Monday, 15 April 2013

Ice, ice, Baby

So then, I was lazing around in front of the puter. There was all sorts of villainy going around on Facebook. Feeling frustrated that the second volume of my music theory textbook still hadn't arrived from the UK, I decided to post my own villainous context of this predicament. You see, I'm too cheapskate to pay for music classes, so I decided to learn everything on my own with books. With crinkled brow, I contemplated the possibly calamitous end to this solo endeavour all because a bloody book got lost in the mail.

So much for free shipping. Greed never wins. Neither did Greedo, for that matter, regardless who shot first.

Anyway, so I saw this physics video posted by French saxophonist Chris Stalk, which was really intriguing especially because it starts with the image of a tiny bear sculpture on a glass base. The narration was in French but it's all Greek to me since I'm a native Hokkien speaker prone to bursts of Huttese once in a while.

The documentary was, I was later told, about how scientists compressed water onto two diamonds, to see how crystals of various shapes were formed. And mind you, all this was captured on camera. I had no idea what the narrator was saying - he could very well be reading his wife's grocery list - but the images fascinated me endlessly. Actually the whole idea fascinated me and jiggled my warm testicles.

I took the narration sample and incorporated it - sometimes rhythmically, most times nonsensically - into this 13-minute piece (because that's approximately how long the documentary is). I melded two fascinations - one with Steve Reich's ideas of long-drawn out chords (but mine without pulses), and the other with physics. Near the last minute or so, I added a brief, pulsing horn section just for kicks (or just to piss off Reich and his fans, ahem).

So, here it is. I hope you find some meaning in this, and become so grateful that you'll let me sleep with your sister.

And here is the video that inspired it.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Electric Counterpoint without multitracking!

An exciting find on YouTube. Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint performed without any multitracking, but with an entire ensemble of guitar players performing it live. The thing is, Reich originally composed the piece for Pat Metheny, and it was meant for one electric guitarist to record all the different parts (more than 10 different tracks, if I recall correctly) and then play along to the tracks. Metheny did that, and so did Jonny Greenwood.

But these Filipinos got together to play every ... single ... track ... live. How awesome is that! I'm thinking it must have taken a constipation-inducing level of concentration and focus to pull it off. You can hear a few minor mistakes here and there, but overall, it's a highly commendable effort. I mean, to even consider doing something like that is already amazingly brave.

And then, there is this wonderful and imaginative use of a sample from Electric Counterpoint by The Orb. It's really infectious.

Monday, 1 April 2013

A New Phase (So May It Secretly Begin ...)

As followers of redplanetsongs may have noticed, the music took a new direction recently. With this changing of gears, it has been decided that redplanetsongs will be disbanded. From now on everything will be done under my real name.

Lately with this new direction I've felt more comfortable than I'd ever in the past. Thus, it truly reflects who I am. Hence, this decision to do away with a pseudonym/band name/stage persona/concept.

The Luna Mars colony facility will cease operations with immediate effect. All equipment will be sold as scrap to the Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

No, I'm kidding. They will be sold to Galactus as snacks.

There will be many new things on the horizon, hopefully interesting things.

I came, I saw, I composed.

Final log and transmission.


Saturday, 9 March 2013

Cities in Musical Flight

We here at Luna Mars are watching the comet fly by the Earth. And somewhere along the way, we are reminded of the James Blish magnum opus, Cities in Flight. Earthlings may soon have to flee, since our skies are pretty busy these days with comets, meteors and asteroids.

So, in tribute to urban colonies, on both Mars and Earth, we have been putting together a symphony of sorts. As of this moment, we have a Section 1 with three parts, and a Section 2, with two parts so far. The endeavour is ongoing, as you may have guessed.

City Songs, Section 1 Part 3 is available on YouTube:

Section 2 Part 1 - Evolving & Revolving is available on SoundCloud:

Meanwhile, Section 2 Part 2 - Bells & Chimes is available again on YouTube:

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Yes, I am trying to drive you mad with repetitive bells and chimes

Transmission from Luna Mars
Station log: #354BE768
Output: Alpha 019

Re: Experiment in effects of audio in space

We on Luna Mars love a good experiment once in a while. OK, maybe a lot of times in a week. We've just finished with our petri dish of bacteria in the outer quadrants. Some of it escaped into the Martian soil. Hopefully there won't be an epidemic of killer spores around here.

Meanwhile, in studying the music of the spheres here, we recently delved headlong into violinist Daniel Hope's new release, Spheres. You can check out a listening guide here:

In studying what sweet music the planets and other space objects make, we decided to try and see if we can drive our astronauts crazy with repetitive bells and chimes, in what we cleverly disguised as "minimalist music" in the style of Reich, Riley and Glass.

We decided to upload and transmit the track, Eclipses (Variation 6/8) - Mallets, Bells, Chimes, Phaser & Strings (ya, a mouthful), onto SoundCloud and hopefully everyone else in the universe can also participate in this experiment.

Leave us a note here to let us know what effects, if any, this music has on you. If we see gibberish in the comments, we would then know we have been successful.