on theremin?

Grégoire Blanc  18:56

Yeah, definitely. So I prepared for you two little samples. One of the Claravox dry. A very simple melody that you can hear now.

Grégoire Blanc  19:34

And this other one, it is recorded through the Onde speaker. I placed a microphone just in front of the resonator. And you can see that the sound is a little bit different.

Grégoire Blanc  20:14

What I usually do is that I split the output of my theremin to record both a dry signal to the DAW and a wet signal that goes through the Onde and a microphone. And then I can just add the touch of wood I want to the sound. Definitely the sound is very interesting to have with a theremin.

Grégoire Blanc  20:34

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me. I really have my eye on the Onde in particular. That's something that is on my shopping list for the future.

Christophe Duquesne  20:43

Thank you very much for your invitation. That was really a pleasure to talk together today.

Rick Reid  20:47

Now let's finish this segment of the podcast with a longer demo recording Grégoire made just for this show using his Onde resonator. Here is an excerpt from Tchaikovsky's "Nocturne" op. 19, no. 4.

Rick Reid  22:14

There's more theremin music coming up on the season 3 premiere episode of Theremin 30. So stick around.

Rick Reid  22:32

Let's end this third season premiere show with a wonderful track that's perfect for Spring. It's from Adventures of the Wildflower, the latest album by North Carolina-based jazz pianist and composer Yelena Eckemoff. The double album tells the musical story of the life of a columbine flower. Eckemoff recorded the album in Finland, and her band features Jorma Saari on guitar, glass harp, and theremin. Here is the lead-off track called "In the Ground."

Rick Reid  29:11

Thank you to Stephen Hamm, Japan Theremin Old School, and Yelena Eckemoff for sharing their new music with us. Also thanks to interview guests Christophe Duquesne of La Voix du Luthier and thereminist Grégoire Blanc. Coming up in the May episode, I plan to have new music from Javier Diez Ena, Charlie Draper, and maybe you, So be sure to subscribe to the show through your favorite podcast app and let me know if you have theremin music I can play on the show. Until next time, I'm your host, Rick Reid. Please continue to follow the pandemic restrictions in your area so we can all safely get together again soon. And in the meantime, I'll see you around on Facebook and Twitter.

David Brower  29:51

You've been listening to the Theremin 30 podcast. Visit Theremin 30 on the web at Theremin30.com.