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Galactic Travels Monthly Special Focus Log for 2003

January's special focus was
Link to Brannan Lane's Home Page
Click on the photo to visit the artist's web site.

Brannan Lane wants to help you to explore your dreams and stretch the boundaries of your imagination with ambient soundscapes and innerspace journeys.   He has received international recognition and his reputation continues to grow as an artist, composer and producer.

Click on the picture above to go to the artist's home page.

Date Artists Title Label
01/02 Zero Ohms and Brannan Lane Soundfall to the Infinite Space for Music
01/09 Brannan Lane and vidnaObmana Deep Unknown brannanlane.com
01/16 Brannan Lane To Earth and Back Space for Music
01/23 Brannan Lane Troposphere World Circle
01/30 Brannan Lane Hypnotic Drift brannanlane.com

February's special focus was
Link to Orbital Decay's Home Page
Click on the logo above to visit the band's web site.

Orbital Decay is a Quakertown, Pennsylvania spacemusic group.   Last year, they played on Galactic Travels and at the Soundscapes Concert Series.   This year, Orbital Decay returned to the Soundscapes Concert Series with Terry Furber (synths) and Scott Watkins (guitar).   This represents a change back to the original line-up.   Terry and Scott have twice played on WXPN's "Star's End" program to critical acclaim and have released a few CDRs together.   Their music is influenced by Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, and Klaus Schulze yet pushes the boundaries into new territory.   More information can be found at their Artist Profile.

Click on the logo above to go to the group's home page.

Date Title
02/06 Live in Concert 2-16-2002
02/13 The Key of Sea
02/20 Live on Galactic Travels 12-27-2001
02/27 Live on WXPN 8-12-2001

March's special focus was
Link to Spacecraft's Home Page
Click on the logo above to visit the band's web site.

Spacecraft was formed in 1996 after a listening session of NASA image and sound mappings from the Voyager space probe.   Founding members Tony Gerber and John Rose along with Diane Timmons formed the core of the group.   With Chris Blazen, their first record, simply titled Spacecraft, was released in 1997 on the now defunct Lektronic Soundscapes label.   As a reaction to the label's demise, Tony Gerber founded the Space for Music record label.   Spacecraft releases its CDs on this label as do many other fine groups and solo acts.   The Spacecraft discography includes at least nine CDs at the time of this writing.   The band now includes Giles Reaves and enjoys widespread airplay on Galactic Travels, Star's End, Echoes, and many other radio programs worldwide.   More information can be found at their concert review.

Click on the logo above to go to the band's home page.

Date Title Label
03/06 Spacecraft Lektronic Soundscapes
03/13 Hummel Lektronic Soundscapes
03/20 Earthtime Tapestry Lektronic Soundscapes
03/27 Summer Town Space for Music

April's special focus was
Link to vidnaObmana's Home Page
Click on the photo above to visit the artist's web site.

The Serbo-Croatian phrase "vidna obmana" means "optical illusion" which is why vidnaObmana chose it to be his musical personna.   This indicates his willingness to try new processes, sounds, and musical styles.   One of the top three most respected and prolific composers/performers in the ambient field today, vidnaObmana's internationally acclaimed atmospheric soundscapes have made him a sought after performer and collaborator.

While in town to perform an exclusively unique concert at the Soundscapes Concert Series on the 19th at the IceHouse, vidnaObmana played a radio concert at midnight on the April 17th broadcast of Galactic Travels from the WDIY studios.

More information can be found at his concert review.   vidnaObmana has been a Special Focus on Galactic Travels twice before; first in August, 1999 and again in May, 2002 (with Steve Roach).   Click on the photo above to go to the artist's home page.

Date Title Label
04/03 Act One: Echoes of Steel Hypnos
04/10 Spore Relapse
04/17 Live, In-Studio Concert n/a
04/24 The Oblique Fusion * unreleased
* with Joris De Backer

May's special focus was the
Sombient Drone Series

The Drone series of disks from the Sombient label are examples of dark ambient from a variety of artists.   Some artists are well known, others less so, but all achieve a similar effect in that the tracks they've supplied to these compilations are useful for chilling out or aiding your sleep.

Date Title Disk #
05/01 A Storm of Drones 1 - "Audio"
05/08 A Storm of Drones 2 - "Environmental"
05/15 Swarm of Drones 1
05/22 Swarm of Drones 2
05/29 A Storm of Drones 3 - "Immersion"

June's special focus was
Steve Roach
Link to Steve Roach's web site
Click on the photo above to visit the artist's web site.

