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.
There has been a lot of Paisley Babylon studio time happening–this is a cross section of the sounds evolving in the last six months or so. A bit of dub here, a bit of Chicago industrial there, Theremin and Space Echo, it’s been a fun cocktail of sound to be immersed in.
I don’t know why I’ve been sitting on these for so long, they were immensely enjoyable to experience when they were created….indulge your choice of recreational consumption and have a listen to these:
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.
Just as with my former fellow bandmates in Crevice, when it’s time to do Paisley Babylon stuff in the rehearsal space, it’s an EQUIPMENT TEST rather than a rehearsal. Well, perhaps that’s not ENTIRELY true–Paisley Babylon does have an improvisational aspect to it but it’s not ALL off-the-cuff…plenty of structure hiding in there.
Here’s one shot recently with the new theremin. Paisley Babylon’s gear list for this video includes a portable, battery operated turntable with a vinyl LP of DJ battle breaks supplying the drum track, all other noises produced by theremin and MicroKorg.