On Monday nights — most of them — the nine members of the Ljubljana, Slovenia, based Theremidi Orchestra get together to practice. Rehearsal, loosely defined, can mean practicing for an upcoming gig, building new instruments, or working on production. “It’s a cat-like ensemble and it’s a known fact that you can’t herd cats as one does sheep,” explains Dare Pejić, one of the founding members.
The “electro noise ensemble,” founded in 2011, plays Theremins and similar electromagnetic instruments for audiences at workshops, galleries, festivals, and even in theaters. Practice is held at Ljudmila, the Ljubljana Digital Media Lab, a hack lab, build space, and art center that has been in Slovenia’s capitol for around 20 years.
Not only did the members teach themselves to play, they designed and built the instruments. (Several members were on hand at World Maker Faire New York to demonstrate instruments, and even teach fairegoers how to build their own.)
A standby in sci-fi theme songs, Theremins use interference from a player’s hand, placed near the instrument’s antennae, to create sound. The Theremidi Orchestra offers instructions and a kit for one of their simpler designs, and two others: TouchTone (a feedback amplifier system) and Micronoise (a two-channel light sensitive oscillator).
But the group builds other instruments as well, experimenting with DIY electric instruments based on electromagnetics, light, and touch. “It’s a continuous process of learning, exploring, and co-working,” says Pejić. “I don’t think we’re there yet, there is so many things we’d like to try in future.”
Photos: Aleš Rosa