The two volumes of Theremonial (Beat Generation, 2017 and 2019) see Javier Díez Ena pay homage to the timbre of the theremin, a musical instrument, invented in 1919 by Russian musician Lev Termen, with a sound customarily associated with US horror film and sci-fi scores from the 1950s or as an ominous addition in relatively traditional pop music creations. Nevertheless, the instrument has been used in a variety of ways, ranging from Japanoise to historicist experiments by Andrey Smirnov and the electronic pop of Dorit Chrysler.
Javier Díez Ena composes his songs solely using the sound of the theremin — tired of the instrument’s constant association with a sci-fi aesthetic, he pays homage to exotica, a style originating from the Martin Denny record under the same name and produced in Hawaii in 1954. Exotica came out of the same context and virtually the same period in which monster movies turned the theremin sound into a popular icon. The records from this genre written by Les Baxter, Juan García Esquivel and Arthur Lyman mixed, appropriated and decontextualised the sounds of congas and Chinese bells, Haitian tree trunks, piano and bird calls.
This concert is framed inside Disonata. Art in Sound up to 1980, an exhibition which presents some of the experiments with sound throughout history in a context of European avant-garde movements. Javier Díez Ena’s concert performance adds perspective to experimentation with musical references that include John Zorn, Kid Koala and The Cramps (see the attached PDF for a more in-depth look at the music of Javier Díez Ena). In a similar vein, of particular interest is the podcast produced by Javi Álvarez for RRS Museo Reina Sofía Radio, whereby Díez Ena runs through his influences and renders certain tracks.
Javier Díez Ena (Zaragoza, 1974) is a musician (a double bass, theremin and bass player, electronic music composer…) and a journalist, as well as being a member of Dead Capo, L’Exotighost, Ginferno and Forastero. He was also part of Insecto and Phono in the 1990s and the bands of Ainara LeGardon (2006–2009) and Aaron Thomas (2007–2011). Moreover, he has worked in collaborations, both in the studio and live, with artists such as Hyperpotamus, Standstill, Damo Suzuki (Can), Víctor Coyote, Javier Corcobado, Julio de la Rosa, Javier Colis, Toundra, Ajo, Bruno Galindo, Los Caballos de Düsseldorf, Eh!, Susana Cáncer, Clint, Strand, Az Rotator, That Crooner from Nowhere, Biodramina Mood, Alondra Bentley, Lava, Juan Belda and Mathis Haug, working, all told, with more than thirty record labels and performing over five hundred concerts.