Nick Cave brought his noisier guitar band, Grinderman, to the 9:30 Club this week. He’s an extraordinarily good performer.
The original schedule had the warm-up act listed as Armen Ra, a classical theremin performer. But Ra was replaced by Shilpa Ray, a bellowing woman with a harmonium. The names scan the same, and one obscure instrument’s just as good as another to the hipsters, eh?
We were disappointed by the evening sans theremin, the first electronic instrument. It was invented in Russia by Lev Sergeivitch Termen, a student of physics, astronomy and the cello. Essentially two oscillators controlled by proximity, the theremin became a popular classical instrument in the ’30s, a soundtrack staple of ’50s science fiction movies, a key element in the Beach Boys’ hit, “Good Vibrations,” and now seems to have achieved some cachet with somebody. Anyway, here’s Armen Ra:
Here’s Nina Hagen interviewing him.
And build your own theremin at home! It’s easier with a kit.
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