Jamming With Clara 2.0, The Creepy Theremin Playing Doll

Sarah Angliss (Spacedog) jams with Clara 2.0, the creepy theremin playing robot doll, on the classic Get Carter theme, by Roy Budd. 

Here’s what Angliss has to say about Clara 2.0:

Named in honour of the original theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore, Clara 2.0 is a robot doll who can play the theremin live. I call her the ‘polite robot thereminist’ as she listens to a line from another player and moves her dolly arm to get her own theremin in perfect tune.

Well, that’s the theory…

In this jamming session, Clara 2.0 is copying a line from an old Roland SH-2 synth (which I play silently), then the line from my own theremin. When the two theremins play together, it gets quite chaotic as Clara tries to follow me – and I try to lock into Clara’s line.

As Clara 2.0 is continually monitoring a live sound and adjusting her tuning (no MIDI here), her technique has the fluid pitch of a human player. Everything on this recording – apart from the drum track – is played live. There is no manipulation of the recorded sound, apart from multitracking and a little reverb after the event.

The keyboard instrument at the beginning is a cheapy toy, called an Angel Organ – I hope you can forgive its cranky tuning. The final theremin melody has been treated, live, with an old-school vocal flanger.

Clara is under continual development – she has quite a way to go before she can claim the talents of Lev (a great robot player). Keen-eyed observers may have noticed the wobbily thread of wire on the end of Clara’s egg whisk. This gives her some Rockmoresque vibrato.

via Sarah Angliss

4 thoughts on “Jamming With Clara 2.0, The Creepy Theremin Playing Doll

  1. I have seen Spacdog live ,complete with theremin,robots and musical saw.
    Quite astonishing and very imaginative and inspiring.
    Check them out!

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