Recorded on RCA Red Seal RL 12885 and based
on the music of Prokofiev, Sibelius and John WiIIiams.
Tomita: The arrival of a UFO. A storm rages in the ocean near Bermuda - the area of mysterious
disappearances of many ships and aircraft, the dreaded Devil's Triangle. In the
midst of the storm a UFO approaches from the sky guided by an eerie signal
below the water. Sea waves and wind of white noise announce a deep note and
moving wind resonances, followed by sounds inside the nearing UFO - a computer
message is briefly transmitted over the spaceship's buzz and gentle oscillator
ripples. Strange voices talk in filtered snatches, and then the seascape
Prokofiev's 'Romeo & Juliet' Suite No. 2. The silvery twinkling lights of the UFO move closer
and the vessel descends through a failing polyphonic cluster across the stereo
field. Panned bubbling notes over sustained vibrations float into the sea's
roar, and intensified organistic sounds create one of Tomita's stunning
We gently fade into Sibelius' 'Valse Triste' with sustained string chords and layered Novatron
voices with quasi-tape reversal effect bringing a rich reverberating organ
chord that turns into a dry tremolo fade. Stereo strings wash the sound away
and the melody takes on a voice-like quality at centre, whilst high-pitched
oscillations sweep gently upwards left and right. A new sound floats in and fades
out with the other sounds.
Prokofiev: Scythian Suite - The Adoration of Veles and
Ala. At the bottom of the ocean, strange
swimming creatures emit eerie cackles round a huge pyramid structure. [From
this Tomita takes his idea of a sound system that is four dimensional.] A
super-civilised race of ancient people entombed inside have made contact with
the UFO from outer space. Bells and high-pitched glockenspiel notes jump onto
Prokofievs music, and brass interjections lead to a swirling ritualistic theme
with its electronic adulation and grandeur increased by synthesised timpani and
strings. The organ takes over amidst the slow bubbling and continued noise
swirls to repeat ring modulated chords that sink into the Deep.
The typical filtered Moog sound used by Tomita calls out
over slow moving parallel augmented 4ths and a happy conversation begins
between visitors and pyramid people. Strings bounce their ideas about and the
music takes on a more concerned tone, with moving bass notes and a repeating
4-note motive using triangle wave with portamento.
The 'Adoration' theme is reflected on briefly and as
sequences gently flow, two rich brass notes close the conversations on interesting
ring modulated failing harmonies. A peaceful calm is felt as we wait for the
space creatures to enter the pyramid.
John Williams: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A fantastic sustained crescendo transmits the visitors through a huge beam of fluorescent light to the pyramid entrance. Vibrations surround them and suddenly John Williams' recognisable theme: C'-D'- Bb'-Bb-F communicates, first by a filtered 'wah' piano sound, echoed by snorts from the UFO, and then the space creatures tiny vocoded snatches.
The pitch moves to A-B-G-G-D and the snorts jokingly pick
Debussy's 'Golliwogs Cake-Walk' amidst laughs, before dropping pitch back to
Greetings over, polyglides upwards create a sensuous start
for a portamento-treated whistling triangle wave melody, bringing Prokofiev's
Symphony No. 5 (Second Movement). Organ
chords establish a climax and tremolo fade again that's exchanged for choral
sounds. Three percussive chords announce a bright lively theme as the space
children step into the underground pyramid - the kingdom of Agharta. Use of
slow 'Leslie' rotation gives a nice movement to the counterpoint, and oboe,
brass and strings are synthesised imaginatively. Percussion and brass punch at
the rhythmic ideas and voices echo in friendly discussion.
Great depth is effected by careful choice of individual dry
and increasingly reverberated melodic lines, as well as exciting dynamic
Back come the percussive chord taps and a slowing of tempo
for a grand organ theme played ff. Fast
computerised note runs swirl left and right as a brass melody is heard. Strings
take their turn and as the music literally bounces quickly along, a tight,
reedy solo with tambourine accompaniment leads to more involved counterpoint
and a bell/voice sounds fade on each side in stereo.
Tomita provides his
own impressionistic music (entitled 'Dororo') that recapitulates the 'Encounters' theme, with
whistling sounds and sustained bass following. A beautiful brass fanfare (with
pitch fall during EG release) echoes at different positions over a slow phased
string note cluster, deep bass, and twinkling 'lights' of the spaceship as it
takes both visitors and pyramid people on a grand tour of the Earth. Out of the
depths it rises, hovering above the blue green ice cold waves.
