The inspiration for this work on the one hand came from a fascination with how to compose really long works; this single movement 6-hour work is the next step in duration after the earlier four part 4-hour long Dronescape 8: The Four Pillars of Reason. The inspiration on the other hand came from the urgency felt to compose a work on chaos as a sign of our times: today there are increasingly forces at work and coming to the forefront of our attention, that are contributing more and more chaotic elements to what seemed to use to be a reasonably ordered human world, at least since World War II. One does not need to be labeled as woke to know at least some of these agents and forces, both natural and human, by name.Continue reading →
The music series of the Halogens is colorful, using mosaics as a formal principle, reflecting the eagerness of halogens to chemically combine and form both salts and organic molecules. Bromine is important in biochemistry, which is demonstrated in the application of KBr Potassium Bromide as an anti-epileptic medicine from 1857-1912, when it was replaced by phenobarbital. The music of these halogens expresses the connection to biochemistry by its use of rhythmic elements and its special treatment of musical time (hence also the virtual modeling and mosaic form).Continue reading →
The music of Chlorine reflects the reactive nature of this element, and, like its predecessor Fluorine, suggests a percussive nature developing further the style of the minimalist Constructions of John Cage. This character is achieved by the use of virtual modelling, in combination with a mosaic-like approach to musical time and form.Continue reading →
The music of Fluorine is thoroughly compounded in that it consists of a mosaic of moments that are linked together to create the larger form. The original sounds were created using virtual modeling by means of the Kaivo instrument created by Madrona Labs. These sounds were created, modulated, and modelled in Bitwig Studio, creating basic audio events. These were then composed into a final musical form in Reaper.Continue reading →
Spatiality: another critical point in the Elements music is the use of particular places and spaces assigned to sounds. In Francium and other alkali metal musics there is a variety of spatially moving sounds, not just by ping pong echoes but in much more complicated ways. Often such placement is linked to gates and envelopes derived from the sounds themselves. Not only is this music created by the creation and by the composition of sounds, but it is also largely composed by composing a virtual space for each of these sounds and for a virtual space created by all of this together. As opposed to a live performance of music in a certain room or hall which is in itself not composed nor part of the music itself, here the space is very much a part of the composition, and this can be a different experience in a room through speakers: sounds will appear to not really come from the speakers. A final element is the always intentional semi-permeability in van Dillen’s electronic music: this music is intended to sound in and with the world around, so random surround “noise” shall be incorporated into the listening experience.Continue reading →
Haunting pulsations are the basis of the music of Caesium. A long and extremely slow crescendo begins the music, and in mirror fashion, a long and slow diminuendo al niente ends it. The sounds used have been created using a semi modular synthesis, involving a virtual modeling.
Whereas music normally sounds against a background of time, this music suggests sounds on the inside of time itself.Continue reading →
Though similar to Potassium, Rubidium has no function in any known living organisms. Yet is easily absorbed into the human body due to this similarity and thus a radioactive isotope of it is used in MRI imaging.
In technology Rb is sometimes used in solar cells, and a possible projected future use might be in deep space exploration, as it would enable the creation of ion drives, which effectively inspired the music in this album.Continue reading →
While the music of Natrium resembles a somewhat singular obstinate idea travelling through various spaces, each time adapting to its environment, it always has an undercurrent of time, suggested fast rhythm, and even haste and a sense of speed and hurrying. The tempo of the music of Natrium resembles the Jazz concept of forward motion (fast music without fixed structures in time). Such pulsations, sometimes resembling rhythm, but always with a certain drive, play a role in all the alkali elements, most of all in Caesium, the atomic resonances of which have been used in extremely precise atomic clocks since the second half of the 20th century. The music of Kalium has slower basic pulsations overall, and even seems to pause at times, but it does share the traveling through environments we heard in the Natrium music. The sounds often evoke suggestions of life, both animal and plant life, sometimes even quasi-intelligible voices can be heard, as well as the environment with which all life is interconnected, and depends upon.Continue reading →
van Dillen composed a basis for the alkali metals’ music eventually used for up to and including the 5th period alkali metal Rubidium (element 37). The sounds used at the basis, the “canvases”, were created using additive modular synthesis, and have a very aggressive character, they are deliberately overfilled with noise and spectral information. The further composition processes in Natrium, Kalium and Rubidium as a consequence have been using a variety of complex subtractive synthesis, then filtered down and sculpted into the music to fit these elements.Continue reading →
Lithium’s effectiveness against bipolar disorder is more or less a mirror of it being a very reactive element on the one hand, and one effective as a drug on the other. In the case of Lithium it is not so much the compound in which it is ingested, but surprisingly, it is the element itself that is medically effective. These two opposing characters mirror the strong mood swings, extreme highs and lows, and strongly inspired the music on this album, so they led to the use of two sample groups of opposing sonic character.Continue reading →
Thallium is mostly found in potassium-based minerals in the Earth’s crust, although it cannot be extracted in this form. Human biochemistry mistakes Thallium for Potassium (K), and the resulting accumulation slowly poisons the brain, kidneys and heart, and leads to severe health problems.Continue reading →
Boron is the lightest element of Group 13, and neighbor to Carbon, to which it is very similar in many of its properties. Despite the fact that Boron has 3 electrons in its outer shell, which would suggest metallic properties, its relative small size make these bond too strong to behave as a metal.
A very special fact is found in its origins: almost all elements are created by nuclear fusion in the cores of superheavy stars, but not Boron. The Boron we find on Earth is actually formed in space: fast travelling protons colliding into atomic nuclei they encounter in interstellar space. This process called spallation has been the main inspiration for the music of Boron on this album: travelling particles, now and then colliding, sometimes fusing.Continue reading →