Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

ANS Box Set - Coil

   0 reviews  -  741 views
    The ANS was first conceived in the 1930's by Soviet Army colonel Evgeny Murzin. It is a large mechanical device - The first fully functioning version, other than an original wooden prototype, was completed in the 1950's. Each component was engineered by hand. It's purpose is to convert graphic designs made by the composer, directly into sound. Murzin was a big fan of the music of Russian composer Alexander Nikolaevich Scriabin, so he named his new invention after him.

    At the heart of the machine is a glass plate is coated in a sticky black mastic-like substance, into which the composer scribes marks or lines of various thicknesses and shapes. Having made the design on the plate using a stylus, the composer then slides the glass plate through the 'pick-up' section of the machine. As he does so, light passes through the marks he made and is picked up by an array of light sensitive cells or diodes. These signals are fed to a loud speaker where they become sound for the first time.

    In order that the light represent distinct frequency rather than just white noise or AC hum, the light passing through the plate is not supplied from a single constant source, but 800 individual sections. The brightness of each of these 800 light sources is modulated into a sine wave by its own rotating optical disc contained within the machine. These discs are printed photographically so that, as they spin, they create pulsing current, in a range of frequencies from
    approximately 10hz for a light at the bottom of the array, to 25khz for the light at the top.

    As varying amounts of each frequency of pulsing light are detected at the 'pick-up' section of the machine (based on the thickness and position of the marks scribed on the plate) the varying amounts of current that result, combine together to produce highly complex waveforms, using the principle that later became known as additive synthesis. Note though, that the ANS has effectively 800 oscillators rather than the 2 or 3 in present day synthesizers.

    The complexity and sophistication of the waveforms produced by this machine, are limited only by the skill of the composer to relate the marks on the plate to the resulting sound, either by design or at least 'creative guess-work', and by the sensitivity of his 'performance' when moving the plate through the pick-up array - This movement to left and right is operated by means of a large knob, not unlike the working of a lathe.

    Although in theory it is possible to make a vast range of sounds of different hues and timbres, complex waveforms depend on fine mathematical relationships between sub-harmonics that are unlikely to be arrived at by accident, so require very considerable knowledge of the physics of sound, and skill at scribing the plate to achieve.

    Nevertheless the immediate and tactile connection between the marks on the plate, the may the plate is moved back and forth under the pick-up array, and the sound that results, makes the ANS a powerful and unique instrument and creative tool, for even first time users like ourselves.

    Notable works composed and recorded on the ANS include Alfred Schnitke's only piece of electronic music entitled "Flow" back in 1969 (which took him one year of intensive work with the machine), and Edward Artemiev's music for Tarkovsky's "Solaris.' (and possibly also some pieces for "Mirror").

    According to Russian resources the ANS is considered the first electronic synthesizer in the world, technically following the "Varifon" built by Sholpo back in the early 30's (which was an earlier attempt at conversion of optical information into sound).

    The various sound pieces in this boxset are the work of Jhonn Balance solo, Jhonn Balance and Ossian Brown, Peter Christo-pherson solo, Thighpaulsandra solo, Ivan Pavlov solo, and Jhonn Balance and Ivan Pavlov together. The DVD contains animations made by Peter Christopherson.

    Although the ANS is theoretically capable of exceptional precision and subtly, due to it's unique nature and construction, attention has to be drawn to the the fact that the machine as we found it was in dire need of a complete and radical overhaul and thorough clean. The money to maintain it simply has not been forthcoming and it is only due to the dedication and daily personal care of Stanislav Kreichi that the machine functioned at all. Our thanks to him.

    The line drawings in the CD wallets are some of the plate designs we made that day, which were used in the recordings. The only thing that has been altered from the original recordings is a judicious amount of tidying up of the starts and ends of the pieces, which tended to be noisy and unformed as the machine and our performances got going. Also some stereo processing has been added to the basic ANS mono signal to make it slightly easier on the ear and mind, though no additional sound from any other source has been added to what was originally recorded.

    This box of 3 cds and 1 dvd was made in the EU for Threshold House. For more information go to: www.thresholdhouse.com
    Track Listings:
    CD A
    Untitled 20:54
    Untitled 25:38
    Untitled 29:39

    CD B
    Untitled 26:22
    Untitled 30:18

    CD C
    Untitled 28:04
    Untitled 32:06

    Untitled 15:36
    Untitled 10:10
    Untitled 15:36
    Untitled 20:55
    Total Time: 4:15:23
    Artist Name(s):
    Ivan Pavlov
    Jhonn Balance
    Ossian Brown
    Peter Christopherson
    Release Year: 2004
    Ambient, Drone
    Album Type:
    Compact Disc, DVD
    Label / Publishing
    Label Name:
    Threshold House
    Catalog Number(s):
    Synthesizers Used
    Album Locator
    [+] Amazon
    [+] Amoeba
    [+] Discogs
    [+] Google
    [+] YouTube
    [+] Reverb.com

  Report Album
Sign in to follow this  

User Feedback

Create an account or sign in to leave a review

You need to be a member in order to leave a review

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

There are no reviews to display.