The theremin is a strange, mercurial instrument to master. Incredibly sensitive, it is played without any direct physical contact. Instead, musicians must craft a series of precise gestures, twisting and conducting in the air around the theremin to produce the desired sound. Once solely the domain of basement-dwelling musos, there’s been growing interest in the instrument thanks to the rise of social media, as an international audience is now able to view the skill required. One such skilled maestro is Kepa Lehtinen, with his new theremin focused album, ‘Face Plant’.
Kepa Lehtinen – Face Plant
The titular track from the album is a longing, deceptively simple tune. Helsinki native Lehtinen chose the title as a tribute to his own love for skateboarding, and the knowledge that every skateboarder must face – at some point, you will fall off.
An instrumental piece, the theremin serves as the voice here, direct, piercing, mournful, played with utmost assurance by Lehtinen.
‘Face Plant’, like the rest of the album, is written only for theremin, piano and contrabass, a beautiful combination. The graceful theremin melody glides over the steady, music-box piano, yet the unexpected shifting harmonies and chromatic notes save it from over-sweetness. It’s no surprise that multi-instrumentalist Lehtinen has already achieved success in writing for film and TV, his style has a cinematic ambience perfect for it. Yann Tiersen and Alejandro Amenabar come to mind. Anyone looking for gorgeous instrumental music, or to broaden their horizons, should give this album a listen.
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