Saturday, May 8, 2010
Cross Currents -
In 1919 a Russian named Leon Theramin invents an electronic device the intent of which is utilization as a musical instrument. In 1969 a Brit named Jimmy Page enlists this electronic musical instrument, aptly named a "Theramin", to add an other-worldly, psychedelic touch to the middle section of the Rock anthem he and his band-mates Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones have written (with lyrical borrowings from Bluesman Willie Dixon), called "Whole Lotta Love". This bringing together of Old World and New, Eastern hemisphere and Western, Scientist/Inventor and Musician/Composer/Producer proves to be an unlikely but highly successful synthesis.
Mr. Theramin invents his instrument while his country is suffering through its civil war/communist revolution. Mr. Page makes use of Theramin's instrument while Great Britain and the United States are suffering through a period of civil unrest/counter-cultural revolution. But regardless of the times and conditions in which the instrument is invented (Mr. Theramin) and later utilized to such magnificent effect (Mr. Page), the unquenchable spirit of creativity, over the back-drop of revolutionary upheaval, unveils for us the universal penchant for the transcendence of the arts -- in this case, music.
Obviously Mr. Theramin can not possibly imagine in the 1920's the remarkable manner in which Mr. Page will use his instrument in the 1960's/1970's, but this ability of each to tap into the muse for musical inspiration, distant in time from one another, solidifies for us the eternality of the creative spirit. From Leon Theramin proceeds forth a musical/electronic cross current, right to Jimmy Page. Though divided by time, they are united by creative purpose. Let music lovers everywhere rejoice.