what we are up to

Posted: 12/10/2011 10:09:40 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I noticed a Facebook posting from TW, asking us what we have been up to, so I thought I'd heed the call with a brief report from the Beat Frequency Sonic Research Facility. (Also known as The End Of The Living Room. Mwahahaha.)

My third album, Invisible Horn was released a few months ago which, like its antecedant, Psilocyren, is available at all good digital outlets. (I'm pretty sure you can only get the first, The Chordless Chord, from iTunes, but I haven't checked.)

For the last few months I have been playing theremin with delay and wah exclusively, and very much enjoying the combination. I have posted an example on youTube, entitled Baby And The Bathwater, Baby referring to my Crybaby wah pedal, and The Bathwater being a sample of water running into a bath, processed algorthmically to accentuate some musical aspects the sound.

Today I received my newest effect pedal, a custom built tremolo, which allows me to control the rate of the tremolo with an expression treadle. This continues my exploration into beats and beat frequencies, which I have previously created in various ways; using pitch shifters, ring modulators and software synth modules. Initial results are very encouraging.

On Monday Beat Frequency is travelling to Denmark along with some other sonic explorers to teach our wicked ways to a small group of Danes, here.

Posted: 12/16/2011 1:23:12 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Just a little update...

The Danish event went great. :-)

In conversation with Sam Underwood (from Hands Off 2011, he presented Reich's Pendulum Music with optical "theremins" and torches) and Mala from Digital Mystikz we discovered a shared love of extreme low frequency sounds. (Amongst other things, Sam is in ORE, the world's only Doompah band [drone doom music played on tubas], and Digital Mystikz are [to use a much maligned term] dubstep.)

This was reinforced at the Digital Mystikz gig that evening when I discovered that the deep body massage the sound gave me was a wonderful relief from the physical tension I experience as an ME sufferer. This I want to combine with the meditative aspect of playing the theremin (also good for my ME) so I am going to buy a sub-woofer (aka a bass bin) to augment my amp and really start taking advantage of Thierry's wonderful bass extension for my etherwave standard.

Of course, that won't actually give true infrasound (Thierry's bass extension goes down to about 5 Hertz, the bass bin I can afford goes down to 40 Hertz - 20 Hz is about the lowest we can hear), so Sam and I are now looking into building Sound Cannons for ourselves. (NOT powerful enough to qualify as weapons.) Fortunately we have a mutual friend in Spacedog, (from Hands Off 2007, she presented Clara 2.0 the robot theremin accompanist) who has built one already, and is well qualified as sound advisor to The Science Museum in London to give good, sensible, scientifically valid advice on the subject.


I am minded of this quote from the David Lynch movie of Dune, regarding use of the Weirding Module...

Some thoughts have a certain sound, that being equivalent to a form. Through sound and motion, you will be able to paralyze nerves, shatter bones, set fires, suffocate an enemy or burst his organs. 

I hope to have results which are less Bene-Gesserit and more Bene-ficial. :-)

Posted: 12/16/2011 7:49:13 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

In the following scene from DUNE, Gurney Halleck (Patrick Stewart) plays the "baliset".


I have played the Vulcan harp, I really should take a crack at a baliset.

Posted: 12/16/2011 8:56:34 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Nice. I haven't seen the extended version, so that's new to me. 

It might not be as hard to arrange as one imagines. Apparently the baliset used in the film was actually a Chapman Stick. http://dune.wikia.com/wiki/Baliset


(As used by Zentherstick - the name being derived from the instruments they play, Zen Drum, Theremin and Chapman Stick.)

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