hk on the theremin


 My longest ongoing musical collaboration has been with composer and keyboard player Henry Kucharzyk. We played our first concert in 1982 (recorder and piano). Soon after that we to explore real-time electronic music.  Theremins and Buchla Lightning  became important as the front-end performance interfaces, as well as keyboards and MIDI wind.

getting ready to perform with Rick Sacks

We tried to be genre-benders. Our work progressed organically over a number of years from our roots as ‘classical’ composers through an increasingly improvisational style to the point where we interacted musically in a coherent way with a musician like Christine Duncan, whose background is in ‘jazz’.

Improvisation and electronics are very important elements in the newest forms of music at the moment, at any level- national or international. In that sense, we are part of this world-wide movement. This work is also leading to a welcome re-defining of the usual categories of music. Our work has been recognised internationally on the web as "electronica"and ‘progressive rock’. New genres? We’re happy to be there.

We’ve released 2 cd’s- PHH!K in 2000 and PHH!K SONGS in 2005, both on the Artifact Music label.

These are from PHH!K SONGS , with Christine Duncan, vocals and Rick Sacks, drums.

Christine Duncan in rehearsal for PHH!K SONGS

 2 Words  

Got Much, Need More 

Song Science  

The Heart Knows  

Think Your Mantra 

Moment (PH, HK, CD) 

And 2 outtakes- improvisations with three Theremins (PH, HK, CD)

Improv 1 

Improv 2  

These are from our first release PHH!K .

Intersection 1 
(improvisation Hannan/Kucharzyk)

Intersection 2 
(improvisation PH/HK)



Positive reviews of PHH!K SONGS from the electronica critic of ‘The Wire’ to the classical critic of ‘The Globe and Mail’ to the new music critic of ‘The Georgia Straight’ to the rock critics of ‘Now’ and ‘Eye’ magazines speak to the genre-bending nature of the work, as well as to the currency nationally and internationally of our working method.

‘... it’s a real gas to hear complex music like this programmed with real conviction and garnished with all manner of electronic exotica such as wind synths, theremins and a Buchla lightning. Keith Molin The Wire

‘This is experimental music in the best possible sense, with compositions that are made from previously unheard-of combinations of tones and textures. There’s an otherworldly quality to it as well, especially when the performers build slippery, pulsating banks of theremin-generated sine waves. But what distinguishes phh!k from other academic electronic acts is its earthiness...The disc is marvellous and the concert was too... the event was like stumbling into a small college theatre and discovering Bj√∂rk or Laurie Anderson in full flight: phh!k’s that challenging, accomplished, and funny.’ Alexander Varty Georgia Straight Vancouver

‘I sorta hated Songs the first few times I listened to it, but it grew on me after a while. The trick is to imagine them as goofy nerds having fun and not take it too seriously. Phh!k have what some might call a populist approach to experimental music, drawing from jazz and pop and borrowing certain elements from DJ culture. The disparate influences mesh better than you’d think...’ Benjamin Bole Now Magazine Toronto

‘Composers Peter Hannan (Vancouver) and Henry Kucharzyk (Toronto) play an array of wibby, wobbly and funky electronic devices and write music that fuses the classically based art song with IDM...The sonic textures are consistently inventive (even more so on the bonus quadraphonic DVD)... wonderfully original music...’Eye Magazine Toronto

‘Phh!k gathers the essence of all electronic music, from mid-20th century first attempts (like the theremin) to the German school, electro-acoustics, and experimental turn-of-the-century techniques. It could be described as an amazing synthesis of synthesized music. Not that Phh!k was intended as a historical project of some sort, nor that it actually sounds like one. Simply, Peter Hannan and Henry Kucharzyk have integrated in their playing many influences, currents, and techniques both old and new. Their music has the soothing appeal of vintage Klaus Schultze, the cutting edge of abstract experimentation, and the ever-disconcerting weirdness of motion-triggered electronic instruments like the theremin and the lightning. Both instruments are heavily featured on "Dexter Sinister," the most difficult piece on this CD. A few tracks use the human voice as part of the material: speech sampled and arranged as melody in "Weather," as rhythmic patterns in "Hiro," as Inuit throat singing in "Venus Ascending." A series of six "Intersection" pieces are scattered throughout the album, providing short moments of electronic/noise crossbreeding. The music on Phh!k has a very organic feeling, and a sense of immediacy rarely found in electronic music, thanks to the fact that it was performed live in the studio. Overall, this album stands out as a discovery for fans of electronic or experimental music and a strong achievement for Hannan and Kucharzyk.’ Francois Couture All Music Guide

‘Ever since Progressive Rock was coined as a term by critics this section of music has seen no boundaries and has come to encapsulate various genres and styles. The album in question here is one of those particular albums that one would have difficulty in categorizing. The amount of experimentation involved as well as the heavy use of a battery of instruments both digital and analog gives this release that progressive slant. Both musicians/composers started their musical career in traditional academic music studies but both have veered away from this field and moved on towards experimenting with synthesizers and more importantly gesture-controlled instruments. Examples of such instruments are the Theremin and the Lightning, a creation of synthesizer wizard Don Buchla. The Theremin was created in the 1920’s and is the instrument used to create the famous wailing eeee-ooo on old horror films. It has been utilized by various rock musicians such as the Beach Boys (Good Vibrations) and Mercury Rev just to mention two. Both instruments emit sounds of different pitch and duration which vary according to the proximity of the body to the instrument allowing the musicians to play or program the space around them. On the whole this is not an album for those who are looking for something that is easy listening and melodious. Not that it is devoid of melody but one has to really sit down and listen to the album paying attention to detail to appreciate it. I recommend this album to those who like listening to the Experimental Prog groups especially those of the electronic kind such as Tangerine Dream, Can, Faust as well as those who appreciate the works of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. This album is an interesting insight into avant-garde music with examples of musique concrete and pattern music appearing throughout. This is one of those albums that grows on you! ‘ Dutch progressive rock page