Time for another installment diving deep into the music of A CHRONICLE OF MIDNIGHTS. Today we get into CASSINI’S FALL (track #8).
The premise of the song is based on an interview I heard once with Stephen Hawking in which he emphasized the importance of humans getting off of this rock if they want to survive as a species. Around the same time I saw this interview, NASA’s Cassini Space Probe was reaching the end of its journey, crashing through the gaseous layers of Saturn after a decade-plus journey through our galaxy capturing images and data from several planetary systems. Something about the probe’s demise made me think of how we have to some degree given up on space exploration for exploration’s sake. Things have gone all commercial with SpaceX and others seemingly more interested in launching satellites and commercial payloads rather than reaching out into the cosmos looking for answers.
I know there are other exploratory missions in the works, but something about Cassini’s Fall registered with me. A period on the tarnishing golden age of space exploration. The song warns that as we stray from this mission, we put the future of the species in peril.
It’s a matter of space beyond Tranquility Base
We need a place to go…
The music is two different production ideas. It begins with a sound that is actually a NASA recording of Saturn’s radio emissions, captured by Cassini. The front two-thirds of the song are retro electronic. If you know me, you may find yourself recalling the sounds of Some People’s Children, my first real band from the late 1980s. This song in many ways is a sonic tribute to that sound and my bandmates from that era. I am sure they are getting a kick out of some of the production touches.
As the song progresses, it reaches this transition. It is created with some synth sweeps and some crazy bass guitar as it makes its entrance. This is coupled with a pair of field recordings, most notably a stereo recording I made of a MD-80 as it passed overhead coming into to land at KFLL. Here it is alone:
After the transition, we are in the back end of the song, an instrumental section that dumps the drum machine and synth bass for live drums and bass guitar. It feels Duran Duran here to me, which is fitting.
Vocals include more nods to SPC:
Run with the children, we can ride with the children…
Blasting down through the atmosphere of Saturn with a vocoder, reintroducing an earlier production theme on the album form EMINENT GRACE. Finally resolving back into the sound that began the track.
I had a lot of fun making this track. During the process, I couldn’t help but think of my friends Tip, Tim and Enrique and those formation years. This one’s for them…