Clara Venice plays 72 instruments on her new album
Musician’s multiplicity a marvel to behold.
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Of the 72 musical instruments played by Clara Venice on her new album Electric Dream it’s the Theremin that she’s connected to most.
“To me it’s just the most magical instrument” she says excitedly, “it can mimic a voice, a guitar or a violin.”
Invented in 1920, the Theremin is known for producing eerie sounds when you hold your hands near two antennae to complete an electric circuit, but in Clara’s expert hands it delivers a warm scenery of grooves that matches the way she sways her hips and bops to the crowds on stage.
“It’s a sound that most people know from science fiction movies, but it can actually do so much more” she explains. “I’ve got a solo on the album that people honestly think is an electric guitar until it gets to the very end and it’s sliding around in a way that wouldn’t be possible.”
With her pink hair, Minnie Mouse leggings, and cuddly-bear Laplander hat she enthuses delights that seem simple and easy, but they grow from a sophisticated curiosity. In her songs her characters read Yates even as they surprise each other with Skittles and her album is full of sounds from the largest collection of rare instruments in the world, the National Music Centre in Calgary.
“They basically just let me go crazy” she says of her residency there which gave her access to an electric violin, ukulele, glockenspiel, and an exotic instrument called the Buchla Lightning. “It’s an instrument you play with two magic wands” she says with delight.
She’s toured with the Barenaked Ladies and performed this past summer at the Beakerhead festival in Calgary where she debuted a stage system incorporating four pre-recorded “Hologlamour” projections of herself.
“It’s kind of like the Spice Girls, but more the Space Girls,” she says of her green screen-generated band, needed to share her many instruments. “There’s four different personas: one of them is the guitar player, one of them is the keyboard, one of them is a string player, the other plays ukulele, and they accompany me as I sing and perform live on the Theremin.”
Each virtual clone gives Clara a chance to come up with new identities through colourful wigs, clothes, and moves. VJ and programmer Owen Denham helped orchestrate the live experience which also includes inter-planetary vistas and virtual rabbits captured in advance also using agreen screen technology.
“I want to create music that becomes your environment” she says of her new album Electric Dream, “I want something that will envelop you, hug you, and move you along throughout your day.”
In Focus: Richard Crouse