Highway scene from Tarkovsky’s Solaris (1972)
Here’s a nice and inspiring article focusing on the vintage sci-fi music scene:
Eduard Artemiev first met Andrei Tarkovsky at a house party thrown by the painter, Mikhail Romadin, in the spring of 1970. The conversation somehow turned to the subject of electronic music and, to Artemiev’s surprise, the director soon invited himself to the electronic music studio in Moscow where the composer worked, keen to see the working methods behind the ANS synthesizer that was housed there.
Artemiev had been one of the first composers to work with the ANS, after its inventor, Yevgeny Murzin, posted a note up at the Moscow Conservatoire where Artemiev was a student, looking for composers interested in electronic music. This machine, the first Russian synthesizer, operated using a unique system of drawn sound synthesis. The composer would paint on a sheet of glass which was scanned by the synthesizer, becoming a kind of graphic score, allowing the composer to work like a painter, tinting and shading, forming textures and tone colours directly. Due to the similarities such a method conjured up with the colouristic music of Murzin’s idol, the Russian composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, the device was named after his initials.
Tarkovsky was evidently impressed with what he saw at Artemiev’s studio for he soon asked him to compose all the music for a new science fiction film he was working on with Romadin, Solaris, having recently fallen out with regular musical collaborator, Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov. Tarkovsky gave Artemiev a completely free hand on Solaris, insisting on just one stipulation: that the film must include JS Bach’s Choral Prelude in F-minor, ‘Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesus Christ’.
Though the soundtrack to Solaris uses both orchestral and electronic textures (from the ANS), Artemiev has said in interviews that in terms of its treatment, the orchestra “functioned like one giant synthesizer.” From the composer’s notes written before he started work on the film, we can see that he delineated five general areas: landscapes; personal sound perceptions; various transformations and distortions of the Bach theme; recollections of the Earth; and the sounds of the living ocean, Solaris, itself. Of this final category, Artemiev remarked, “It is, obviously, composed of the sounds of terrestrial life as if processed by the Ocean. . . The characters of the film hear (or are trying to hear) sounds either similar to terrestrial ones, or sounds which are kind of little cells or islands remaining from the Earth which they manage to identity out of the mass of strange and yet incomprehensible noises.”
As Tatiana Yegorova notes in her study of Artemiev’s “musical universe” (1), there is something strangely homely about the space station upon which much of the film is set, and Tarkovsky and art director Mikhail Romadin at one point considered basing the design for the interiors on that of an ordinary Moscow apartment. Artemiev’s score thus becomes one of the sole sources of the sense of the alien and exotic in the film. Characteristically, though, some of the most alarming music is reserved for a scene set on earth, as Henri Berton (played by Vladislav Dvorzhetsky) drives through a tagliatelli of motorway underpasses and flyovers (shot in Osaka and Tokyo). Here, the ‘natural’ sounds of the road and passing cars are swollen with feedback echoes and combined with coruscating electronic textures to create a maelstrom of sound, as if we were experiencing the Earth through the eyes – or rather ears – of the Solaris ocean itself. This scene exemplifies perfectly the Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsky’s notion of ‘otstranenie‘ – the experience of one’s own everyday lifeworld as observed by an alien being.
Read the full article by Rober Barry here >>
Slightly off topic, but hey it is after all Start Trek
CBS Interactive has launched an official Star Trek PADD application for the iPad. The 190-MB program contains a browsable library of Star Trek information presented with a distinctive user interface modeled after the Federation’s LCARS software environment.
The information that users can read in the PADD application appears to be the same that is hosted in the database on the official StarTrek.com website. The database entries are organized into categories, which include characters, species, vessels, places and episodes. It draws details from all canonical Star Trek sources, including the movies, television shows and animated series.The breadth of the database is fairly impressive — it has entries on a wide range of topics, including some that are highly obscure or only mentioned in passing during the series. For example, there is an entry about coffee (they still drink copious amounts of it in the 24th century, especially Captain Janeway) and Bob Hope (a favorite of the 22nd-century Enterprise crew).
