Satellite Symphonics (label)
06 March 2020 (released)
23 March 2020
The inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil's singularity is fast approaching. The intellectual has predicted that within our lifetime (roughly 2045), we will see AI become “smarter” than humans with an inevitable merging of organic and artificial. A brave new world that will upend our ideas of humanity and existence. Beyond his work in optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis and speech recognition technology, the man was a pioneer in electronic keyboard instruments. The Kurzweil Music Systems company was founded with Stevie Wonder in 1982 and their instruments have been used by the likes of Pink Floyd's Richard Wright and David Bowie's Mike Garson. The point being, those at the forefront of electronic music production are often deeply involved in the idea of technology merging with us as a species.
Electronic symphony composer Chris Ianuzzi is one such genius. The New York artist has scored many high profile projects including orchestral and electronic sound design music for HBO's From the Earth to the Moon series co-produced by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks. He has also worked to develop a neural interface that, linked with an analog synthesizer, can produce music directly from your brain wave patterns (!!!). This technology was displayed by himself with partner Johny Turpin at Moogfest workshops in 2017 (well worth checking out on YouTube!).
Now Ianuzzi is making a return to his original passion with a collection of electronic symphonies, beginning with the release of the Olga in a Black Hole EP. The collection of three pieces is an otherworldly dance of analog electronics used in tandem with the latest digital technologies. The album spans from quirky diffuse sections invoking the vast infinity of the universe to pumping grooves amid poly-rhythmically repeating samples similar to Cevin Key's Download project (also, HIGHLY recommended).
Ianuzzi decides to put the focus on 'Olga in a Black Hole', arguably the most obscure track on the EP, by making it the opener as well as the title track. The piece is largely absent of a consistent rhythmic force, nor any repeating melodic motif. However, it is the patience and the sparse sonic depth that is allowed to exist that makes Olga a dazzling masterstroke. It exists more as a picture of sound design than any conventional score. Sputtering mechanical bleeps and bloops echo out with a metallic reverb like they're reflecting inside a vast space capsule from a time further along in our evolution where we have gargantuan vessels that can explore outside our planetary backyard. Surges of electricity come amid a small snippet of a sonorous synth melody. Rhythms rapidly coalesce and dissipate just as quickly. Intensity swells around you. The chaos is beautiful.
The rest of the EP finds somewhat more stable ground rhythmically while still revelling in the overall anarchic melodics. 'Hello' begins with a dial tone to a far off alien homeworld and a reaching out. Sparky, stop-start percussion jitters underneath bell-like melodies. The unearthly creatures answer back with a musical morse code. They seem more or less friendly... 'Fork' rounds out the album with a bustling intergalactic opus, similar to 'Hello's twitchy vibe before finding a slice of serenity. Reaching the utopian planet the crew had searched and travelled so long to find.
Olga in a Black Hole is a portal to an audacious, perilous, and glorious future world. Chris Ianuzzi's lifetime of building sonic landscapes is harnessed to create a spellbinding glimpse into one of our possible futures. One of wonder and cosmic discovery.