In this episode of Sonosphere we highlight master theremin player and curator of the Theremin 100 compilation celebrating 100 years of theremin, Dorit Chrysler.
Chrysler says the “tracks were chosen to highlight versatility in style, musicality, technique and innovation.” The album was released on Feb. 8th and part of the 100th birthday celebration of the Theremin and the release of Theremin 100, Dorit Chrysler and The New York Theremin Society curate a series of events that will take place in various countries throughout 2020.
We’ll hear more about these events and about how Chrysler found the magic of the theremin, her influences in music, and how she is working to integrate the theremin and other lesser known analog and electronic instruments and techniques into music education today.
We linked up with Memphis electronic artist Ihcilon and asked him a few questions. He was also kind enough to make a playlist for everyone’s enjoyment. Look for him to be playing some shows around town this year.
How long have you been performing as Ihcilon?
The first thing I released was an EP in December 2014. But I had been futzing around with the idea of electronic music since around 1999.
Can you tell our followers how to pronounce Ihcilon phonetically?
To be honest, I really don’t have an official way of pronouncing it that has stuck. I decided on ee-hih-lohn but most people say ih-sih-lon so really either way. When I chose it I never expected anyone to have to pronounce it.
Can you describe your process to making your sounds?
It usually starts with something I hear in regular time: motors, blowers, or sometimes the sound of things hitting together like hammers or wind chimes. I’ll try to recreate it in software and if that doesn’t work I turn to household objects and cheap wind instruments. A lot of it happens by accident. Everything is improvised and recorded in one take. I’ll have a basic road map but fingers will slip or memories will lapse and will yield some sometimes interesting results.
What instruments do you most enjoy working with?
I don’t know if many would agree with this definition, but my favorite instrument at the moment is my phone. I mean, I would love to say that I absolutely love my Buchla or Moog but I don’t own anything like that. There is software on my phone that kind of sound like those things and that’s where the joy is right now.
What inspires you to create?
Personal experiences. Much of the sound you will hear from Ihcilon are more autobiographical than anything. You will hear reinterpreted sounds of medical equipment, internal audio of migraines, sounds from dreams, conversations, shows I have been to… It all kind of mixes together.
Are there any moments as a performer that stand out to you?
Memphis Concréte 2017 was by and large the best thing I had ever been involved in up to that point. It was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen here.
What can Memphis do better to grow and promote electronic music here?
We’re doing a really good job cultivating a scene here. It’s all still a relatively new idea for this area. I think Memphis is still trying to figure out what to do with music you can’t necessarily dance to. But we have many venues that will let us in and as long as that keeps happening I feel like the scene will grow on its own.
If you were to collaborate with one artist who would it be?
Just one?? Probably Diamanda Galás. Her voice has always been captivating. But I will collaborate with just about anyone.
What do you have planned for 2018?
Memphis Concréte, do a handful of shows, and release at least one album. There’s nothing bigger than that.
Here are the songs featured on the mix:
Cyril The Dancing Bear – Pending Disco
iscDo – The Dust Gets In
Three Voices – Retrospection
False – Operant
All is Almost a Prayer – Stammer
Null – Stammer
Mainsplainer – Ihcilon
Photo by Heather Wallace
On June 24th and 25th of 2017 an interesting experimental electronic music fest descended upon the MidSouth with artists primarily from Memphis, Mississippi, and the southeast.
“I wanted to take electronic music back to its roots,” said creator Robert Traxler. His inception for the fest came from the experimental spirit of the original electronic music artists like Delia Derbyshire, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Suzanne Ciani, Pierre Schaeffer, and many, many more from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But musique concrete is not all we found at this festival. Harsh noise, techno, ambient analog improv sets, and a live score of Forbidden Planet were a few of the performances found at Memphis Concrete.
Take a tour through the fest with Robert and some of the talented artists that participated in the Memphis Concrete Festival in the latest episode of Sonosphere.
Dominic Van Horn (Aster, manualcontrol)
Kim Rueger (Belly Full of Stars)
Connor Brown (Cheap Spirits)
Kane Blanchard (Tatras)
Kole Oakes (Pas Moi)
The live Memphis Concrete sets heard here by Belly Full of Stars, Aster, Cheap Spirits, Pas Moi, Ben Bauermeister, Tatras, manualcontrol, and Robert Traxler were captured and edited by Robert Traxler.
Two other tracks used by participants in the fest are “#2” by NEPTR and “Viginti Quintuplet” by Ben Ricketts. Thanks to all the artists for sharing their time and work.
WWII wreaked havoc in the world, as Schoenberg was fleeing Germany, young soldiers in Italy, Greece, Germany and Great Britain were fighting on all fronts – a few of these soldiers would become the leaders of the musical scene after WWII and they were stained by the tragedies they witnessed in this war, one of which was Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Hardly anyone had a lasting impact on electronic music as did Stockhausen.
This month’s podcast episode features Karlheinz Stockhausen – check out this playlist featuring his work.