Steve Roach is world renowned as a musician and producer.   Each week this month, the Featured CD at Midnight will be one of the discs in Roach's brand new four-disc box set "Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces" released on the Projekt label.   The full release is offered for a limited time as a hard-boxed set of four CDs.   Galactic Travels is one of the very few radio shows to receive the entire boxed set.   The official store release in June will include only the first two discs. Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces Boxed Set
Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces Boxed Set
Steve Roach says:   "The inspiration for Mystic Chords took hold in 1996 with the momentum continuing to build over the years, reaching its culmination in a marathon Timeroom vigil that created many new pieces and all of disc one during the first two months of 2003.   Alongside the recorded and released work of the last six years, an ongoing interconnected undercurrent of atmospheres seemed to keep pointing the way.   This project represents a deeper inquiry into the pure, non-rhythmic soundworld expressions that have always been so compelling to me.   These are the spaces I would always return home to create after completing other projects and concerts.   Structures From Silence, Quiet Music, Dreamtime Return, "To the Threshold of Silence" (World's Edge disc 2), The Dream Circle, The Magnificent Void, Streams & Currents, Darkest Before Dawn... all are part of the interconnected spirals of sound that have led me to Mystic Chords.   Subtle, complex, highly personal nonverbal epiphanies fed the process as did my responses to the current stirrings of life on this planet."  

The full Mystic Chords experience will be presented to the Galactic Travels audience.

Steve Roach has been a Special Focus on Galactic Travels a few times before:
Date Title
06/05 Mystic Chords & Sacred Spaces
06/12 Labyrinth
06/19 Recent Future
06/26 Piece of Infinity

July's special focus was
Robert Rich
Link to Robert Rich's web site
Click on the photo above to visit the artist's web site.

With over 20 albums to his name, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize.   Part of his unique sound comes from using home-made acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal tunings, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks.   Rich began building his own analog synthesizers in 1976, when he was 13 years old, and later studied for a year at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).

Rich released his first album Sunyata in 1982.   Most of his subsequent recordings came out in Europe until 1989, when Rich began a string of critically acclaimed releases for Fathom/Hearts of Space, including Rainforest (1989), Gaudí (1991), Propagation (1994) and Seven Veils (1998).   His two collaborations with Steve Roach, Strata (1990) and Soma (1992), both charted for several months in Billboard.   Other collaborations include Yearning (1995, with Lisa Moskow), Stalker (1995, with B. Lustmord) and Fissures (1997, with Alio Die.)   Rich's contributions to multi-artist compilations have been collected on his solo albums A Troubled Resting Place (1996) and Below Zero (1998).   He also records with his group, Amoeba, exploring atmospheric songcraft on their CDs Watchful (1997) and Pivot (2000).   His 3-CD live set Humidity (2000) documents the unique improvised flow of his recent performances.   Robert's 1996 concert in Allentown was the first music played on Galactic Travels.

Robert Rich has been a Special Focus on Galactic Travels before:
Date Title Artist(s) Label
07/03 Outpost Robert Rich and Ian Boddy DiN
07/10 Bestiary Robert Rich Release
07/17 Temple of the Invisible Robert Rich Soundscape
07/24 Sunyata Robert Rich Hypnos
07/31 Humidity Robert Rich Hypnos

August's special focus was
Infection Music
Link to Infection Music's web site
Click on the graphic above to visit the label's web site.

Infection Music is the label for T-Bass UK and Skin Mechanix.

T-Bass UK create modern, electronic instrumental music with an emphasis on accessibility.   As a quick description, they've been favorably compared to late eighties Tangerine Dream (the Private Music era), Vangelis, Jan Hammer and synth-pop pioneers Ultravox.   T-Bass UK was originally formed in 1994 as a vehicle for the musical ambitions of writer and journalist, David J. Hughes.   In 1997, two additional musicians, Jules C and Dave Wilson, were recruited into the band on a full time basis in order to accept invitations to perform at a number of electronic music festivals across Europe and America, starting with the Fourth EMMA Festival in Derby (UK) in May 1997.

Skin Mechanix was a short lived but prolific collaboration between T-Bass UK's David Hughes and avant-garde sound experimentalist, Skin.   In August 1999, the objective was to simply enjoy the creative process and to work with new and previously untried techniques.   The end product was a blend of dance rhythms fused with throbbing retro sequences and fiery electronic soundscapes, strong melodies and challenging arrangements,. All these elements were fused together into a magical melange, to occupy a new territory which is perhaps unique in the UK synth music scene.

Date Title Band
08/07 The Fabulous Neutrinos T-Bass UK
08/14 The Secret Life of Angels Skin Mechanix
08/21 The Infection of Time T-Bass UK
08/28 MediaEvil Infection Music Artists

September's special focus was
Link to Redshift's web site
Click on the graphic above to visit the band's web site.

Using early period Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Neu, and Kraftwerk as a starting point, Redshift's music is as hard to describe as it is to categorise. Ambient, cosmic, chill-out or whatever you choose to call it, the combination of dark ambient electronic textures, atmospheric themes and thundering bass featured on the eponymously titled debut album "Redshift" has been well received by critics and public alike.   With each current album the band are continuing to push forward the boundaries of electronic music with recordings that should please fans of the genre as well as finding a new audience for a style of music which has been largely overlooked in the current flurry of media attention for dance based music.

