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Spacecraft: Earthtime Tapestry

AAJ Staff By

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If there can be such a paradoxical thing as "retro" or "nostalgic" spacemusic, then this album is it. The main player in "Spacecraft" is the young, but veteran synthesist Giles Reaves, who is assisted by space sidemen Tony Gerber, John Rose, and Diane Timmons. Much of it was recorded live at the Hummel Planetarium in Kentucky (there is soft applause after the last piece on the album). Indeed, this music is very much in the genre of "planetarium music" as popularized by electronic composers such as Jonn Serrie, Tim Clark, and Michael Stearns. I think of it as "retro" because most of the sounds, though probably produced on the most up-to-date electronic equipment, sound simpler than modern electronic sound materials - as if they were produced 30 years ago on the old analog synthesizers now considered "vintage collectors' items." There is also the usual vast reverb and starry sparkling, as well as the requisite wordless soprano-lady wailing. The track titles are strictly generic "New Age:" "Living World," "Cycles" (there ALWAYS seems to be a track on a spacemusic album called "Cycles"), "Beyond," "Homage to Gaia."

It's certainly pleasant and listenable. When they do get into a rhythmic sequence, it chugs energetically along, just like some of their famous European predecessors from the 70s like Tangerine Dream or Jean-Michel Jarre. But there is little in this music that makes my hair stand on end the way Stearns' or Roach's sounds do, and nothing much to remember about it. It is more background music (probably to the voice narration at a planetarium show) than powerful listening. The harmonies are almost entirely modal, if not minor-key, with a pop music sensibility which is friendly, rather than chilling or awe-inspiring. If any music could make the terrifying depths of deep space feel comforting, this would be it.

| Record Label: Lektronic Soundscapes | Style: Ambient


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