The sound of Tarkovsky's Solaris, The Mirror and Stalker was generated by a strange machine that created sounds with drawings.
Few have played it. Few can even understand how it works — how etching pictures on a sheet of glass takes the place of the knobs and piano keys of future synthesizers in creating these unearthly sounds emanating from the heart of a mainframe of steel and sensors.
Scarcity and the development of DAWs means few people who have created music with the sound palette of the TR-808 have actually touched or even seen one in real life. But the ANS sits all alone on its high, esoteric plateau. Only two have ever been created, and only one has existed at any given time since it was dreamed up by its inventor nearly a century ago. It took more than a decade for him to create the first one — and then despaired that the machine would ever be properly utilized by the right composer.
That musician was eventually found, however — and the ANS would be used to compose the score for three of the most acclaimed films in cinematic history. No actor or artist’s reputation ever suffered from a direct association with the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, and the role of the synthesizer in creating the “mass of sound” in some of the most hermetic films ever made added a whole new dimension to the mystique of the ANS machine too.