Music is a facet of my artistic activity that I find difficult to explain to others. In the end I decided to call it symphonic rock, for the simple reason that it has affinities with Frank Zappa’s compositions for symphonic orchestras, and he called it like that.
The main difference between my compositions and those of Frank Zappa is that he wanted to bring whatever he heard in his head to life, while my compositions are based upon sonifications of the electromagnetic waves emitted by Galactic bodies.
NASA used instruments on several probes (like Voyager and HAWKEYE) to record these waves. Then they put them together into a recording of a sound for all of us to hear. The result is a sound that is (frighteningly) akin to what you would expect to hear echoing as you sink into a black abyss.
Those frequencies came with given rhythms and amplitudes that I threw through a sound-to-notation app that gave me a partition that could be played on a concert piano. And there my problems began: it was absolute nonsense.
So I started to cut up pieces and stick them back together till I had a result that sounded as music, but the piece was too complicated to be executed by one instrument. To create music from it, I needed a bigger gamma of instruments. I consulted with a friend who’s a professional musician and he suggested me to give it a try on the synclavier.
The synclavier isn’t just an instrument: it’s ALL the instruments. Where the first versions were costing around 25,000 USD, right now anyone with a modest budget can buy a Synclavier (I borrowed one for 6 weeks or so). The software allows you to assign segments of the partition over different instruments. The rest is just more puzzle work, done by the sausage machine of my own personality and emotions.
The theme of this opera revolves around a comparison between the cyclic nature of human civilization and that of our solar system, where each planet got assigned with a particular phase of civilization. In these compositions, every sound has a value, and every action is part of the universal diapason, a colossal vibration that makes energy rather than reflecting it.
When I finished, I marveled how much the compositions reflected some of the themes of The Planets, a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Only, his music wasn’t inspired by the planets, but by the mythology surrounding the Roman gods after which the planets are named. I put it down to a weird manifestation of synchronicity.
It’s probably the most intellectually challenging endeavor I’ve ever undertaken, and I don’t think I will ever do it again. I’m even not sure if it’s any good. I’m just the guy who wants to try everything, and ends up feeling an even bigger ignorant afterwards than before.
The paintings and poems that accompany this opera have found inspiration in the works of a wide variety of artists. They connect this project further to its object, the mystic cyclical synthetic vision I’ve outlined in my manifest The All is an Egg.