Formed in 1996 by Mark Shreeve, whose back catalogue features everything from top ten chart success to film scores and various solo projects.   The foundation of the band's sound comes from an arsenal of vintage analogue instruments such as the legendary Moog 3C synthesiser, of which there are only a handful in existence, combined with the latest digital technology such as samplers and synthesisers.   The result is a truly unique sound, with a warmth and depth that simply can't be found in the current crop of chart music.

Date Title Label
9/4 Ether Champagne Lake
9/11 Down Time Champagne Lake
9/18 Siren Distant Sun
9/25 Halo Distant Sun

October's special focus was
Michael Stearns
Link to Michael Stearn's web site
Click on the name or photo above to visit the band's web site.

Michael Stearns is one of the originators of a new genre of music that emerged in the '70s.   This music has been described as space music, contemporary instrumental music, new age music, and electronic music.   Its primary instrument is the synthesizer or the human as synthesizer.   Michael weaves into his music instruments and sounds from other cultures, newly developed instruments, the human voice, and the sounds of nature.

Michael has performed in many genres of music and recorded music for film, TV, radio, planetariums, and amusement parks.   All this adds up to a depth to his spacemusic that is unsurpassed.

Date Title Label
10/2 Collected Ambient and Textural Works Fathom
10/9 Collected Thematic Works Fathom
10/16 Sustaining Cylinders Groove
10/23 Plunge Groove
10/30 The Storm Spotted Peccary

November's special focus is
Vir Unis
Link to Vir Unis's web site
Click on the name or photo above to visit the band's web site.

Vir Unis has explored many forms of music through his releases and live performances as both a solo artist and in collaboration with artists such as Steve Roach, Saul Stokes, James Johnson, Ma Ja Le, and Interstitial.   This month, the Special Focus investigates the solo career of Vir Unis.

Vir Unis (John Strate-Hootman) is a sound sculptor who uses synthesis and percussion to create electronic grooves and atmospheres.   Based in a minimalist approach to creating music, he pushes his instruments to the furthest point and beyond, weaving misty psychedelic atmospheres into the perfect alchemy of sound.   Aside from music composition and recording, Vir Unis also has credits as a graphic designer for all his own solo albums, the cover artwork for Steve Roach's Midnight Moon (Projekt), Blood Machine (Steve Roach and Vir Unis/Green House Music), and the Sonic Foundry Vir Unis ACID Loop Library.   Although his discography is released on an impressive list of labels, Vir Unis also releases some of his CDs on his own In the Bubble Music label and on AtmoWorks, the label he cofounded with James Johnson.   Keeping the music and ideas fresh and evolving, Vir Unis is relentless in his search for new sounds, new grooves, and new worlds to create what he terms electro-psychedelic mind-body music.

Vir Unis has previously been the Special Focus during March, 2002.

Date Title Label
11/6 The Drift Inside Green House
11/13 Pulse n Atmo Groove
11/20 Gathering 33 Space for Music
11/27 Mercury and Plastic AtmoWorks

December's special focus is
James Johnson
Link to James Johnson's web site
Click on the name or photo above to visit the band's web site.

James Johnson has spent years exploring the sonic realms of ambient music.   He creates atmospheres that surround and unfold in a sea of timeless tones and textures.   His music can be heard on award-winning solo projects as well as on collaborative efforts and compilation discs.   A drive to mold and create new organic textures using current electronic technologies and traditional instruments is the basis of his music.

James discovered the limitless world of sound manipulation when he worked with the avant-garde sound sculpting pioneers of Illusion of Safety.   But in 1997, computers and software were introduced into his studio environment and new possibilities became evident.   Johnson began to include computer-generated sounds with more traditional forms of synthesis.

Long-form pieces created in his Zero Music studio led to recognition in the 2001 Fourth Annual New Age Voice Awards.   Success like this led to collaborations with artists such as Robert Scott Thompson, Stephen Philips and Ma Ja Le as well as concerts in Toronto (the Ambient Ping), Philadelphia (the Gathering), and Nashville (Space for Music festival).

Recently, James has been exploring the process of "designed systems" of self-generating soundfields that are filled with nuances, melody, and floating textures.   The beginnings of these explorations began to show themselves around the time of "Odyssey" and "The Butterfly Chamber."   His recent release "Echoes" is a shimmering glimpse into these ever-changing, self-generating soundfields and structures.

James Johnson has previously been the Special Focus during April, 2001.

Date Title Label
12/4 Linger AtmoWorks
12/11 Surrender Zero Music
12/18 Echoes AtmoWorks
12/25 The Butterfly Chamber Hypnos

Galactic Travels is designed to bring WDIY listeners hour-long soundscapes of electronic, ambient, and space music.
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