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Disc review: Eyck and Tarnow, ‘Improvisations for Theremin and Piano’

Avant Garde Classical

Carolina Eyck and Christopher Tarnow

Improvisations for Theremin and Piano

[Butterscotch]

◊◊½

Buffalo-raised New York record producer Allen Farmelo became one of the heroes of Buffalo music when he and Brendan Bannon teamed up to record the improvisations of the ancient Buffalo jazz pianist Boyd Lee Dunlop.

That project was kid stuff compared to the idiocyncrasy of this disc produced by Farmelo.

The theremin is an electronic instrument probably best known for its liquid electric whoops on the Beach Boys’ record “Good Vibrations” and in the soundtrack to the original “Star Trek.”

Writes Farmelo here “today the sound of the theremin remains a nearly comical, retro-futuristic emblem of campy spectralness, a sonic tag that has even managed to seep into colloquial imitation much the way the themes from ‘Jaws’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ have. Very few Americans associate the theremin with music, let alone serious or beautiful music.”

That is the point of this disc in which thereminist Carolina Eyck improvises music with pianist Chrisopher Tarnow. While it may not entirely succeed in liberating the theremin as an everyday sound in the musical world, it certainly displays that a great deal can be done seriously with it by those who need only the will.

– Jeff Simon

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