These 3 pieces evolved from many earlier compositions. I had been fascinated for some time with combining very slow tempo, and long loops, which change gradually in a highly ordered and very deliberate way. This gives rise to a paradoxically spacious musical expression yet is very focussed at the same time.
Many earlier pieces informed Imaginary Galaxies. “Interstellar Overdrive” by the Pink Floyd inspired in me the use of sounds and particularly cycling sounds, to evoke the sense of remote outer space. The music of Ligeti, also well-known for its association with outer space (due in part to its use in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001, A Space Odyssey”) and also intricately elaborated structure. To give one example “Lux Aeterna” for choir. Ligeti and the Floyd’s early singer/guitarist/songwriter Syd Barrett are both dedicatees of the Galaxies. Along with Hugh Hopper, an underrated musician and composer who is perhaps best known for his magisterial compositions and bass-playing in Soft Machine during 1969-1972. All 3 dedicatees died between beginning the creation of Method Music and this release date, and I felt to honour each of them.
I realised in the mid-80s that architectural and structural interest in a slow and expansive piece of music is difficult to sustain whilst either improvising or composing, and so my using Harmonic Mathematics to sculpt the structures ensured that a thorough engagement with the conscious mind was achieved, simultaneously with a spacious breath of expressive expansion.
I had experimented with this in earlier pieces such as “Silverstream” (1985) and “Crystal Mists In Silver Air” (1991-4) (both available at http://www.meditationalmusic.net)- there is a murmuration with these pieces that can take place – engaging the mind’s language, albeit very gently, as also the simultaneous feeling of being transported out into satisfyingly remote spaces of relaxation.
Imaginary Galaxies each have a very large number of tracks (the best part of 100) and Pete Townshend has said he would love to hear one performed by an orchestra. Nos. 2 & 3 both have almost all orchestral instruments, (no.1 has more synthesised “pad” sounds as well) they are truly Cosmic Orchestral Meditations. Creating a world of impressions, deep meditative journeys across the far cosmos. Orchestral performances and recordings would be both possible and very exciting (in a meditative kind of excited way).
The construction of the 3 galaxies, from the rotating figures that slowly modify, was made by extensive experiments using a sequencer to trial numerous combinations of the rich DNA-like strands of counterpoint generated by the harmonic maths programs I wrote in the LISP language.
These pieces evolved whilst I was creating the Imaginary Sitters, which were for Pete and myself to see how the music portraits should sound, and be constructed. Creating “galaxies” of 10 segments of 2 minutes, rather than the Sitters’ 10 segments of 30 seconds each, was attractive to me, as I was grappling during that period with this composing of giant meditative spacey structures, and Pete’s enthusiasm for the galaxy pieces catapulted us into including them as part of the album, although they are really an offshoot, not a direct part, of the Lifehouse-Method project.
Method Music – the double album – is released (tomorrow), 31st January 2012 by Navona Records, available on Amazon and iTunes