Moog Foundation ‘Encore’ Soundbank Features Who’s Who Of Synthesis

Bob_Moog_Foundation_MOTU_Encore_SoundbankMOTU and the Bob Moog Foundation have released the Encore Soundbank, a new collection of instrument and percussion sounds, produced in commemoration of Bob Moog’s 81st Birthday, coming up on May 23rd.

Over twenty synthesists and sound designers donated original samples to assist with the creation of the sound library, which offers over 2 GB of material.

The following artists contributed to this project: Continue reading

Interstellar Suite Anniversary Edition Now Available

interstellar-suite-25th-anniversaryTriplet Records has released the silver anniversary edition of The Interstellar Suite – a pioneering work of symphonic electronic music.

The Interstellar Suite 25th Anniversary Edition is available in High Definition 5.1 surround sound as a 96/24 HiRes .flac download at High Res Audio, a high resolution music download service based in Germany. A HiRes stereo .flac version is also available.

The Interstellar Suite, Bhatia’s first album, is an original symphonic composition, orchestrated for synthesizers. Bhatia’s work builds on the work of Tomita and Wendy Carlos, but benefits from a decade of technical advancements from the time of their best-known works. The arrangements are for a ‘synthesizer orchestra’, prominently featuring the Moog Minimoog. The work was sequenced on a Roland MCA500, with only 16 MIDI channels.

You can learn more about the history of The Interstellar Suite, and the details behind its electronic orchestration, in our interview with Amin Bhatia.

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Last Chance On Interstellar Suite Surround Sound Collectors Edition

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Composer & synthesist Amin Bhatia is wrapping up an Indiegogo campaign for the 25th anniversary re-release of his Interstellar Suite.

The Interstellar Suite is a cult favorite for fans of classitronica and symphonic electronica. The Suite was inspired by the arrangements of Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita, but is an original score.

Bhatia is offering a variety of editions of the release, ranging from a digital binaural version to a DVD version and some collector editions.

The campaign ends Thu Nov 15 at 11:59PM PT. See the Indiegogo site for details.

Revisiting The Future – Amin Bhatia & The Interstellar Suite

Amin Bhatia is a composer and synthesist, best known for his soundtrack work for film and television.

But he’s also a self-professed ‘geek’, inspired by Holst & Tomita, sci fi and action films and classic analog gear. And he’s released two of the most important ‘classitronica’ style works of this generation, The Interstellar Suite and Virtuality.

The Interstellar Suite, originally released in 1987 and Bhatia’s first album, is a suite of original pieces of synth music, arranged in the classitronic tradition of Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita. The Suite is themed around a futuristic interstellar voyage. Tracks like Launch: Mission Control and Liftoff and Battle: Planning The Attack put the Suite firmly in the category of program music – music that explicitly paints a picture or tells a story.

For its 25th anniversary, Bhatia is revisiting The Interstellar Suite and updating it for a new generation of technology and listeners.

In this interview, Bhatia reveals how he was inspired by Tomita and other synth music pioneers, how he got into electronic music and his plans for bringing The Interstellar Suite to 21st century music formats.

Early Inspirations

The Interstellar Suite

Synthtopia: Amin – what inspired you to get into synths and ultimately to create The Suite?

Amin Bhatia: My goal was to work with orchestras, as a kid. I loved orchestral music. That’s all my parents played around the house. I listened to orchestral music, because I didn’t know it wasn’t cool. My parents just had that stuff going on all the time. Other kids in Grade 5 didn’t know how cool Holst’s The Planets was, or Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. I began to realize I was listening to a type of music that was very strange and unusual.

Then, like so many other people, the Tomita albums and the Wendy Carlos albums brought to my attention the idea of classical music done in a whole new way, and I found that very exciting and very intriguing.

I bought as many synth albums as I could. And my dad, bless his heart, took pity on me and got me my first Minimoog. Which I still have!

Synthtopia: Thanks, Dad!

Amin Bhatia: He did not realize how expensive a Minimoog was. I took him to the music store, and it was $2,000. It was like “TWO THOUSAND!?! Wait a minute!”

So, in we go into his credit card.

I brought the thing home, and I had an old four track recorder, because I was doing tape experiments and my parents let me play with the family tape recorder. And I brought this Minimoog home, and for weeks, I was trying to be Tomita. And the sounds that were squealing out of this thing! My parents were beside themselves. They were thinking “What did we just waste our money on?”

And [meanwhile] I’m learning about filter sweeps, and I’m learning about sawtooth, and I’m learning about ADSR. And my parents are hearing all these shrieking sounds from the basement.

