Aluminium became a study in plurality within singularity.
Its basic sound story was developed from the sources mentioned before. These were then brought into many layered mutual phase modulations, in this way adding new harmonies while suppressing others by phase cancellations, or by almost phase cancellations. In this way an extremely complex moving sound mass was created from which the work to be was to be sculpted in several stages, a process akin to distillation almost.
Sculpting and mixing variations until coherent versions were found was the next stage, some versions were close to or over an hour long and needed drastic shortening.
In the end three versions came out from which one was chosen to serve as the master for the final process. It is this final process which you will find documented in the graphic score further down. The accelerando was chosen for both increasing intensity and duration shortening.
“The new BIG STORIES are all told by science, their scope is vast, and their telling has only begun relatively recently. We are daily getting updates on answers to all the ancient basic questions of life that inspired human art, cultures, and religions for millennia, and we are getting verifiable answers this time. Most important is perhaps that we are also facing completely new questions.
It is high time the old myths and beliefs are abandoned and replaced by contemporary, that is to say: scientific sources of information, imagination, and inspiration. The vast field of modern science is far more complex, has a verifiable and direct relation to reality, and it offers a far greater abundance of possible stories and references for artists in all disciplines than any older belief or myth system, however poetic, could ever come up with.
In our times we need new and innovative operas and symphonies, whether electronically or no; let these forget the simpler stories of our past and use these new narrative sources of our present and future for reference and inspiration.”
The music of Indium contains very slow transitions with pantonal use of tanpuras, suggesting the world of the traditional transparent element of Akasha, prior to and behind the ragas in which these instruments are usually employed. In opposition to their traditional use here the many tanpuras take an almost melodic role, meanwhile keeping their normal harmonic horizon function. The music is developing so slowly that discerning its overall long form is a challenge to the attentive listener, and the sections created in this album can help as a guide.
The tanpuras and a variety of sonorities created with several modular synthesis systems play the backbone of the harmony of Indium which is based on strict serial pantonality, using a 12-tone row which has its origins in a hexachord already used by Scriabin and Bartók, in this way creating a synthesis of various traditions: East may be East and West may believe it is West, but the two here meet and find themselves deeply interconnected.
van Dillen, with a background of years of studies in Hindustani music, has long had a vision of a larger work featuring many tanpuras on many pitch classes, and here it is to last: Indium.
In the recording, four sections are presented, along with a complete track containing Radium uninterrupted. This last is for reasons of streaming media reacting to tracks: some insert pauses which should not be there, others change volumes of individual tracks, deviating from the overall balance decided by the composers/producers. Whatever streaming service you listen to, the complete track should provide a reliable reference for the composer’s intentions.
The four sections can be viewed, and even treated, as parts, yet are not called that way. The overall form is that of an archipelago of musics, consisting of the same and similar elements yet in endless variations of balance, pitch, register and gesture. In between these islands of music is silence, not a cold digital silence, because there is a residue of noisy digital circuitry ongoing mostly beyond the horizon of perception, but a musical silence, part of the music itself and precisely timed. These General Pauses are an integral part of the Archipelago-Form of Radium.
Barium (Ba) has a special use in a single group of living organisms, the single-celled Desmidiales or Desmids, green algae containing Barium Sulfate BaSO4 crystals in constant Brownian motion. It is suspected these heavy molecules, suspended in one end of the cell only, may help it sense gravity, space, and facilitate up and down orientation.
Barium, the 6th period element of the 2nd group is a heavy atom, much heavier than its upper neighbor Strontium, yet not nearly as heavy as the true heavyweights among the elements, such as Gold (79) or Lead (82). All elements heavier still (except Bismuth) are unstable, too big and in decay, slowly disintegrating and therefore radioactive.
Barium is opaque to x-rays and used daily in hospitals. People are fed a “Barium Meal” before x-ray images are taken of their intestines, showing these in a clear outline. Barium itself would be highly toxic, so again we see Barium Sulfate being used here. These ions Ba2+ and SO42- are like best friends, very hard to separate. Their atomic bond is so strong that even the acidity of the stomach does not affect it, and for the better. Barium would block Potassium moving out of nerve cells, killing nervous activities and life.
Beryllium (Be) is the lightest of all the alkaline earth metals, and a strange one as it does not form ions. It is a rather rare element too, named after the precious stone beryl, a gem, from which it can be extracted with great difficulty.
Beryllium is unusually rare for such a light element. Almost all larger than Hydrogen elements are formed in stars, as a consequence of the nuclear fusion in their core, but in this too Beryllium is an exception. Along with Lithium and Boron, atoms of the element Beryllium cannot survive long inside stars and will form other elements before being ejected into space. It is assumed therefore that Beryllium is formed in interstellar dust clouds instead, by the influence of cosmic rays splitting up heavier elements.
Created in a similar process to the other music of the elements in group 2, the composing started with the creation of a spectral Pijperian germ-cell.
This germ-cell was used in a strict polyphonic sense, almost as if in a modern fugue: it was set in counterpoint to itself, transposed many times, stretched to various durations as well as reversed. The original has 5 layers that can be seen by their hues and shades, which also appear separately in places. This hybrid process mixes germ-cell composition technique with polyphonic and atonal techniques in using various versions of an original “cantus firmus”.
