Kuiper Belt: A Sonic Depiction
Welcome to the Kuiper belt! These sonic depictions vary a lot from track to track. You'll want to veg-out to the mellow parts but don't get too comfortable- there's probably a jolting, jarring section coming up. It's all designed to make sure you're still listening! The Kuiper belt is a torus, or doughnut-shaped region of our outer solar system, extending seven billion miles beyond the orbit of Neptune. It is home to many icy bodies of various sizes, and includes dwarf planets, asteroids, and comets. The Kuiper belt was first hypothesized to exist, or to have once existed, by Gerald Kuiper in 1951. In the 1990's, research by astronomers confirmed it's existence. Since this time, many Kuiper belt objects have been discovered, and many more are likely to be found. The "New Horizons" spacecraft, launched in 2006, is scheduled to reach Pluto in July of 2015. I created this instrumental concept album to help spread the word about these oftentimes strange, little-known objects (and for just the fun of it, of course!). 1. Kuiper Belt Objects: Introductory piece, throughout which are excerpts taken from each of the other Kuiper belt songs. 2. Makemake: Chief god of the bird cult in Easter Island Mythology and Kuiper belt plutoid. 3. Drac: Nickname of the asteroid known for it's unusual highly inclined, retrograde orbit. So called for it's ability to "walk on walls". 4. Ixion: A nefarious king in Greek Mythology whom Zeus ordered bound to a spinning wheel for eternity, and Kuiper belt plutino. 5. Pluto and it's Moons: Roman God of the underworld, and once considered our solar system's ninth planet . Pluto has at least three known moons; Charon, ferryman of Hades: Nix, water spirit of Germanic origin: and Hydra, of many-headed serpent fame. 6. Haumea: Potato-shaped dwarf planet, named after the goddess of fertility and childbirth in Hawaiian Mythology. 7. Antipholus and Antipholus: Characters in Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors", and nearly identical binary asteroids orbiting each other at an unusually great distance apart. 8. Eris: Greek Goddess of strife and discord, aptly named as it's discovery hastened Pluto's demotion from planet status to that of dwarf planet. 9. Varuna: Hindu God of the sky and ocean and potential Kuiper belt dwarf planet. 10. Quaoar: Creation deity of the Tongva Native Americans, who sang and danced the world into existence, and also potential Kuiper belt dwarf planet. Styles you'll encounter range from Bluesy Heavy-Riffing Rock to Ambient New Age Electronica, and just about anything else you can conjure up. My hope is that the album will be appreciated by the musically open-minded, because it sure as heck isn't going to please folks who listen to just any one particular genre. Electric guitar, both clean and overdriven, is the primary instrument on the album, often melded with common effects such as flange, phase, wah etc.. Other 'instruments' you'll come across are drums I've programmed, boat loads of different synth plug-ins, acoustic-electric rhythm guitar, as well as the occasional tambourine and african drums I finally found a brief use for. To record and mix/master, I used N-track home-recording software. I tried to craft each song based loosely on either the origin of the name of the object, on some aspect of it's physical nature, or both. For example, in 'Drac' you'll hear reverse cymbols (or symbols in this case!) to represent the fact that this asteroid is in retrograde motion. This references it's physical nature. But also, you'll hear a church organ synth which one might associate with the Dracula character, referencing the name's origin. If all this seems a bit much, you're probably right!