Then, a few weeks later, they were having a party. They were having some of their bridge group friends over.

By then, I had figured out some basic melodic things, and I did a little echo chamber thing with my four track recorder. I did some flute melodies for them, from one of my dad’s favorite classical albums, and the bridge group thought it was cool. But my dad was just thrilled – and really relieved that this thing could actually make some music!

From that point on, I think he breathed a little easier.

As the years went buy, and I did more and more experiments, my dad became my greatest fan, bless his heart. Between him and my sister, I would experiment with all kinds of things and play them.

The Origin Of The Interstellar Suite

Synthtopia: In the last 25 years, The Interstellar Suite has earned a reputation as a cult icon of the classictronica style of synth music. What inspired you to create The Suite?

Amin Bhatia: A friend of my, Dave Kletke, showed me the back of a Keyboard magazine, and there was an ad for the Roland synthesizer competition.

At the time….a friend of mine in college was doing a radio play thing. It was about a spaceship that could travel faster than light. It was an audio play concept he wanted to get going. So, I started doing some sketches and melodic things.

The radio play never got off the ground, but when I saw the contest, I took one of the pieces that I was working on, Flight Beyond The Stars, and finished it off. And I shipped it off to the Roland competition. It was done with a Minimoog and a four track. I think I had some Polymoog in there as well.

Weeks later, I got a letter in the mail from Roland. They said “Thank you very much for entering into the competition.” And I looked in the amateur category, and my name wasn’t there, though I’d entered as an amateur. I nearly threw the piece of paper away.

But then I turned it around, and on the other side was the professional category. And they’d moved me from the amateur category to the professional, and I’d won the grand prize.

So I called my dad, and he came running! I was yelling, “Oh my god!”  We drank saké wine that night!

That was a pivotal moment.

Most importantly, the judges on that Roland Synthesizer Competition included Ralph Dyck – who was a synthesizer programmer for Roland. Ralph, who’s a brilliant programmer & synthesist, got my four track demo tape in the hands of Steve PorcaroDavid Foster took an interest in it, and Oscar Peterson wrote me a nice letter expressing his support.

The doors that opened from that contest entry then took me to the next level, and made me think that – maybe – I could make a living doing this.

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Interstellar Suite Getting 25th Anniversary Surround Sound Mix & More

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At the 2012 NAMM Show, I had the opportunity to talk with composers Amin Bhatia and Dave Gross about a project that they were starting – a surround sound version of Bhatia’s orchestral electronica classic, The Interstellar Suite.

Bhatia is probably best known for his soundtrack work for television, film and iMax projects, including Flashpoint, Iron Eagle II, and John Woo’s Once A Thief.

But Bhatia kicked off his career with an orchestral electronica album, The Interstellar Suite, that was inspired in part by his love of the soundtracks of John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith and in part by the classitronica works of synthesists like Isao Tomita. The suite features 9 sections, orchestrated for layers of synthesizers (Roland JX 10; Yamaha TX 816; Oberheim Expander; and a Minimoog) and a pair of crash cymbals.

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Virtuality Video: The Moog Legacy

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VIRTUALITY Video: Part 1 The Moog Legacy (HD)

via interstellarcrew:

The high definition version of the first of many podcasts to come features the Bob Moog legacy and talks about how Amin Bhatia came to dedicate the album to him.

Interviewed guests include Steve Porcaro, Patrick Moraz, Michelle Moog-Koussa as well as producers, engineers and musicians from “Virtuality”.

The podcast series was written and directed by Saul Pincus with contributions from cinematographers and journalists all over the world. Special thanks to the crew at Full Sail University, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation and the offices of Steve Porcaro, Patrick Moraz, Bhatia Music and Splice Heist.

The Making Of Bolero Electronica

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The second of Virtuality podcast features The Making of Bolero Electronica and talks about the inspiration for using 75 years of synthesizers; the origins of the instruments; and the challenge of putting it all together, including footage of rare keyboards used at the esteemed Cantos Foundation.

Along with composer Amin Bhatia, guests including Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi, Steve Porcaro, Patrick Moraz, Michelle Moog-Koussa as well as producers, engineers and musicians from “Virtuality.”

The podcast series was produced by Mark Dwyer and Saul Pincus with contributions from cinematographers and journalists all over the world. Special thanks to the crew at Full Sail University, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation, the Cantos Foundation, and the offices of Steve Porcaro, Patrick Moraz, Bhatia Music and Splice Heist.