Music Uncategorized

Orion 1

This is the first composition by me, inspired by the recent successful completion of the live test of the Orion capsule. See the results here.

The work is a mix of live audio from the December 11, 2022 splashdown, Csound synth patches along with some virtual instruments recorded in Studio One.

First off, I split up the audio from the YouTube livestream into chunks using the Rust noise_gate project. The audio was filtered to give it a 60’s Moon-mission feel. I felt some sort of fanfare was needed at the start, so I added some Copeland-esque percussion.

The first long section is Stratospheric Winds, what it might sound like encountering the Earth’s atmosphere from space. Yes, the stratosphere is not the top layer of the atmosphere, but it is the point where the re-entry is picked up.

Section Atmospherics represents the long fall after supersonic flight. It is made up of drones with a rhythmic accompaniment ticking off the time. The drone sounds were based off of Ian McCurdy’s Csound Haiku I with modified tones and additional evolution.

After the chutes deploy is Hang Time, where I use a Virt Vereor VST synth playing long chords to give the feeling of suspension. I skipped most of the dialog around the chute deployment after I found it detracted from the narrative flow.

As the capsule gets close to the sea, there is a surf sound based on a simulation in Csound. I had also developed a glissando sequencer bit coded in Csound based off of a phrase from Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue in D minor. It was intended for section Hang Time, but when I put in the clip about the recovery beacon, it clearly belonged with the section Waiting for Recovery.

There was a definite end to the mission, so I wanted to wind the piece slowly down to its conclusion. With the final note, the piece ends in Mission Accomplished (notably without any sense of irony in this case.)

In the end I think its moderately OK. I’m not too happy about the mix, and I have since learned a lot about Studio One that would help out in that regard. Finding my way through the creative process was very instructive. I find that I like to plan out my pieces, and gather the bits around the plan, even if things don’t work out the way I expected.