STAR'S END Update - 11 November 2018
Krell Music The cheapest high in Electronic Music may be had by making unstructured noise. Typically, composers who partake in this kind of exercise are asking of the listener nothing more than, "I dare you to like this" - as only the author alone can appreciate their own impenetrable musical acts. While the works found on Krell Music (119'49") may indeed pose challenges to the average music consumer, the concept enlivening this collection is of the first order - and excellently informs each and every piece with its mission.

The Krell referred to in the title of this anthology will be well-known to fans of Forbidden Planet, the beloved 1956 cult-classic of Sci-Fi cinema. As the story unfolds, we discover that The Krell were the once thriving alien race inhabiting the distant planet Altair - the only remaining evidence of their existence being their abandoned, monumental engineering achievements and equally impressive examples of art, culture, and music. Krell Music features imaginative extrapolations of the brief example "Ancient Krell Music" presented in the film's soundtrack - which was realized by EM pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron. Their music, which is heard throughout Forbidden Planet, lacks real-world references, so as to sonically represent the fantastic objects and beings discovered in the movie - yet still managed to serve conventional narrative demands. It is also credited as the first all-electronic score ever to be employed in a Hollywood film.

The reverence shown to the Barron's by generations of Electronic Musicians borders on the religious, as their amazing efforts are often thought of as the starting point of a continuing, decades-long, amazing experiment. Their early "electronic tonalities" envisioned how EM evokes notions of the exotic Other, and reset every fundamental aspect in scoring a film. This is what outer space sounded like, and still sounds like over 60 years on.

Krell Music will confound anyone with an expectation of continuity. Each track, whether imagined out of the reference scene, or absorbed in the energy of the soundtrack as a whole, is missing any conventional access point. Without discernible rhythm, consonant melody, or even a tonal base, these realizations touch something deeply primitive that lives within us all. Telling their story simply through the manipulation of sound, the contributors have come up with compositions closer to the ideals of modern abstract painting than of music. Arranging sounds without any terrestrial reference, each track transpires into a surreal, unknowable atmosphere.

The instruments used to produce this music must gave gotten a real workout - as the sounds they emit cover a wide range of imaginative sonorities. From the nightmare texture of tensile sonics and arcane modulations, to gentle lullabies and the quiet humming of The Great Machine, the 26 musicians represented here all have their own individual idea as to what the music of the Krell meant and sounded like. This group has absorbed well the film's meaning and place in history, and even more so the aesthetics of its music.

The collection of music presented here should be considered masterful. Krell Music works both as a stunning document of a fictitious lost alien civilization, and a 26 track soundtrack of unlovely, but not unloved music (for which your attention to all will be rewarded). Yet within all the clatter may be found a questing optimism. Because, as old as it is, the genre of Electronic Music is not yet done teaching us what it can do.

Please tune into STAR'S END this weekend for Krell Music, the recent anthology of Sci-Fi inspired Electronic Music

For more on Krell Music, please access:

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"Ancient Krell Music" by Louis & Bebe Barron

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Chaka Benson - Live on STAR'S END 11 November 2018
Chaka Benson Chaka Benson plays with an ear for color, motion and texture, forsaking conventional narrative clarity. It is an experience by way of the senses, rather than through pure mental interpretation. Our focus expands beyond sound, to the sources of that sound, to its imminent fragility, and a state of un-being.

It may be difficult to lose one's self in Benson's work, as its negative space is constantly asking us to make sense of it. One moment triggers the next so seamlessly that eventually chaos is re-engineered into the illusion of a natural order. Throughout these realizations, tones flicker lightly across the surface, or burrow deep into it - come into focus, or all but disappear. The gentle descent into incandescent timbres and rambling, fearsome energy has the ability to stir the imagination. Throbbing with texture, then snapping into focus, lessons on loudness, denseness and sonority, enmesh the listener in aural events that are impossible to live aloud.

An avid concert performer, Chaka Benson will make his The Gatherings Concert Series debut in an opening set for Saul Stokes on 17 November 2018.

Coinciding with this performance, Chaka Benson will play a live on-air radio concert on the 11.11.18 broadcast of STAR'S END Ambient Radio. Please tune in for details.

For more on the Chaka Benson at The Gatherings Concert Series on Saturday 17 November 2018 please access:

STAR'S END - WXPN's Archived Stream
Chuck van Zyl

Beginning with the 10.07.18 edition, an archived stream of each broadcast of STAR'S END will be available through the WXPN website. To listen anytime, please access:

The Signal: Podcast

This edition of The Signal includes notes on five 2017 releases from the Projekt Records label.
Please listen in as host Chuck van Zyl reviews:

Phase IX by Lorenzo Montana
MantraSequent by Jeffrey Koepper
Following the Ether Sun by Forrest Fang
Different Spaces by Erik Wøllo
Spiral Revelation by Steve Roach

PhaseIX MantraSequent Following the Ether Sun Different Spaces Spiral Revelation

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~ Coming Up ~ Live on STAR'S END ~

Chuck van Zyl : 15 April 2018 (see video)
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Hotel Neon : 1 July 2018 (see video)
Jason Sloan : 5 August 2018 (see video)
Chuck van Zyl : 26 August 2018 (video coming soon)
Joe Alesi & Greg Seiber : 16 September 2018 (see video)
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Chaka Benson : 11 November 2018
Saul Stokes : 18 November 2018


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