I’m often drawn to music that surprises – either by interesting harmonies, a syncopated rhythm or melodies that soar beyond the frame of the familiar. Strange sounds perk up my ears… and then there’s the joy of just focusing on the music as new soundscapes appear. Still, music is so insubstantial – it calls up a host of feelings and memories as it dances around in the air. And then it’s gone.
Carolina Eyck’s Theremin
Carolina Eyck’s Theremin is all in the air, literally. She weaves haunting musical tapestries but never touches her instrument. Here’s what you see – she sits erect in front of a strange electronic device with two antennas. Like a magician’s sleight of hand, she squinches and pokes her fingers to conjure familiar yet strangely etherial notes from the very air.
I think the Theremin is very pure and it shows all the emotions you have. I like the purity of the sound because it’s honest.
#1 Painting for Theremin and Voice
In this piece and the next, she loops her voice and her Theremin to create lyrical harmonies with a mix of natural and electronic sounds.
Her instrument was one of the first electronic music devices, created by Russian physicist and musician Leon Theremin almost 100 years ago. Carolina’s parents also play electronic music. For them, the Theremin was just another cool instrument for their daughter to explore. Carolina started playing when she was just seven years old. The one she plays now was built by electronic music pioneer Robert Moog.
From the Moog music site:
It is a wonderful feeling to just play in the air without touching anything. Especially when I play with an orchestra and the volume is quite high, I feel all this energy which I have in my hands. I love the bass notes which can make the whole concert hall shake…
This selection is a little more complex than the first. It’s called Delphic and maybe you can hear within it the oracle’s voice.
Did you notice how she positions her fingers in the air to find the notes she wants. There’s nothing in that space to guide her except all the hours of practice and muscle memory. I like the way she uses her voice to create a melodic rhythm and frame for the piece and the Theremin to swoop and soar above it all.
#3 Jazz Improv – The Carolina Eyck Band
The piece takes a different direction. It’s an improv with her jazz group, The Carolina Eyck Band. For Carolina and her band, this improv requires deep listening and being sensitive to what she and her fellow musicians are doing as they ride along with the music’s flow.
From the Theremin World site:
I love modern music and jazz, so I am improvising a lot. There is so much that is unique to the Theremin. For example I have found out, that I can make pictures audible by ‘painting’ in the air. The effect of combining these two completely diverse kinds of art, music and painting, is amazing.
Her “Song for Birds, Theremin and Band” has a haunting, spacey quality that’s still lyrical as it floats through different musical landscapes and rhythms. Plus, it’s fun to see something created on the spot.
So what do you think? Leave a comment and let me know.