MP3 Rob Astor - Ad Astra
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25 MP3 Songs in this album (146:08) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: New Age, NEW AGE: Ambient
People who are interested in Gustav Holst John Williams James Horner should consider this download.
Electronic Artist ROB ASTOR Releases Solar System Spanning Double CD Concept Album AD ASTRA Centered Around The Entire Gustav Holst âPlanets Suiteâ
ROB ASTORâs AD ASTRA Is The Soundtrack Of Space Exploration For The Twenty-First Century
Electronic and New Age musician Rob Astor is no stranger to composing music inspired by the future of space exploration. Three of his first six albums; MARSTROPOLIS, BEYOND MARSTROPOLIS, and RAHU; were either all, or in part, influenced by the future of humanityâs trek out into the solar system. On his latest release AD ASTRA, Rob takes the idea of a grand tour of the planets and sets it to music with a heaping dose of inspiration from early twentieth century composer Gustav Holst.
From 1914 to 1916, as World War I ravaged Europe, Gustav Holst wrote his most memorable work, his famed âPlanets Suiteâ. Although the music was based upon astrological connotations connected to the planets rather than astronomical, every composition fits in either context. On AD ASTRA, Rob Astor not only re-imagined Holstâs work, he reinvented it. In Robâs own words, he created âtwenty-first century settingsâ for music that has inspired him for two decades. And then Rob did it one better. The inspiration drove him to compose several original tracks to stand side-by-side with the âPlanets Suiteâ.
AD ASTRA opens with an original composition by Rob Astor, the three part Symphonic Rock track âTiamatâ. âThe first movement is a musical take of the supernova that exploded and set into motion the creation of our sun,â Rob explains. âThe second movement is the gases drifting out into space and condensing into a star. The third represents the creation of our solar system.â âTiamatâ is one of Robâs finest compositions to date.
Serving as a musical guide to many of the strange and varied stops in our planetary system, AD ASTRA is structured to begin at the sun and progress with each planet in the order of their orbits around our central star. Instead of following the formula of the Gustav Holst âPlanets Suiteâ, Rob Astor stops at Mercury first, the first of seven movements from Gustav Holstâs work. âMercury - The Winged Messengerâ plays at a frantic, spasmodic pace, seemingly jumping through sound channels in the same way the planet speeds through its orbit. Traditional orchestration layered with rock instruments and synthesizers is the theme throughout the entire two disc set.
The next sign post on AD ASTRA is âVenus - The Bringer Of Peaceâ. The complete counterpoint of âMars - The Bringer Of Warâ, âVenusâ is as beautiful as âMarsâ is aggressive. The stunning version Rob recorded blends Classical and New Age to make the music sublime, dreamy. A second track dedicated to the planet Venus makes an appearance in the form of John Philip Sousaâs late nineteenth century âTransit Of Venusâ. In itâs original form, âTransit Of Venusâ is a march. Determined to include this piece of music in his collection, Rob Astor slowed the tempo down to reveal itâs waltz structure and transformed the piece into a Neo-Classical/New Age ballet.
âInstead of simply including a handful of originals inspired by the âPlanets Suiteâ, I also wanted to record music I feel fits well with Holstâs work,â says Rob. ââTransit Of Venusâ was one of those.â AD ASTRA includes the fruits of his efforts in several unexpected ways. Two pieces of music from ancient times; âHymn To The Sunâ and âThe First Delphic Hymnâ are woven into the rich tapestry of the album. Another centuries old composition, âGoddessesâ written by John Playford in the 1600s, leads listeners along an inbound journey to âEarth - The Home Planetâ.
The second of nine originals, Robâs stop at âEarthâ is much more contemporary. The music is an electric guitar ballad filled with the sounds of crashing surf, reminding us of how beautiful and unique our planet is in the overall scheme of the solar system.