In addition to information about the Star Trek universe, the database also has entries about actors, writers and other people who were involved in the making of the show. This is useful if you happen to be watching Total Recall and want to check the entry about Marc Alaimo to confirm your suspicion that your favorite Cardassian megalomaniac is in the ’90s Schwarzenegger flick. Seriously, Gul Dukat and Captain Jellico (Senator Kinsey, for the Gaters) appearing in the same movie is more than a little bit creepy.
You can download the PADD app in the App Store.
Adapted from WM
Bluezone has released Robotic Division, a collection of sci-fi sound effects.
Robotic Division: Sci-Fi Sound Effects’ has been designed to offer you the ultimate robotic sound library, with extremely great precision for sounds, either in dynamic or stereo width.
Including mechanical robotic modern sounds, futuristic communications, textured outer space ambiences, heavy impacts and tension raising, this sample pack take your creativity to the next level.
‘Robotic Division: Sci-Fi Sound Effects’ is an overdose of 243 powerful samples including ascending and descending frequencies, robot malfunctions, transformations and more.
Robotic Division is available to purchase for €16.95 EUR.
“A delicate Sci fi Ambient drone. This is part of a 36 piece soundbank I have created to be used in Scapes, lurker and graincube. I’m thinking about making the Nki and reaktor map available once I find a decent online host to post on. You can listen to the rest of the samples on my soundcloud page.”
Altair 4 – The SciFi Sounds Lab
is for spacey & wobbly stuff, drones and scapes i.e SciFi FX-sounds, and it is quite good at doing bell like sounds too.
The movie Forbidden Planet from 1956 being the first movie with a complete electronic soundtrack (by Louis and Bebe Barron) using sounds that could have been done with this plug.
“This instrument does do a lot of the things the Barron’s did with their circuitry albeit a lot easier”.
“It makes sciFi sounds & noises and everybody will reminiscent to a old soundlaboratory of the 50/60ties”.
Anyway Altair 4 puts it to a modern level.
- 2 oscillators with two soundsources with one (B) driving the other (A) to resonate; each oscillator with three mod inputs and extensive control options
- 3 LFO: L1 (7 waves) with key restart on first key pressed, L2 (8 waves) and phase modulation,- L3 (7 waves) with optional modulation by sub LFO;
- 2 hidden LFO: L12 = mix of L1 and L2, L13 = mix of L1 and L3;
- 1 Sample & Hold (6 modes);
- 1 VCA with AR EG (with pan for undelayed sound at Rev section);
- 1 Main Volume with level control: fixed, Velocity, and even Aftertouch, or Wheel;
- 1 Delay (bpm synced) and dedicated pan
- 1 Bass Boost
- 1 Reverb with predelay
- 1 Hold button to hold last played key
- 1 Joypad with 3 balls to control 6 destinations
Altair 4 will be available “soon” for 19 Euro, as introductionary offer until May, 15th 2011. The regular price will be 29 Euro. A demo version is now available.
For all you TRON fans out there
Explore the sound and music of “TRON LEGACY”, the long awaited sequel continuing the adventures through the world inside your computer.
The sound team behind the film will take you behind-the-scenes of the science fiction epic, presenting special excerpts from the movie. Watch how the sound team approached various elements of the mix and edit while they tell you the stories behind them.
Guiding you through their digital realms will be Supervising Sound Editor Gwen Whittle, Sound Designer Steve Boeddeker, Music Supervisor Jason Bentley, Re-recording mixer Gary Rizzo, and Film Editor James Haygood, ACE.
Filmed on January 12, 2011 at the Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, CA.
So I guess there is a good chance you will meet with both aliens and Daft Punk in Sweden this winter
Disney’s ‘Tron Legacy’ inspired Room at the 21st Ice Hotel, Arctic Sweden. Designed and Built by Ben Rousseau and Ian Douglas – Jones