Album Review

Spiegel, Laurie – “Harmonices Mundi ” – [Table of the Elements]

Max Level   5/28/2006   12-inch, A Library

Interesting stuff from 1977. An array of tones rise and fall in pitch, each according to its own timing and pattern, to create a 21-minute space-drone full of cold, tense beauty. Background info: the ancient Greeks perceived a form of music in the orbit paths of the planets in our solar system, calling the situation “the harmony of the spheres”. 1970s computer technology made it possible to generate actual musical tones based on those patterns and their relationships. At that time, electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel was commissioned to produce this work. Once produced, the piece was included in the audio material aboard the Voyager II spacecraft, which continues to explore Deep Space. From what I understand, this 12″ is the first-ever commercial release of that piece. While not immediately recognizable as “music”, the work does succeed in suggesting large degrees of activity and movement in the cosmos.

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