Reworked Classical makes a first appearance on AD ASTRA in the form of Johann Straussâ âOn The Beautiful Blue Danubeâ. âThis was a track I was compelled to do. Itâs so closely connected to the scene in â2001: A Space Odysseyâ where the ship is docking with the space station in orbit. This piece of music makes me think of the current space program, taking the first tentative steps out of the nest. It just felt right to record it for the album.â
Taking a cue from Gustav Holst, Rob Astor attached an astrological meaning to his next original âLuna - Mirror Of The Soulâ. Beginning dark and ominous, âLunaâ becomes atmospheric, forward feeling and reflective. Keyboard layers create a sense of traveling through magical stardust.
Easily the center point of AD ASTRA, Rob Astor transformed Holstâs âMars - The Bringer Of Warâ into a pounding juggernaut. Often called the most aggressive piece of music ever written, the level of aggression is taken up to a whole new level, one that never lets up. Much like the advance of war machines, âMarsâ chugs along, crunching and grinding through remarkable electric soundscapes, reaching a hammering climax. âWhen itâs done, you feel like youâve been run over, Flattened by a steamroller,â Rob says. âI have this theory that Holst was commenting on the destructive nature of war in this piece of music. âMarsâ represented the horror while âVenusâ represented the longing to escape back into a normal reality.â
Incorporating soundtrack titles into AD ASTRA, Rob Astorâs next music stop comes from John Williams. âBetween Mars and Jupiter are the asteroid belts. I canât think of a finer musical expression of the asteroids than âThe Asteroid Fieldâ from âThe Empire Strikes Backâ.â Robâs version combines the film score with a concert version pumped up by electric guitar. ââThe Asteroid Fieldâ is one of my most favorite pieces of music of all time. I think it fits right in.â Another John Williams composition, âThe Planet Kryptonâ, makes an appearance early on.
Next up, the king of the planets, mighty âJupiter - The Bringer Of Jollityâ. Opening with the sound of the planetâs magnetosphere, a trick Rob Astor sprinkles throughout AD ASTRA, âJupiterâ settles into a Neo-Classical/New Age/Contemporary mix, gaining power by the clever placement of electric guitars with brass instruments. Serving as his own counterpoint to âJupiterâ, the next Rob Astor original, âGalilean Satellitesâ, reflects Galileoâs discovery of Jupiterâs four largest moons and the subsequent persecution he suffered at the hands of the church. A sense of darkness pervades the track with a deep bass section, chiming, and low keyboard parts. It makes the perfect lead-in for âSaturn - The Bringer Of Old Ageâ which is sleepy in its execution, making for a night filled with mysterious and troubling dreams.
Considered profane in its time, âUranus - The Magicianâ takes on a persona of rough and tumble play in Rob Astorâs hands. There are moments of science fiction sounding wit and parts that sound as if two players are sizing each other up. Written for Shakespeareâs âA Midsummer Nightâs Dreamâ by Mendelssohn, âOberon Undoes The Spellsâ follows. âI chose this track because the moons of Uranus are all named after characters in Shakespearian plays. I was trying to find music to fill in for some of the more unusual spots in the solar system.â
One of the most inspired moments on all of Rob Astorâs AD ASTRA takes place during âNeptune - The Mysticâ. The final movement of Gustav Holstâs âPlanets Suiteâ traditionally uses a female choir fading off in the distance, something very progressive in the early 1900s. In keeping with the theme of reinventing Holstâs music, Rob chose instead to use electronic dolphin sounds with the female choir, creating a sense that life just might exist on other worlds. The effect is surreal and almost eerie.
Although music was commissioned for Pluto several years ago, the discovery of Pluto happened late in Gustav Holstâs life. He never wrote music for the new planet. Instead of using the commissioned music, Rob Astor wrote his own composition for AD ASTRA entitled âPluto - Bringer Of Changeâ, again relying on the astrological context, but also reflecting Plutoâs current status of demoted planet. Because change is often difficult, the tone of âPlutoâ is deep and dark, much like the far reaches of the solar system.
âHydraâ, named for one of Plutoâs two newer satellites, and the next Rob Astor original on AD ASTRA, follows. Charming the listener from the start as opposed to a snake being charmed, the music flows like a reptilian dance misunderstood before revealing itself as mystical. Then, the dance is once again engaged.
