The ANS was built in 1938 to turn etches on glass sheets into electronic sounds.
In 2002, experimental band Coil went to Russia to get their hands on a one-of-a-kind synthesizer originally designed by Evgeny Murzin in 1938. The ANS, named after composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, uses marks etched into black putty on glass sheets as triggers for different tones; scratches close to the bottom of the sheet provoke low tones, while those located higher up translate to higher tones.
Its completion in 1958 constitutes one of the significant moments electronic music intersected with the occult, a history that includes Throbbing Gristle‘s self-made instruments and the use of the Moog for certain film scores. The ANS’s development and uses and the historical context to which it belongs are the subject of a new feature on BoingBoing, which you can read in full here.