After a couple of weeks’ delay for personal reasons, we are pleased to bring you the next At Water’s Edge challenge: Zodiac. We are treated to a whole suite of new tracks from Glenn Sogge (do we smell an album?) created specifically for the challenge, as well as individual tracks by George L Smyth, Palancar, David Gerard, and playman54. It will be a … dare we say it? … STELLAR day!
The challenge for this episode was to compose a track that exemplifies your favorite sign of the Zodiac; it didn’t need to be your own sign — and in fact in most cases turned out not to be.
The results were full of surprises! Two tracks from different artists went so well together that you’ll hear them back to back, and Glenn Sogge basically wrote a whole album.
Among the many trials that Hercules (Herakles) faced was the Hydra. Karkinos (Carcinus) was a giant crab that came to the aid of the Hydra in its battle with Herakles. The hero eventually crushed it underfoot but as a reward for its service the goddess Hera (who really, really wanted Herakles to lose!) placed it amongst the stars as the constellation Cancer.
- “The Proposal for a Thirteenth House”
- “Phases of the Spheres”
- “The Gemini Twins – Doppel & Gänger”
- “Schoenberg Is In The House”
[The Proposal for a Thirteenth House was] done in Reaktor including a xenharmonic ensemble I put together that is tuned (for this piece) for the Bohlen-Pierce 13ED3 scale (13 equal divisions of an octave and a fifth.) The rhythmic elements use a 13-step sequence and a 13-step modifier sequence that are moved around relative to each other. The user library ensemble Stella is used for the ‘traditional’ big spacy-ness sounds. There have been proposals for a 13th House of the Zodiac as more is learned about our galactic neighborhood. For those that like programs with their music, you can consider the piece a reflection of the struggle of the 13th House to be taken seriously against the backdrop of the traditional 12 houses.
Phases of the Spheres is a one take practice for a live performance coming up in January, using loops with some real-time playing, and learning Live Lite and the Launchpad Mini in the process.
The Gemini Twins — Doppel & Gänger is 3 or 4 tracks with different length delays on each track so everything is doubled (at least)
Schoenberg Is In The House is informally subtitled “for string quartet and cosmos”. The cosmos is from the Reaktor Space Modulator ensemble set to C whole tone and C# whole tone to give the complete chromatic gamut. The string quartet parts are Presence XT instruments playing the original, retrograde, inversion, retrograde inversion versions (at randomly selected transpositions) of a randomly generated 12-tone row.
Glenn Sogge recently retired to his childhood home on 6+ acres in the Pacific Northwest after decades of school, work, family, pets, and soccer refereeing in the Chicago area. Early in his career, he studied with Luciano Berio, Tom Willis, Jack Burnham, Frederic Rzewski, and Sonia Landy Sheridan. He also collaborated on performances with Robert Moran. The sounds of birds, wind, streams, squirrels, chickens, and the occasional coyote define the soundscape he is now immersed in. The woods and nearby mountains both obscure and highlight the horizons every day. Glenn has done collaborations with Cousin Silas, Candy L, Marco Lucchi, Lutz Thuns, Boson Spin, Jaime Munárriz, Tuonela, grum-pe, and many others in addition to extensive solo work. A recent activity has been creating the artwork for album covers for himself and others.
David Gerard: “New Aquarian Age, Part 1”
While Aquarius is my zodiac sign, I believe the “Age of Aquarius” represents a paradigm shift, a radical change of direction, a new, uncharted frontier. And I believe the pendulum is swinging toward that change, slowly and surely, even as we speak – even while we sleep.
We have now entered a second Age of Aquarius, and it seemed to me that this new phase in our evolution has the potential to become a second-coming of consciousness and love – at least the hippie beatnik in me would like to believe that. The world has experienced a paradigm shift. I want it to be love instead of fear…
George L Smyth: “Ophiuchus”
Ophiuchus represents a man with a snake coiled around his waist. The zodiac consists of the twelve constellations through which the sun passes. When the zodiac was first invented the sun did not pass through the constellation Ophiuchus. However, because of the precession of the earth the eclipti now passes through the southern regions of the constellation Ophiuchus in the first half of December.
Ophiuchus is in four parts.
Ophiuchus was identified by the Greeks as Asclepius, who was the son of Apollo and Coronis. Apollo took his child to Chiron, the wise centaur, who taught him the art of healing. Asclepius found that his healing herbs could raise the dead.
While most might think the ability to be a great thing, this was not the case with Hades, who feared the flow of dead souls into his domain would cease, so he complained to his brother Zeus, who killed Asclepius.
Asclepius lies dead and is mourned by Apollo.
To mollify Apollo, Zeus cannot bring Asclepius back to life, but he makes him immortal by setting him among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus.
The piece was written for Clarinet, Flute, Piano and String Orchestra.
playman54: “transient imbalance”
Composer Colin Blake (playman54) doesn’t really pay much attention to astrology, so he had to look up his sign. On learning that he’s a Libra (the scales), he wrote the track transient imbalance to depict that all life is transient, and how his own seems to be full of imbalance. The higher pitched sounds are from samples of an ancient piano that he used on his release Echoes from the Ghost Piano.
And for the final hour of this episode, a handful of Zodiac-related tracks from the RadioSpiral library:
Survival In The Aquarius. – Wolfgang Gsell – Apollo 13 (2017)
Psychic Twins of Gemini – Sensitive Chaos – Seeker After Patterns (2011)
Libra – Gregg Plummer – Transambiation (2009)
Year of the Snake – Thom Brennan – Unreleased (2004)
Zodiac – grüm~pé – The Locus of the Codes (2016)
So So Far Away – Syndromeda – In Touch with the Stars (2001)