Perhaps best known as host of Star's End - the revered radio program of Ambient Music, or as founder of The Gatherings - Philadelphia's premiere concert series of Innovative Music, Chuck van Zyl has also been producing his own electronic works since the mid-1980s. He has played live at a variety of venues and issued numerous studio albums and concert recordings - all in service to an enduring impulse for expression. His ambitious, continuous, five-hour improvised performance at Stars Landing was the fulfillment of a years long aspiration.
The Rotunda presented this Free Admission, Real-Time, Live-Streamed recital on Sunday 4 December 2022 from 1AM-6AM (EST). Featuring a live Q&A/interview, plus the overnight performance, this special online event originated from ElectricLattéLand studio in Philadelphia (an archive of which remains available to listen/watch).
Stars Landing (293'30") presents this epic dispatch in five one hour segments. Given such range the realization Night Riders is surprisingly cohesive. Its science fiction visions and progressing restless moods encourage the audience to dream big, while an effortless warmth holds us close in every electronic moment. Having mastered the use of color, scale and composition Van Zyl skillfully shades the atmosphere with a current of sparkling exuberance, then downshifts to a looser, lighter sonic terrain. The patient and pleading unfurling of sounds yields a swirling charge of discovery. Yet it is in the creative interplay of voices, timbres and tones that we are provided with enough reasons for repeated listening.
Four of the five sections formed incrementally, steadily building along interlocking orbits of sequencer spirit. As energy rose in assemblies of Berlin-School patterns, we hear ethereal chords and spacey synth leads encouraging an outward view. Further within this remarkable nightshift a thousand dreams softly burn. Along shivering chill currents we pass the control of known forces to drift timelessly in all directions at once.
Seemingly transmitting from beyond the confines of our planet, throughout Stars Landing Chuck van Zyl opens up as he never has before. Uniquely bold and inventive his free-spirited endeavor bursts with the joy of its making. Confidently taking all Night Riders into unexpected zones this concert's vast message is shaped less by the decisive use of synthesizers than in the slow workings of intimacy and quiet influence of each listener. We were not sure where we were headed, but it felt exciting; to be together and searching for the truth of this music. Although Stars Landing cannot be called a Love Story, Love pervades its every moment - which ultimately is the more meaningful aspect of any Spacemusic adventure...
Proceeds from the sale of Stars Landing by Chuck van Zyl go to support the efforts of The Rotunda in Philadelphia.
- From the Press Release 4 December 2023