Sure, NASA’s Voyager Golden Record time capsule was really great and all. Everyone can rest easy knowing that an alien race will someday recover those probes and rock out to Laurie Spiegel, Kesarbai Kerkar, and some primo Gamelan sessions on their ∅-grav turntable setups. But I advocate that we take this gesture to the next level: a living, breathing musical ambassador, rocketed spaceward on a mission of interstellar cultural exchange.
“For his many years of commitment to the art of cosmic synthesis, and his endless stream of dope tape and vinyl releases, the NASA Fine Arts Committee has unanimously selected Mr. Daryl Groetsch (a.k.a. Pulse Emitter) to represent humankind on a musical pilgrimage into the unknown.” Montage: the last beads of sunlight through the front windows during Groetsch’s farewell show at Little Axe; he sets up his intricate rig of modular and vintage synths, arpeggiators, and sequencing elements in the designated instrument area of the shuttle’s bridge; NASA staff raise flutes of champagne as Groetsch shakes hands with John Serrie and JD Emmanuel in the loading bay, “A few decades ago, we would be right up there with ya. Knock ‘em dead, kid;” 10-9-8-etc. →> Blast Off.
Groetsch sets up the patch to play “Enceladus” just as the shuttle streaks by Saturn’s sixth largest moon. The composition’s steady bass sequences unfold against bursts of delay-smeared melody and chiming high-frequency blips — all of which register immediately on the sound sensors of extra-terrestrial scouts at the edge of the solar system.
Transcript of the subsequent alien conversation:
∴ “Rarely have I heard such harmonic sophistication in the context of what these humans call ‘synth drone.’”
∝ “Certainly, and have you noticed how the tones of each synth voice continually fluctuate across time in an organic system of interlocking motifs?”
≡ “I’m astounded by the interaction of diverse textures: flat, 3D, warm, squelchy, bulbous, muted.”
‡ “Should we engage?”
⊄ “Let’s leave him for now and see what he comes up with next.”
Back on the shuttle bridge, Groetsch transcribes an idea to paper for a new composition. The dark side of Saturn looms large in the central viewfinder for a few moments before receding into the black void of cosmos.
Crater Lake, Pulse Emitter’s stunning new full-length album, arrives November 12 on LP and CD via Immune Recordings. It’s available for preorder now.