Listening carefully gave the strong impression of the presence of an implicit fast tempo slightly and gradually speeding up 88-92 bpm. As a consequence the composer added several rhythmic patterns, that keep changing and shift their parts in a minimalistic manner, similar to say Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, but more complicated.
The meaning of the term electronic music has changed dramatically since modern composers started to work with electronic equipment in radio studios after the second world war. In the 50’s and 60’s of the 20th century it meant mostly avant-garde esthetics by an elite group of mostly male composers making the headlines for this at the time niche medium. Today the term changed meaning but at the same time its history is in the process of being rewritten as more and more female composers are being credited for having played a defining role in the development of the medium. In 2021 the acclaimed documentary film called Sisters with Transistors was released, it demonstrated this process for a larger than specialist audience. One can also conclude that on the whole and over time the term electronic music defines a medium, not a style.
Calcium is the normal metal which in the form of a hydrated Calcium Phosphate is the main component of mammalian bones, yet the Calcium ion is somewhat small to fit perfectly into the crystal lattice of bone, and its lower group 2 neighbor Strontium would fit much better due to its larger size and in fact will do so if the opportunity arises. Calcium is also an essential element in blood, so much so that it is suspected that the very formation of bones in early evolution originated in the need to have a Calcium reserve to draw upon when blood levels decrease. Even before Calcium levels are getting low, the body will have already borrowed it from the bones. Of course later in evolution, these bones acquired their current purpose of bodily structure and support for muscles, and movement.
A reflection of and on the volatile basic nature of the element Phosphorus can be found in the sparkling and resonant distorted sounds used overall. In all three parts a variety of rhythmic elements arise and decay. In view of the overall presence of the complete spectrum of sound, this album comes close to being a kind of sculpted noise.
This has been achieved in two ways: by sculpting noise from various sources (white, pink, brown) into resonances, and by sculpting and distorting resonances and sounds into noisiness. Both latest and more traditional electronic modular technologies have been used to achieve this.
Among the inspirations for this album have been works such as Sisyphus by Pink Floyd (which was on the very first record the composer ever bought in his life), Free Form Guitar by Chicago, and the overall sound explorations of many of the later Jimi Hendrix solos. Van Dillen found works such as these to capture best the basic nature of the character of the element Phosphorus in sound.
One can imagine that at the reality of a larger than primal atom, the road is open for more complex atoms, and so it was: in the heavier stars, thermonuclear fission processes produced heavier elements still. In fact, there is not a single heavier atom that was not created at some point in time in some star. All matter is stardust. All heavier atoms are the product of nuclear fission in stars.
We ourselves are the children of stars become aware.
It is with Helium that this process of atom creation takes its very first step: forming an atom with 2 protons, over twice as heavy as the primal atom Hydrogen. It is a strange coincidence that so many human cultures worshipped the sun as a creator god: the sun being our star is de facto one of the many creators of matter, in its shining we see the life-giving light: a waste product of this process.
Now imagine ourselves the size of a planet, listening to the sounds of this process of matter creation. We are become huge cosmic ears now, listening to the sounds of the sun.
One of the main aims when creating Azote was to create a music in which sounds move musically, and where the pitches are not the necessarily most important sound aspects, but sound, register and dynamics are, and it was composed so that each sound has its own sense of space with it. Also sometimes these spaces move independently within the music, allowing for sounds to enter and sound in these spaces. Thus beat becomes breath, or the lack of it. Although at first hearing it appears that rhythm is the main musical area explored, deeper listening reveals that the music is happening within the virtual spaces created by what we can call breathing rhythmic bubbles of sound. The importance of the sense of architectural space gives Azote aspects of soundscape, but the fact that these spaces are formally treated and move about in an overall very rhythmical way, points again to a possible symphony. But these are mere words, insufficiently able and possibly obsolete to describe let alone categorize this music.
Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, after Oxygen, the latter being also abundant in the atmosphere. In the periodic table Si is placed just below C and the two elements share many characteristics. Still, Carbon is the basic element for life, and no Silicon-based … read the full text…
Oxygen is all around us: surprisingly, it is even the most abundant element on our planet. But the free, breathable oxygen O2 found in the Earth’s atmosphere, without which human and animal life would be impossible, has not always been here; it has been freed from its stable compounds … read the full text…
Carbon is above all the Element that makes life possible. As symbolized by the pencil drawing at this album’s cover, it forms chains, and as basic carbon-based chains the amino acids are found in all life forms. As are the very long chains of amino acids, such as DNA, … read the full text…
Elements 118 Oganesson is the last in the Periodic Table, completing its structure with 7 full layers of electron shells. As an element, Oganesson fits in the group of the so-called “noble gases” but is predicted to be a solid at room temperature. Predicted, because only a handful of … read the full text…
The series Elements are digital compositions which have a more static, installation-like character, crossing the border between musical and spatial composition, linking up music and architecture, both arts concerning Space. Van Dillen’s compositions in the series Elements can be listened to in several ways. Traditionally these are: privately over … read the full text…