The Mellotron, a contemporary electronic keyboard that produces string sounds by manipulating loops of magnetic tape, was created in 1963 and has been used on countless popular recordings. 500 years before the Mellotron and decades before the adoption of the viola and violin, Leonardo Da Vinci designed the Viola Organista, a piano-style instrument that produced sound by bringing its strings into contact with a spinning disc of horse hair. The resulting effect was that of a full string ensemble, with the ability to produce bowed sounds across multiple registers.
Citing influences from Krautrock to Death Metal to Genesis, Chicago trio Locrian have anchored their sound somewhere between melodic drone and black-metal minimalism. Multi-instrumentalist and one third of Locrian's avant-drone assault, Terence Hannum takes us through his top ten synth tracks.