Under the Ice of Europa

Be patient – the large mp3 may take a while to start streaming.

Under the Ice of Europa is an ambient piece for only the most dedicated. It has a run time of 42 minutes and should be listened to at a very loud volume to get the full effect. The initial sound sources were 5 instances of EFM Synthia 2 (EMI Synthi emulator) 1 instance of Altair 4 and 1 instance of Albino. There was a lot of work done in the sound design of synthi patches and arpeggiation was applied to all tracks. Then, yes I ran it through PES, but not with default settings. I used three instances, two of which were through the harmonic filter with 21 harmonics at a just fifth and the three outputs mixed together. Its a pretty complex mixture that is constantly changing. However, I realize 42 minutes of anything is a difficult hand, so my hat is off to you if you decide to try it and actually make it all the way through.

2 Responses to “Under the Ice of Europa”

  1. Snow Leopard says:

    Hey Chris:

    I find I have no time to listen to four minute pieces, but 42 minute pieces I have time for. đŸ™‚ Like many moody long “space” pieces, it moves in an out of attention-grabbing sections: sometimes I have to pay attention, other times it seems to let me coast, and so makes for something more of an ambient journey than one I have to pay attention to, of course. But that makes for replayability and a different experience each time, generally.

    I appreciate the work you put into it, which I suspect is why you recommend maximum volume, to appreciate the manifold emergent details an so forth. It might especially serve as music to listen to while meditating, with good headphones. But does the piece actually require that kind of absolutely sustained attention? (Merzbow often proposes a similar “problem” or “question”.)

    Also, I’m totally fine with it being the length it is. So my question about length is not at all “why is it so long?” I am curious how it got to be the length it did. Sometimes I take a chunk of something, pitch shift it down, and it’s suddenly 8 minutes long. I also have a lot of through-performed pieces that are as long as they re because I started at a given time and then stopped 90 minutes later, &c. But I don’t think there is only that here, yes? So, what necessity do you see int the length as is? Is it a consequence of building up the elements you had in the way you did, or something else?

    Meanwhile, thanks for the gruve.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Snow Leopard, perhaps you are unfamiliar with the famous (and infamous) Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch made by Nasca Octavian Paul which I abbreviated PES. (link below) – As an experiment I layered PES tracks and found that the now multi-tempi tracks formed a continuously changing kaleidoscope of combinations – none of which I found less interesting than any other. So I made the artistic decision that I should release this as a whole despite the obviously huge time commitment I was asking for. In fact some people did voice negativity on that point. But, then, I can point to, for instance, Shostakovitch’s 15th symphony which clocks in at 42 minutes (roughly). Not that I’m saying this is anywhere the effort or quality of Dimitri’s work – I’m just pointing out that on the surface it may seem 42 minutes is a lot – there are in fact many pieces of music (or collections) that meet or exceed (Think of Wagner’s Ring Cycle or Ives’ Universe Symphony)that amount of time. Here, though, to be fair this is detailed ambient music. I typically consider my ambient as a sort of sonic wallpaper and usually I wouldn’t recommend trying to pay close attention but rather allow the music to occasionally grab your attention and let it recede to window dressing again. This case though, the actual music created was not in the extended mood but was in the details of a aleatoric combinatorial nature. And that is why it is so long and the instructions to listen closely to hear what I heard in the piece. So, that is my long winded explanation on top of the original post.

    PES http://hypermammut.sourceforge.net/paulstretch/
    Aleatoric music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleatoric_music

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