We are pleased to announce the release of SOTU ... or 'sounds of the universe'.
As you may know, NASA and other international
space agencies have been recording radio, light, gamma, gravitational and other waves in
the universe for several decades which they have converted into audio so that we mere
earthlings can hear the 'sounds of the universe'. And it's beguiling and intriguing stuff
- the sort of thing you might expect on an album of abstract electronica or a 'new age' or
'chill out' album. Rich and dense soundscapes of evolving textures that are quite
startling to hear.
I contacted NASA some time ago with a view to licensing some
of these sounds but they weren't interested so I decided to recreate them here myself. By
carefully analysing the sounds, I used the Synthesizers.com modular system here at HS
Towers to produce them.
Each sound typically comprises a low frequency
element, mid range content and then higher frequency blips and bleeps and these phase and
swirl, chatter and crackle and warble. Those elements were created on the Dotcom with pink
and low frequency noise and rumbles, noise modulated voltage controlled oscillators and
filters through ring modulators the Q130 Clipper/Rectifier, through the DotCom Q127 Fixed
Filter Bank, Q107 bandpass and notch reject filters, the Q150 Moog Ladder Filter and the
wonderfully characteristic and very non-linear Suit&Tie Guy VCS3 clone 'Sea Devil'
18dB/8ve lowpass filter/resonator with all its quirks and distortions and with me
'playing' the panel in real-time as the samples were recorded. These elements (many as
long as three minutes) were then further manipulated in DSP-Quattro and then multi-tracked
to form what I call 'composites' - rich and dense and constantly evolving and blended into
But I thought it would be handy for you good people to be
able to mix and match various elements so other samples were created - blips and bleeps
and bloops, wind sounds, ring mod drones, crackling static noises and so on and using an
advanced 'serendipity' button, we made SOTU so that you can generate the sounds of the
universe with a single mouse click. But we made it (well, Mario, the resident
scriptmeister here at HS Towers made it) so that the random selection is quite
intelligent. There are four elements or layers and the 'Mandaloria Scope' centre screen
selects one of each...
We added some filters for controlling overall tone,
an ADSR for shaping the sound, a stereo width expander, some FM (to reproduce chatter/bad
reception) and a comprehensive chain of multi effects of chorus, flange or phaser into
convolution reverb with custom sound designed impulses and then - unusually - into echo.
This was a trick used by Japanese synth master and the undisputed king of 'space music',
Isao Tomita, to create a dense wash of sound that could have come from some massive
celestial cathedral on a planet in a distant galaxy.
But we also thought that
you'd like some control over the four layers so we bolted on an edit panel...
Not only does this give control of level, pan
and tuning but each channel also has simple low and high pass filters and an amplitude LFO
to create evolving crossfades.AUDIO DEMO
This is not an instrument for funky
basslines, searing leadlines, smooth pads or the usual fodder - it is a 'texture
synthesiser' for creating rich and dense soundscapes ('spacescapes'). That's not to say
that it is exclusively reserved for lentil eating and be-sandalled weird beards making odd
music - it could be just the ticket (even a 'must have') for film and TV soundtrack work
as well as other musical genres.
SOTU is available now for a trifling fifteen
of her majesty's pounds.DETAILSThis WILL work with the free Kontakt
player but it will only play in 'Demo Mode' and will time out after 15 minutes or
so. The full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher is required/recommended. Please be
aware of this before ordering.
/ Music Lab Machines