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Theremin In The Rain by Gordon Monahan

This is one of the more beguiling electronics-based projects I’ve heard in years. Here, Gordon Monahan uses a theremin to control a MIDI interface amid strategic placement of contact microphones and other configurations. The artist outlines the digital equipment schematic on the inside CD sleeve and states, "When the theremin is played, analog signals are converted to midi signals that control the playing of the mechanized sound sculptures." Nonetheless, it’s a complex plan, but exceedingly entertaining on various musical fronts.

With these computer-based processes, the artist stretches barriers via a multilayered sequence of manipulations, where sinuous wave forms produce haunting soundscapes and seemingly programmatic rhythmic patterns. With the mimicking of chimes and jangling bells coupled against liquefying backdrops, Monahan’s unwieldy music-making is a study in contrasts and sound-twisting vistas. At times, the innate theremin tones produce a siren effect amid freaky world music percussion grooves.

Robotic themes often dissipate into polytonal drones. And on "Aerial Drop," a broad lower-register sound-form proceeds as though it’s trying to devour the pulsating, upper-register noise. Hearing is believing folks! Yet, it would be even nicer to actually see how Monahan pulled it off, which according to the liners, took place at the 2003 Open Ears festival in Canada. He intimates a supernatural caricature during the preponderance of this mind-bending endeavor.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Gordon Monahan
  • CD Title: Theremin In The Rain
  • Genre: Electronica
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: C3R
  • Musicians: Gordon Monahan (theremin, all instruments and processes)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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