Published Sep 12, 2018You may not be familiar with exactly what a Theremin is, but you've almost certainly heard one. The early electronic instrument — named for its inventor Léon Theremin — is best known for making old-time radio plays and campy sci-fi movies sound like they came from the future.
Here we are, almost a century later and this weird little piece of tech is with us still. Iceland's Hekla has dedicated herself (and her debut album) to its preservation. She joins a long list of famous artists who've applied either the Theremin or a Theremin-like instrument to their work, including the Beach Boys, Jimmy Page, Brian Jones and Dmitri Shostakovich among them.
But while her celebrated predecessors applied the instrument sparingly, Hekla is all in. The only other sound featured on Á is that of her rather chilling voice.
Hekla plays beautifully, with genuine emotion. She deserves credit for pushing the limits of Léon's invention. But one wonders if even he ever imagined a full 38-minute recording dedicated to a solo Theremin.
It is too much; for all Hekla's inventiveness, the instrument has too little range to carry the weight of a full album. Fortunately, there is enough here to suggest that she will have much to offer us as her career progresses. (Phantom Limb)