Diving deeper still into the dark, cold reaches of the solar system, Rob Astor takes the listener next to âEris - Bringer Of Discordâ. Appropriately named (Eris was the goddess of discord), this recently discovered body is larger than Pluto and the cause for Plutoâs demotion to a dwarf planet. On AD ASTRA, the title reflects not only this, but also the root cause of the Trojan War. Building up power, itâs easy to imagine Eris marching uninvited into the wedding party and dispatching the golden apple that results in a contest between three very powerful goddesses. Near the end, the track breathlessly pauses as if allowing the full consequence to sink in with nightmarish clarity, reality forever altered.
Picking up where âNeptuneâ leaves off, Rob Astorâs âSedna - Inuit Motherâ, is a musical tribute not only to this far flung body in the solar system, but also to the goddess herself. Opening with the choir and electronic dolphin sounds used in âNeptuneâ, âSednaâ feels much more like a sister track to âNeptuneâ, taking Gustav Holstâs vision one step further.
The final Rob Astor original on AD ASTRA, âNibiru - Planet Of The Crossingâ, comes from Sumerian mythology. âThereâs a group of people who believe this is a very real object that sweeps into our solar system and creates havoc,â Rob says. âI find the concept more fascinating than anything.â Fascination is the underlying tone of the track. Completely New Age, scattered textures play on the idea of discovery rather than impending danger. Itâs as if the listener has stepped beyond the boundary of our solar system and into interstellar space.
Closing on an uplifting note, AD ASTRA concludes with the wild Can-Can romp of Jacques Offenbachâs âOrpheus In The Underworldâ. Placing electric guitar at the lead, Rob Astor creates another masterful fusion of Classical music with twenty-first century technology.
Gustav Holstâs âPlanets Suiteâ had been endlessly reinterpreted. Isao Tomita created one of the more unusual settings in the 1970s. Unlike Tomita, however, Rob Astor includes every musical element of the âPlanets Suiteâ on AD ASTRA. Robâs originals and choice of covers only serve to enhance Holstâs music, and Robâs vision of Holstâs music, and place the full âPlanets Suiteâ into a brand new context. Breathtaking and refreshing, Rob Astor successfully brings Holstâs work into the modern era.
Take a musical grand tour of the solar system and pick up your copy of Rob Astorâs latest release, AD ASTRA, today!
AD ASTRA Track List
-- CD 1 --
TIAMAT (Rob Astor)
THE PLANET KRYPTON (John Williams)
HYMN TO THE SUN (Mesomedes Of Crete, 130 C.E.)
MERCURY - THE WINGED MESSENGER (Gustav Holst)
VENUS - THE BRINGER OF PEACE (Gustav Holst)
TRANSIT OF VENUS (John Philip Sousa)
FIRST DELPHIC HYMN (130 B.C.E.)
GODDESSES (John Playford)
EARTH - THE HOME PLANET (Rob Astor)
ON THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE DANUBE (Johann Strauss)
LUNA - MIRROR OF THE SOUL (Rob Astor)
MARS - THE BRINGER OF WAR (Gustav Holst)
THE ASTEROID FIELD (John Williams)
-- CD 2 --
JUPITER - THE BRINGER OF JOLLITY (Gustav Holst)
GALILEAN SATELLITES (Rob Astor)
SATURN - THE BRINGER OF OLD AGE (Gustav Holst)
URANUS - THE MAGICIAN (Gustav Holst)
OBERON UNDOES THE SPELLS (Mendelssohn)
NEPTUNE - THE MYSTIC (Gustav Holst)
PLUTO - BRINGER OF CHANGE (Rob Astor)
HYDRA (Rob Astor)
ERIS - BRINGER OF DISCORD (Rob Astor)
SEDNA - INUIT MOTHER (Rob Astor)
NIBIRU - PLANET OF THE CROSSING (Rob Astor)
ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD (Jacques Offenbach)
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This is a solid five star set and a terrific tribute to Gustav Holst who was a composer way ahead of his time. The music Holst inspired to go sid by side with the "Planets" is like listening to an extention of the original vision. Not a single throw away in the track list!
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