January 25, 2016

Don Slepian - Sea of Bliss, 1983

Classic, extraordinarily detailed synth swirl heaven. Snowglobe music. Not too much to say about this one, except that all three of these tracks were composed over the course of two days in February of 1980 and were reworked once for the Sea of Bliss cassette release and then again in 2000 for its CD release, this time with the inclusion of "Sonic Perfume" (included here).

From Don's notes about the CD release:
Computer music was born back in 1958 in Max Mathew's sound lab, at what was then the Bell Telephone Labs research center in Murray Hill, New Jersey. From 1979 through 1981, I was “Artist In Residence” at the Labs. Most of my time then was spent working with the Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer, also known as the Alles Machine (pronounced "Alice"), named after its designer Hal Alles. The Alles Machine was disassembled in 1981, with Sea of Bliss the only full length piece of music ever realized on it. Using that machine, the three pieces that make up Sea of Bliss were composed, performed and recorded February 3–4, 1980 and released on cassette. I revised these tracks in the year 2000 for the first CD release, adding a few touches of acoustic piano. Sea of Bliss may change one's state of consciousness. People have often used it for meditation and massage. In hospitals, it has been used during labor and childbirth as a sonic analgesic. In the car it combats rush hour/traffic stress. I consider it a form of aural fragrance, or "Sonic Perfume"...Stochastic sequential permutations (the high bell tones), lots of real time algorithmic work, but who cares? It's pretty music. No sequels, no formulas. It was handmade computer music.
There's some more technical information about the recording here, as well as a nice writeup about Don's work here.

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