“Exoplanet” (1994) was commissioned by choreographer Dave Wilson for the student dance ensemble at McMaster University. Musically, it is a kind of postlude to the score for the dance suite “Land of the Living,” which I composed for a festival performance in Lyon several weeks before. I had intended to release both scores as part of a sci-fi instrumental concept album, After, but set the idea aside to work on what would become the album Uhuru.
The track is built on two alternating chords, the tonic and the supertonic, heard at first in the bassline and later in minimalist patterns of stacked fifths.
Rhythms were played manually, with light adjusting of individual MIDI events afterwards. This method of editing — as opposed to running the quantize function which I was not interested in doing — would often involve a discouraging number of clattering button clicks on the 01/W. Thus the light adjusting. It was my way of trying to avoid a fully programmed sound.
“Exoplanet” was a quick sketch for an industrial-themed dance (title unknown) which I didn’t see. I seem to recall it was performed in Boston alongside the suite; thus the complete After album concept enjoyed a single public outing.
Composed and recorded February 1994, Korg 01/WFD
Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2019
Brandon Coleman Resistance
Tigran Hamasyan For Gyumri
Zaki Ibrahim The Secret Life of Planets
The Internet Hive Mind
JACK Quartet Everything That Rises (John Luther Adams)
Kuniko Drumming (Steve Reich)
Kukuruz Quartet Julius Eastman Piano Interpretations
Kendrick Lamar/Various Artists Black Panther: The Album
Kelly Moran Ultraviolet
Georgia Anne Muldrow Overload
Steve Reich/International Contemporary Ensemble/Colin Currie Group Pulse/Quartet
Esperanza Spalding 12 Little Spells
Kali Uchis Isolation
Kamasi Washington Heaven and Earth
Tierra Whack Whack World
Aretha Franklin The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970
“Rhythm So New” began as a song on my demo-style album Suburbanite (1988). In 2008, it was made into an experimental DJ-style remix using CD transfers of the original song mixes as well as the aged 4-track cassette stems. I used looping and filtering to focus on small, rough-edged details and enhance the saturated colours of the vintage medium. The remix was 22 minutes long; this 2018 edit reduces that by half. The original recording featured a Hohner Clavinet, Korg CX-3 organ, Roland S-50 sampler, Yahama DX-27 synthesizer, bass guitar (direct) and overdubbed vocals, all recorded in a single overnight session with no programming.
Composed and recorded November 1988, cassette 4-track
Remixed August 2008, Pioneer CDJs, Allen & Heath mixer
Edited December 2018
Top: The Monarch Tavern, July 2007 (Petri Glad)
Below: detail of Pioneer CDJ-1000 MK2, December 2018 (Bruce Russell)
Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2018