Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel is an improvising duo from Atlanta Georgia. They have performed extensively nationally and internationally for the past 14 years. The sound is experimental by nature, but easy on the ears, and has been compared to the likes of Brian Eno, John Luther Adams, and Cluster.
“Halocline is a superbly crafted work of electronic ambience, the best release yet by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s Scott Burland and Schultz. Texturally variant, richly layered, irresistibly immersive, the eight tracks entice the listener into an alternate dimension of contemplative spaces. Think of Halocline as an antidote to pandemic-induced anxiety.
The tracks were taken from improvised sessions during February, March, and April of 2019. Three songs feature Louisville, Kentucky-based Dane Waters, an operatically trained singer with an exquisitely light, precise, and alluring voice. DfTaLS sent three tracks to Waters who improvised non-lyrical melodic lines for incorporation into the final mix. Her contribution lends a gracious, human presence to the instrumental proceedings.
“We met Dane while on tour in 2019 and fell in love with her voice,” says Schultz. “After seeing her perform in Louisville, we went to her house the next day and asked her to provide some vocal tracks for our upcoming album.”
The album’s title refers to an oceanic phenomenon in which the salinity of water changes rapidly in a vertical gradient, causing dramatic differences in the water’s density and clarity, which produces visually observable effects. “We saw a similar phenomenon in the music we chose for the album,” says Burland. “Some is shapeless, murky, dense, while other pieces are melodic and sparse.”
With track titles such as “Swell,” “Brinicle,” and “Sea of Eternal Gloom,” the aquatic theme runs deeply through the album. Years ago, a reviewer described Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s music as “a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary,” which Burland says “describes Halocline perfectly.” – Chad Radford
Dane Waters features as the guest vocalist on three tracks.
ArtistsDuet For Theremin And Lap Steel
Release DateMay 16, 2020
Although it is right there in the title, the duo of Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) create signifier-less soundscapes that sound beyond their instruments range and shape. Like a slow motion rogue wave, “Maelstrom” moves upon the listener slowly, deeply submerged tones and tonal shifts moving atop each other like tectonic plates – the result of which we only see until it’s too late. Vocalist Dane Walters occupies the upper range – creating a potent surge of sound that reaches the rafters while the duo plumb the ocean depths. A truly engrossing and captivating track.
Tome To The Weather Machine
Ambient meditations are post-war timeless. Think the Berlin-trilogy-era sound experimentalism that Brian Eno turned Bowie onto in the late ’70s, spacing out the latter halves of ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes.’ It probably goes back to Cage—but you don’t have to know where things come from to enjoy (and make) them. Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel is an improvising duo from Atlanta Georgia who has performed extensively nationally and internationally for the past 14 years. They are too well described by their own moniker to merit a headcount or instrument breakdown—Scott Burland is the thereminist, Frank Schultz the lap steelist. For ‘Maelstrom’, a track from their recent release ‘Halocline,’ they’re joined by Dane Waters on vocals. Like a real-life halocline, the pulse of ‘Maelstrom’ is blurry but beautiful—a repetitive swell followed by a fade, a crescendo-descrescendo dynamic doppler reminiscent of sitting on a sleeping giant. The build is subtle, with Waters vocals contributing some frailty to the formidableness of the theremin/lap steel sound mountains. And it does feel timeless. Maybe one listener recalls German sobriety, another American insanity. But the waves and wash of Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s ‘Maelstrom’ feels like it’s own sort of canvas, of and other from forebearers.