Gordon Monahan – Theremin in the Rain (C3R, 2007)

Gordon Monahan
Theremin in the Rain

CD C3R Records C3R 011 (Canada, 04-2007)

01. Theremin in the Rain
02. Fluid Dynamics
03. Flex String
04. Updown
05. Long String Motor
06. Automatic Electric String
07. See Through Theremin
08. When It Rains
09. Aerial Drop
10. Wavelength

In this piece, an interactive theremin controls a MIDI interface that manipulates several sound sculptures. Long piano wires are struck by mechanical solenoids, and water droplets are triggered to fall onto amplified percussive plates. Elsewhere, a dancer manipulates the harmonic resonance of a long piano string , while a DJ mixes in barely-audible recordings to accompany. ‘Theremin in the Rain’ premiered at the Open Ears Festival in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada in 2003.
(from the liner notes)

Gordon Monahan creates music, sound sculpture, sound installation, and computer-controlled sound environments that span various genres from avant garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. (Homepage)

This piece, which had its premiere at the 2003 Open Ears Festival, is, in the professional opinion of the C3R staff, Gordon Monahan’s most dynamic piece to date. A theremin controls a MIDI interface that manipulates several sound sculptures. The results must be heard to be believed — ranging from abstract atmospheres to heavy low-frequencies and driving rhythm, with nary a dull moment. Long piano strings beaten senseless by metallic strikers, water droplets falling in rhythmic patterns onto amplified percussive plates suspended above the ground… this piece does it all, including blurring the borders between the electronic and the organic. We defy you not to love it. (C3R)

Ideas. Ideas and concepts are the fundaments of the work of composer Gordon Monahan. In my book he’s still best known for his excellent piece ‘Speaker Swinging’ and for collecting campy music. Other works I must admit I don’t know that well, so this new CD comes as a surprise. Here on ‘Theremin In The Rain’, the concept is rather simple: have a bunch of sound producing sculptures and the resonant frequencies are picked up by a theremin. The computer part, the midi in the game, is set to trigger the sculptures rather than to process the outcome. This brings us a highly curious CD. On one hand there is the sound of objects playing sounds, such as water drops on steel plates, strings, motors playing strings but also the clear sound of the theremin, making it’s sweeps and oscillations. These are not all heard together. In each piece a certain quality is investigated. Despite the hectic and nervous character of some of the pieces, such as ‘When It Rains’, the tone is overall minimal. Slow changes, despite all the hectic, are quite important. Monahen knows how to make a highly varied work of different moods and settings for his instruments. Partly musique concrete in approach (save for the fact that he doesn’t use a load of different electronics), there is also an element of structured music in this work, with semi-ethnic like percussion popping up here and there. This makes this a highly fascinating work, and one could only imagine what it looks like. It would certainly make a great concert. Still a pioneer! (Frans De Waard, Vital Weekly)

FR Sur ce blog, on a déjà croisé du gong tibétain, de la scie musicale et de la boîte à meuh, mais pas encore de theremin, je crois. Me lancer dans un exposé sur cet instrument serait de la pure fumisterie, puisque si je poste cet album c’est essentiellent parce que d’après la météo il va pleuvoir aujourd’hui (prétexte qui en vaut bien un autre).
ENG I’m posting this album here because the weatherman said there will be rain today. And it’s a pretty good reason.

Visit Gordon Monahan or C3R

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2 commentaires pour Gordon Monahan – Theremin in the Rain (C3R, 2007)

  1. docteurorlof dit :


    (Mine de rien, on ne doit pas être loin de la centaine de disques proposés ici. Pfff, va falloir lever le pied…)

  2. continuo dit :

    En effet, dans ce domaine là comme dans d’autres, c’est pas tellement la vitesse pure qui compte, c’est surtout l’endurance.

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