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Buy Portishead's Theremin at Auction

Adrian Utley's theremin for sale by auction at

Long time readers of ThereminWorld may recall Portishead's infamous claim to have used a theremin on their album Dummy, followed by the reveal that the part was actually performed on a MiniMoog, followed by Adrian Utley's posting of the actual synth patch details on the band's website. Apparently they wanted to use a theremin on the recording but found it too difficult to hit the exact notes they wanted. I never saw them perform live, but apparently they actually did use a theremin for concerts.

Fast-forward back to the present... Now you can own a bit of proof that Portishead did actually have a theremin! Adrian Utley's theremin is currently for sale by auction at online auction house The theremin is a custom-built No. 1derland model, complete with 9V battery portability and CV outputs.

From a historical perspective, this is somewhat interesting because Portishead was one of the early re-adopters of the theremin in the theremin revival that started in the early to mid 1990's. Their claim to have used a theremin brought them a lot of attention, but the truth came out quickly and was somewhat embarassing. However, much like the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations", Dummy is still mentioned frequently as a canonical example of theremin in modern music. Go figure.

I'm inclined to look at these things from the positive perspective - they did wonders for World Thereminzation by exposing an entire generation to the instrument. Kudos to Portishead for that, and good luck with the sale!

Read: VEMIA Update (MatrixSynth)