Electronic instruments have undoubtedly shaped the soundscape of contemporary music, crossing genres from techno beats to the vibes of alternative rock. But let’s journey back to a time when the synthesizer wasn’t embraced with open arms. In 1982, the Musicians Union attempted to squash the rise of synths, fearing they’d oust traditional orchestral performers.
Musicians Union endeavor was in vain, though. Today, synths are at the heart of musical innovation.
Yet, the roots of this electronic marvel, introduced to the masses by Robert Moog, dig deep into the late 1800s. Elisha Gray birthed the first electronic synth, the ‘Musical Telegraph,’ in 1876. This was followed by a parade of early electronic instruments in the decades to come.
One instrument, the theremin, stands out in the symphony of innovation. In 1928, Leon Theremin birthed an instrument that could be played without a touch – an absolute first. The theremin boasts metal antennas that double as sensors, channeling the player’s energy. A pivotal moment in its evolution came when Clara Rockmore lent her expertise, popularizing the theremin through her tours and suggesting transformative tweaks.
The theremin has woven its eerie enchantment into numerous hit tracks.
Yet, it’s a rarity to spot a musician skillfully coaxing melodies from its invisible tendrils on a stage. Even so, it has left its mark on timeless tunes like ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Led Zeppelin.
An enigmatic instrument, the theremin has captivated music enthusiasts for generations. But where there’s unconventional curiosity, there’s bound to be innovation. Enter the Badgermin.
The year 2012 saw the birth of an eccentric idea.
David Cranmer, the creative mind behind the Badgermin, ventured to transform a deceased badger into an instrument – because, well, why not? Before you imagine him prowling in the wild, rest assured – he procured the badger from a taxidermy shop.
Cranmer shared with NME:
“Throughout history, people have embedded theremins into all sorts of objects – from a tailor’s dummy leg used by the Bonzo Dog Band to an axe wielded by Hawkwind, not to mention various plastic skulls and oddities. The badger just felt like a natural step forward.”
With precision and peculiar passion, Cranmer carved the unconventional instrument. He meticulously placed antennas within the badger’s form, turning it into an extraordinary creation that invites both awe and bewilderment. Admittedly, Cranmer isn’t a virtuoso Badgermin player, but his invention sparked interest. He even offers tailor-made Badgermins for those who dare to own a piece of this sonic oddity. And, believe it or not, he proudly boasts the creation of the Owl Theremin.
Witness the bewitching Badgermin in action through the video below: