Taking Flight (2009)


In the mid-2000s, I married and found I had a new resource for inspiration. When I returned to school in the latter half of the decade to learn a little more math, I discovered I could write a little music in-between classes so I set about writing a new piece, one that would be more complete than anything I had written before. Since writing “Thought Foundry,” I had accumulated a pair of new synthesizers and wanted to write something that would push one of them to the edge of its capacity. “Taking Flight” was recorded using mostly (but not quite solely) an Alesis A6 Andromeda, a truly astounding synthesizer. In the end, I pushed it hard enough that it couldn’t keep up (not enough voices — I was wondering I didn’t hear all the notes I knew were there) with everything at once, so I ended up tracking each instrument individually.
When I went to name the tracks, I asked my wife for some naming advice and ended up with some names that I think fit better than what I was using as working titles. My goal during composition was to tell the story of a character traveling from the country to the city and from there to an orbital colony.

“En[chant|trap]ment” is the beginning of the story, the journey to the Enchanted City, where people get sucked into a life of sustenance rather than beauty and plenty.

“Intrigue” reflects upon the decision to move onward: while there is always something trying to grab the attention of our wanderer, it is not truly in character.

“Core,” “Taking Time,” “Off-Track,” and “High Wire Act” collectively represent the stages of the journey from the city to the spaceport, and getting distracted along the way until realizing that the alternatives are stay and be sucked into the city permanently or go through security and make the commitment to leaving the surface.

“Golf Cart Blues”: A spaceport must be a large place, and like any modern airport, have places to stop for a festive beverage, a place to instruct the automated personal transportation (a self-driving golf cart) to stop for a few minutes to relax while not in constant motion.

“Setting Sail,” “Suborbital (Taking Flight),” and “S/F Cowboy Suite” detail the first stage of the outward journey: the lightness of leaving the world behind, the launch sequence, and passing through the low-orbit transfer station.

“Slow Boat to L5” and “Time to Reflect” are the longer journey spiraling outward towards a point in space trailing the Moon in orbit around the Earth, when our wanderer has time to consider all of what has transpired.

“Archipelago” is the end of the journey, arriving at a cluster of islands in space.

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One Comment

  1. Love this.

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