Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Ruminations

I'm sitting here listening to Jonn Serrie's CD, Planetary Chronicles on Miramar recordings.  It's electronic, serene, spacey, and sort of hitting the spot for today.  From the liner notes, it says he was composer-in-residence at Electronic Music Laboratories, Inc., a synthesizer manufacturer in Connecticut.  His has composed music for planetariums around the world.  He has also used his music in conjunction with Lucasfilm, Ltd. and the Hayden Planetarium in new York on an interactive children's project featuring the robots C-3PO and R2D2 from the movie Star Wars.  This is music from some of those planetarium shows. The song, "Dawn Trader" was commissioned in 1983 for "winds on Distant Worlds" by the Fels, inspired by the cover of an Isaac Asimov book Robots of Dawn.

I ran into the above video earlier today, and thought I'd share.  It's an early synthesizer piece by the German band Custer.  They did a good job of combining the music with the SF imagery.

All this synthesizer music, which is sometimes lumped in with New Age music, reminds me of when I first started listening to it many years ago on the radio program, Hearts of Space.  They'd play all this cool space music, and it really captured my imagination.  I got to where I'd tape the programs on cassette on a Sunday evening, so I could listen to them later.  I remember whenever me and my brother would go to Austin on a short holiday, we'd hit the record stores there and I'd try to find some of this stuff on album.  A new record store (this was vinyl a bit before CDs)  had just opened there across the river. It was called Waterloo Records back in the 80's, and it was like a breathe of fresh air.  They not only had the newest rock bands on the charts, but also a big assortment of blues, New Age, punk, foreign music from Africa and other corners of the globe.  It was just an amazing place to go look around in and browse for music.  They were always playing something cool in there too, and I loved the open and clean way the store was designed.  They are still in Austin, but have since moved to the other side of the river, a bit further north on Lamar. 

Anyway, I got sidetracked on what I was going to talk about, and that is watching the Star Wars, Clone Wars cartoons last night.  They were really good, and I never had sat down to watch them before, which is incredible and odd, as I am a Star Wars fan to some degree.  They were drawn in a rather stylized way, but once you got used to it--it didn't detract from the story in any way.  Actually the artwork really grew on me, and I enjoyed the graphic nature and color of the animation. The stories were cool too. 


At 8:26 AM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

The electronic sound is somewhat reminiscent of the old psychedelic stuff from my playlist back in the 1960s, though the associated graphics are better.

I never dipped into the animated Star Wars offerings. With the scale of cgi in the recent films of the franchise, of course, the distinction between animation and live action is a cloudy one.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yes I think there is some crossover appeal and association with psych and electronic music. Tangerine Dream and one of their forming members, Edgar Froese is a good example. He started out in psych rock, and progressed to electronic music. He ended up meeting Salvador Dali,which influenced him to delve further into abstract music. Some of those early Tangerine Dream albums are the best. Most point to TD's album, Phaedra, which is excellent as good as any for a starting point, but Atem is also very good, and some of their earlier works as well.

Yeah, check out some of those Star Wars cartoons. It helps to watch them in order I think. The first two hand drawn ones, beginning with Star Wars: Clone Wars Volume 1, and then Clone Wars Volume 2 are the places to start, which are stories between the live action series Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

They introduce some new characters in the animation, like Anakin's apprentice, Padawan Ahsoka, which is a cool character. The third cartoon is the CGI, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It has the "The" in the title only to distinguish it from the previous two. From there it goes into the five-disc sets of Star Wars. I'm working my way thru those currently. I saw a bit of SW: Rebels on the Disney channel, but not the entire run. It looked like they were pretty good too.


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