The orchestral textures on this recording are a complex blend of synthesizers. As a gesture of respect to orchestras throughout the world I did not digitally sample any acoustic instruments or performers.
- Overture: Introduction And March [2:38]
- The Ship: Main Theme [2:46]
- Launch: Mission Control And Liftoff / Jumping To The Speed Of Light [4:26]
- Walking In Space: Opening The Airlock / Weightless / Retrieving A Satellite [5:52]
- Hostility: Intruder Alert / The Attack [6:30]
- Distress Signal: The Beacon / A Damaged Ship / The Loneliness Of Space [5:48]
- Rescue Fleet: Formation And Rescue Theme / Dive / Arrival At The Alien Fort [5:56]
- Battle: Planning The Attack / Return Fire / The Last Missile [4:36]
- Finale: Theme Reprise / March [3:20]
Amin Bhatia originally wanted to work with an orchestra but couldn't find space for them in his basement, so he settled for synthesizers instead. Before the advent of midi, synthesizers played one note at a time, and Bhatia simulated luscious orchestral music on a four-track recorder and a Minimoog.
In 1981, Amin submitted his unusual sci-fi sounding orchestral work for a synthesizer competition sponsored by Roland and won first prize out of 500 entrants worldwide. The judges included Oscar Peterson, synth veterans Robert Moog and Ralph Dyck, and Japanese artist Isao Tomita. The resulting exposure launched Bhatia's music career, leading to projects with David Foster, Steve Porcaro, and a solo album on Capitol records’ Cinema label titled "Interstellar Suite".
A small run of "The Interstellar Suite" was distributed worldwide in 1987 moments before the Cinema label closed its doors. The popularity of "The Interstellar Suite", however, has continued to grow on its own.
Many things made this recording unique: One was its lush orchestral stylings attributed to Amin’s love of Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams film scores. Another unique element was Amin's insistence on using analog synthesizers in a world where everyone else had gone digital. Rather than join the trend of sampling and abusing orchestral phrases, Amin combined and layered hundreds of electronic parts to achieve a warm orchestral sound that was not stolen from an orchestra. To this day Amin still gets requests from listeners and programmers asking for the orchestral sample libraries used. He has a hard time convincing them that it was all him.
The orchestral textures and sound effects in The Intersteller Suite were created using analog synthesizers: Roland JX 10; Yamaha TX 816; Oberheim Expander; one pair of crash cymbals; and one Minimoog. No samplers or sound libraries were used.
Extended information can be found on the website: www.interstellarsuite.com
2004. Press information
When I first heard ‘The Interstellar Suite’ back in 1987, I just could not believe my ears. I love symphonic film music, I love space music, I love science and I love keyboard wizards. It all comes together on this classic album. Amin Bhatia is renowned for his work as a composer of film music (like ‘Iron Eagle’) and his proficiency with musical equipment.
‘The Interstellar Suite’ has been described as a kind of follow-up to ‘TRON’ or a soundtrack for a future ‘Star Wars’ movie. I could not agree more. The album was released on the Cinema label, a division of Capitol, which has also released works by the likes of Patrick Moraz, Michael Hoenig and Pete Bardens, but it has not been available for long. Now I have the remastered version before me, which features several extended tracks as well as a new booklet with lots of information. As a kind of gesture to the orchestra, Bhatia didn’t take any samples of symphonic instruments to create his classical sound but used emulations synthesized by instruments like the Roland JX10 and Yamaha TX816 instead. Because of this, his music is reminiscent of albums like ‘Cords’, ‘Audion’ and ‘The Jupiter Menace’ by Synergy, ‘Digital Moonscapes’ by Wendy Carlos and the works of Isao Tomita.
The album as a whole is structured like a symphony, with recurring themes and marches. These are accompanied by space sounds and voices from space missions. Some of these tracks are absolutely brilliant, like ‘The Ship: Main Theme’ and ‘Launch: Mission Control And Liftoff/Weightless/Retrieving A Satellite’, which Tomita himself couldn’t have done better, and the romantic ‘Distress Signal: The Beacon/A Damaged Ship/The Loneliness Of Space’, which is an extended version of the original piece.
Near the end of ‘Finale: Theme Reprise/March’ a fascinating new (or newer) choral section was added, which could have been a part from one of the soundtracks to the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy or - again - the next ‘Star Wars’ movie.
I for one hope there will be a follow-up to ‘The Interstellar Suite’.
2004. Paul Rijkens / E-dition magazine, April 2004, 5 STARS