So yesterday (October 2 2014) I took delivery of the Moog Theremini, which is a fun and intriguing re-boot of the traditional theremin. I am sure traditionalists would be violently ill at the prospect of a tone-lockable theremin that features built-in presets, effects and a USB interface, but I had a lot of fun recording with this yesterday and it definitely has a place in the Paisley Babylon live setup.
Pros–it has built in effects which can be bypassed, it has a CV out, and can be manipulated on the fly while performing with it. Cons–it requires some fussing to calibrate, the presets range from really cool to massively cheesy, and the built-in speaker feels a bit “training wheels” to me, but no matter. Paisley Babylon has, so far, found some inventive and fun uses for the Theremini in the recording studio.
Next time I plan on outputting the CV to the Paisley Babylon Moog Little Phatty to see what that does to for the recording process. Add some echo boxes and an Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy and you have the makings for some spaced out fun in the studio.
Also, I’ll be working on some demonstration videos of the Moog Theremini–stay tuned for that.
I always like to say that I am ALL of Paisley Babylon and HALF of Binary Partners, so when BP performs, technically speaking that’s Paisley Babylon up there albeit in a different band….but I am still playing the theremin.
SO, Paisley Babylon will be part of the insanity at Capricon 34 in Wheeling, Illinois when Binary Partners performs an all-ages live show on the 15th floor where the Capricon party suites are located. The show is Saturday February 8 at 9PM. More information is at
As all of Paisley Babylon, I write a lot of music using the theremin, and as half of Binary Partners I perform live using the theremin exclusively as of late. My last five shows have featured the theremin as my main instrument, and the one coming this Saturday 1 Feb is no exception.
I will perform theremin duties once more on stage as half of Binary Partners at Jerry’s, located at 1938 W. Division Street in Chicago. This show will likely be the most insane one to date as I’m running a ridiculous number of effects pedals and creating a theremin sound so large and threatening that some could mistake it for natural phenomena.
That’s NOT to say that this is a NOISE show per se–it is NOT that–but with this setup the theremin is capable of damn near weaponized volumes of sound. I prefer to use such things as punctuation, not as the whole sentence, as it were. But the loud-quiet-loud approach worked great for The Pixies, so why not with BP?
I’ve been using the theremin more and more in my soundtrack work and it’s gratifying that more people are interested in these sounds. It should be said, I’m no Clara Rockmore–I have no interest in playing sonatas with my instrument. Call me the J.G. Thirlwell of the theremin and you’re barking up the right tree.
Come out on Saturday to Jerry’s to see what all the fuss is about.
Paisley Babylon has long used the theremin, but as of late the instrument is finding its way to the forefront a lot more. I’ve been debating changing the name to Theremin Babylon, that’s how much I love this instrument. I’ve run Paisley Babylon more or less part time in the last two years due to a variety of concerns including my work in professional audio for film and television, but I feel that pull back into live performing, touring and recording. It’s time for a change.
So Paisley Babylon goes for a bigger footprint, more recording and touring, session work, etc. The theremin is a very big part of all that and I look forward to collaborating with other people on tours, recordings and other projects. The theremin brings such a unique sound to the process that I can’t help but think there are plenty of people out there who want to include it in their recordings.
If you are one of those people, do get in touch–I’d love to discuss your project and what it needs from the theremin. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com to talk about projects, shows, and collaboration.
The theremin can be a unique noisemaker and sonic texture instrument, but it also has a lovely instrumental quality all its own. It can be musical as well as noisy, surreal, and psychedelic.