Missions – Journeys in our Solar System
Thematically this was quite similar to Run From The Sun as they are both about exploring our Solar System but the results are very different. Right from the first full track that introduces the space toms that scream ’80s & fun it is clear that this isn’t to be a heavy record.
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- Mission Launch – you just have to a have a rocket launch track on a record like this. The issue then is how to make it something that is clearly on-purpose but unique enough. I decided to start big with birds, introduce the time element then hurl us into space where we experience that transition to free-fall thing.
- International Space Station – The whole track tries to convey that sense of many parts working together to achieve a greater purpose (nations & understanding how we can live in space as one day we may have to). I was working with the idea of harmony around “scratchy” individuals.
- Parker Probe – this is where the album started. I had a longer suite I was playing with that was loosely (and imaginatively) called the Space Travel Suite but it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I had spent too long working for other people’s expectations and needed to meet mine. I can’t recall exactly how this piece started but very quickly I was taken with it as it sounded like Baroque music only transposed into a Retro-Futuristic feel. It is so grand it had to be about something noble & travel related. I had no ideas of an album, just wanted to make a video to see what feedback I got. I stumbled on the NASA material and it stuck, not only for the track but an album concept.
- Hubble Space Telescope – is just a plain strange thing to write a track about in some ways. I had been doing some work in other people’s EDM mixes so the form was on my mind to some extent. I wanted to try again to see if I could marry some of that form with my style. I think it is a guaranteed fail as the EDM fan doesn’t want the melodies and subtle detail my style is built on but it was worth a go. Musically I really liked the “guitars” and the rattle for the overdriven section to represent the light and other radiation being taken in once the telescope’s cover is opened.
- Space X – not technically a NASA mission but they are very involved with the various companies starting to look at opening space for commercial purposes. Easy to be very negative about business interests in space but the reality is that it is commercial interest that opens new territories. Plus, once we are out there we will need to be good at getting the resources we need. Musically this started with a cliche psytrance form (not that I got anything but insults from the few EDM kids who listened) but to finish it I knew it had to be done my way.
- Juno Jupiter Mission – the biggun. This one fought for a while. I really liked the main form, repetitive though it is but it was always lacking something. I tried adding more weight (seeing it is a huge planet) but in reality it wanted less weight. As soon as I added the simple high string line, it felt right. Odd. The music knows what it wants.
- Artemis Program (Life On The Moon) – is so much the kids dream from the ’50s to the ’80s (then suddenly kids lost interest as it wasn’t immediate or bling enough) so I wanted the piece to have a sense of naivete & wonder about it.
- Curiosity & Insight – the two probes looking to help us understand Mars (and therefore Earth) a lot better. I started with the old fear of Mars as having monsters that would come destroy us and changed that to a lyric (from a choir synth) that says “Mars & Earth will become friends”. Once I had the choir idea I couldn’t help but try to play with the Medieval choir idea within my usual form.
- OSIRIS-REx – this is an odd one and not a track I even meant to write. A friend was asking me about a (strange) feature of the software environment we use and I dashed off a few scraps to test what we were discussing. At the end, I wondered what the scraps would sound like if I put them together. I actually really liked the very raw modular synth sound and deliberately tried to keep that as a palette cleanser. OSIRIS-REx is an asteroid mission so the scratchy, squirmy seemed appropriate.
- New Horizons – is a mission out past Pluto, into the cold & dark. The palette cleanser track came in handy as this piece has a completely different form as it is in the New Age feel. It is deliberately leading us to drift off at the end of the record.