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 Spotify.


*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. 







Copyright 2021 Rick Reid 



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


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 


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  


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


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.