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On its 100th Anniversary, the World's First Electronic Instrument Continues to Awe

The theremin was created accidentally when an eccentric Russian scientist named Léon Theremin was experimenting with electromagnetic fields.

In Conversation

KEITH ROWE with Todd B. Gruel

I recall not wanting to become like the Modern Jazz Quartet, a group that represented “indifference” as lacking tension and invention. I preferred the daring of Fauvism, or the concepts of Analytical and Synthetic Cubism. Being drawn to anything disruptive, I stood against the opinionated establishment who were intolerant of any departure from the rules. I was hostile to anything popular.

In Conversation

MARK DRESSER with Martin Longley

Participating musicians need high quality microphones and an audio interface for acoustic instruments, which is why universities are the axes for Telematics, rather than the bedrooms of performers. “Also, it requires ethernet connections,” says Dresser. “That has limitations for almost anyone. The challenge is how do you create a musical community, and work between levels of access?”

Horse Lords, The Common Task

Until recently, microtonal techniques were found almost exclusively in the music of composers such as Partch and Young, or in non-Western music. Horse Lords, however, are part of a movement of microtonal rock musicians that have been simmering steadily since the turn of the century, and they are one of several groups that have succeeded in attracting a following, not only from the standard milieu of fans of any group or artist, but also from among the proponents and aficionados of microtonality.

Listening in: Vision and Revision

For the time being, we carried on. On March 4, I saw the concert, and it was spectacular. I looked around Town Hall, its 1,400 seats gradually filling, and thought, “Should I really be here?” A cough from an audience member set off a shudder of alarm.

Beautiful, Goodbye

The greatest political music is also protest music and is also great music. The elements go together—it takes mental discipline, craft, and artistry to take something that at least a plurality of people would agree with and turn it into a statement of fact and grievance that can wound a political-social system. It takes no courage to say torture is bad, fascism is bad, racism is bad, and leaving it at that has no effect on the body politic.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2020

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