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Aurora: Jazz? Fusion? Prog? Electronica?

posted Jan 22, 2011, 2:56 PM by Ron Charron   [ updated Jan 23, 2011, 7:16 PM ]

 During the course of releasing the Aurora album, one really big problem I have been facing is to pin down what kind of music best describes the music on the album.  With the amazing proliferation of musical genres which can be found today, it really isn't an easy task!
I can say with certainty that, from all of the listening of their music throughout the years, there are a few artists that been very influential to the kind of music I produced for this album. It is my intent to share with you a few of these in this article, so that, should you be the more interested listener, you might find a bit of a musical background to the album.


Tangerine Dream

  This group, pioneered by Edgar Froese in 1967, has gone through very significant musical evolutions throughout its history. The earlier material, qualified as "Berlin School" is characteristic of what has been known as "space music" . The mid-years, '80s and '90s, saw more powerful musical equipment emerge, and I think that this is what, in part, led to some of the changes in the music. The original synths used had little sequencing capabilities, and recording multi-track arrangements was a big chores.  Modular synthesizers can take quite a long time before the artist can get the sound he wants and with finite equipment around, there are a limited number of voices that can be available for production. The '80s and '90s saw a phenomenal growth in control capability for synthesizers. The keyboards and modules themselves started providing better sequencers and with the introduction of MIDI, control became automatable.  But one characteristic has always been present, synth-driven arpeggios and this was an important characteristic which could be found in the music of many of the artists in the emerging world of electronic music.

Jan Hammer

He is best known for his work on the score of the popular 80s TV series "Miami Vice".  He had previously played keyboards for such amazing Jazz Fusion ensembles as the Mahavishnu Orchestra. If  you listen to the tracks of his 80s work. 

Jean-Michel Jarre

Made famous for his Equinoxe album, and the piece called Oxygene, Jean-Michel Jarre was also instrumental in popular acceptance of synthesizers in musical compositions. With 8o million copies of albums and singles sold, there is no doubt as to the size of the impact of his contribution. His compositions were highly melodic, leading to the validation that synthesizers could be used in the creation of what a broader number could call "music", as opposed to "noise" which was (and may still is) the opinion of many.

Vangelis

Birthname Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, or artist name Vangelis, may be best known for the score of the film "Chariots of Fire". I remember him primarily for the amazing experience I had when I first listened to Albedo 0.39. If you haven't heard this album, I strongly invite you to seek it out. Of course, it may very well not sound as groundbreaking today, but considering that it sounds like it might have come out this year, despite being published in 1976 is a tribute to this visionary musician. Here is, like Jan Hammer, another musician who had progressive or fusion jazz as a background. This is immediately apparent in his earlier Heaven and Hell album.

Larry Fast and Synergy

There are more influences to be found in the Sequential Dream Aurora album, perhaps a bit of Larry Fast, an amazing electronic musician that totally blew me away in 1975 with his release of  Synergy Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra.  He may be better known for his work in providing many of the amazing sounding synthesizers in Peter Gabriel's earlier solo work.

Well, I hope this gave you an idea of some of that background music that has impregnated that part of my musical brain which has contributed to composing the Aurora album.  So, have I answered the question as to what genre I can use to label the Sequential Dreams Aurora album? When I listen to contemporary electronic music, I find that its hard to find a fit. It isn't classical, and if there might be little short moments that have a bit of rock to them, I will need to consider somehow that the broader term of Jazz might be suitable, though clearly not classical jazz by any stretch of the imagination!   Electro-Fusion maybe?   What an interestingly diverse our musical world has become!!

Ron Charron
Composer and producer of Sequential Dreams, Aurora Album


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