Thursday, January 19, 2006

Haunted by Hauntology in the Stillness of the HyperNow

You - are the caretaker here ... You've always been the caretaker here

Uuuooooooooooooooooooo ...

Lucie Bigelow Rosen playing the Theremin

Termen's first machine, built in the USSR in 1917 was christened the "Theremin" (after himself) or the "Aetherophone" (sound from the 'ether') and was the first instrument to exploit the heterodyning principle. The original Theremin used a foot pedal to control the volume and a switch mechanism to alter the pitch. This prototype evolved into a production model Theremin in 1920, this was a unique design, resembling a gramaphone cabinet on 4 legs with a protruding metal antenae and a metal loop. The instrument was played by moving the hands around the metal loop for volume and around the antenae for pitch. The output was a monophonic continuous tone modulated by the performer. The timbre of the instrument was fixed and resembled a violin string sound. The sound was produced directly by the heterodyning combination of two radio-frequency oscillators: one operating at a fixed frequency of 170,000 Hz, the other with a variable frequency between 168,000 and 170,000 Hz. the frequency of the second oscillator being determined by the proximity of the musician's hand to the pitch antenna. The difference of the fixed and variable radio frequencies results in an audible beat frequency between 0 and 2,000 Hz. The audible sound came from the oscillators, later models adding an amplifier and large triangular loudspeaker. This Theremin model was first shown to the public at the Moscow Industrial Fair in 1920 and was witnessed by Lenin who requested lessons on the instrument. Lenin later commissioned 600 models of the Theremin to be built and toured around the Soviet Union.

Termen left the Soviet Union in 1927 for the United States where he was granted a patent for the Theremin in 1928. The Theremin was marketed and distributed in the USA by RCA during the 1930's and continues, in a transistorised form, to be manufactured by Robert Moog's 'Big Briar'company.

Lev Sergeivitch Termen playing the "Theremin"

... Theremin set up a studio there catering to high society patrons from whom he would extract the moneys he used to continue his experiments. His New York studio apparently was kitted out with a variety of devices, that in the late twenties must have seemed like pure science fiction: a variety of electronic audio devices; electronic lighting shows; an electronic dance platform; even a prototype colour television system.

In 1938 Theremin was kidnapped in the New York apartment he shared with his American wife (the black ballet dancer, Iavana Williams) by the NKVD (forerunners of the KGB) ... Lev Sergeivitch Termen & "The Theremin"

Bernard Herrmann

Some of the themes from Jane Eyre and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir eventually appeared in Herrmann's opera Wuthering Heights which has never been staged, but which he finally recorded in 1966.

In The Day the Earth Stood Still a flying saucer from another planet has landed in Washington, and a spaceman has been killed by some soldiers. His robot, Gort, comes forth to avenge his master. Fortunately Patricia Neal has learned a phrase in space language with which to disarm the monster. Around the studio we used to go around saying, "Klaatu barada nikto." Herrmann augmented his conventional orchestra by adding two theremins, an electronic violin and various other electronic instruments and produced an effect of rising tension by reiterating ominous chords and phrases, usually in the lower register of the orchestra.===>Ravid Raksin


Blogger mark k-punk said...

You - are the caretaker here ... You've always been the caretaker here
aha. uncanny coincidence or what? I was planning a post in which that very phrase would be absolutely crucial, partly because of this:
See also:,+The

8:15 PM  
Blogger Padraig said...


Yes, there's a spectral verisimilitude of uncanny coincidences of uncanny coincidences hovering in proximate cyberspace of late, including Ian Penman/ The Pillbox, whose friend's latest thriller novel coincidentally involves another MacGuffin ... would this be an instance, though, of hauntology or of pure noir [Double Indemnity, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Doppleganging-Mulwray Chinatowns etc]. I fantasize it could be the former, as another uncanny coincidence is just about to happen :-) ... producing then a Kieslowskian triple-uncanny (Trois-Coleurs) coincidence, a wee Event. And weren't there three spectral-caretakers-in-one (Delbert-Charles-Jack) in The Shining? And, and, and ...

Please don't allow, under any circumstances, any of this to in any way jeopardize your posting plans.

10:58 PM  
Blogger mark k-punk said...

don't worry. It's written, it's always been written...

12:17 AM  

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