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 (First Movement -
Andantino). The atmosphere of the sea sets
the background for a favourite Tomita sound, the filtered triangle wave with a
touch of portamento, and high harmonic arpeggios bubble downwards. Other sounds
join in to create a superbly graceful image of the UFO flying over the ocean,
climbing higher and higher towards the upper regions.
An interesting melody with trills takes us to the clouds as
dawn breaks over the Triangle. Strings and chorus float us through the
stratosphere as a horn plays Prokofiev's Symphony No. 6 (First Movement) theme.
The space visitors view the distant earth with captivation
and wonder, and flute-like melodies echo mysterious electric waves in
anticipation of a computer communication. [Here is the second coded output that
is a message programmed with a Tarbel System computer.]
Failing flute sounds herald a deep modulated bell timbre.
Strings immediately lift the music along as the cylinder containing the coded
data is ejected into the earth's atmosphere and spins downwards, dazzling in
the Sun's rays, until it finally impacts itself in Tunguska, Siberia.
A rallentando has whistling, bubbling strings and a strong
bass tuba melody. Arpeggios lead into a swirling panned high pitched
accompaniment for bass tuba and whistle in counterpoint. Voices and piano
chords call out from different parts of the globe (across the stereo field)
while phased sounds predominate. A rich melodic line on strings arid voices
leads to a sudden explosion as the cylinder crashes into the Siberian tundra. A
second explosion follows as it sends up a fantastic display of flares to signal
its position. Phased music sweeps the UFO on its journey around the Earth,
gathering information for both visitors and pyramid people.
Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 (Third Movement) takes us inside the spaceship where celebrations at
the cylinder's landing have taken place, and a plaintiff horn melody has
pizzicato bass and distant sounds that eventually become choral. Tomita
contributes some composing again, with echoed transposer/harmoniser short notes
that bring a UFO 'horn' melody reverberating heavily, then a whistling synth
represents the space children's voices accompanied by the harps of the ancient
The soundscape provides another of Tomita's enchanting
musical images that dances with the movements of the spaceship. A central synthesiser
melody passes to strident organ tones and back. Fast microcomposer runs bring
in the voice/whistle, whilst strings enter to accompany as well. The music
reaches a peak and soon it will be time for the space visitors to leave. The
UFO 'horn' blasts its farewell notes again, making its strong counterpoint with
strings and glockenspiel. Tomita: Departure of the UFO/Prokofiev: Scythian
Suite. Amidst central whistling synth
melody arid stereo arpeggio transpositions. a slow sine modulated note and
string passages take the ancient people back safely to their pyramid kingdom.
The surging of the sea below the UFO is gradually diminished
by the growing power of the spacecraft, as it finally soars upwards. A huge
whirling, bubbling cluster of notes is rotated inside the craft. rising higher
and higher into space - towards the 1448 Nebular Group of the Bootes. From deep
in the ocean comes strange transmitted cackles of farewell. Floating in
hyperspace, the gentle vocal /orchestral fantasy diminuendos to a last whispered
message as Yamamoto's vocoder treated noise slowly echoes its ciphers away...
Equipment used for Bermuda Triangle
Moog Ill p
Moog System 55
Scale Programmer 950-B
Bode Ring Modulator 6401
Bode Frequency Shifter 1630
Stereo Phaser PH-830
Roland Micro Composer MC-8
2 Victor SEA-7070
Roland GE 820
MIXERS Quad/Eight Compumix (24 ch)
3 TEAC Model 1 (8 ch)
5 TEAC Model 3 (8 ch)
Ampex MM-1 100 (16 tracks)
Ampex AG-440 (4 tracks)
TEAC 90-16 (16 tracks)
2 TEAC 80-8 (8 tracks)
TEAC A 3340S (4 tracks)
TEAC 704OGSI (2 tracks)
Sony TC-9040 (4 tracks)
NOISE REDUCTION SYSTEMS
4 TEAC DX-8
AKG BX20E Echo Unit
AKG 13X10 Echo Unit
Roland RV-800 Stereo Reverb
Binson Echorec 2
Roland Space Echo RE 201
Eventide Clockworks "Instant Phaser"
Eventide Clockworks "Instant Flanger"
Fender 'Dimention IV'
Fender Electronic Piano
Hohner Clavinet C
Leslie Speaker Model 147
E&MM (Electronics and Music Maker) magazine, February 1983
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