As with many of our dreamscapes, what became “Saturn Set” began as an exercise in imagination.
It is important to us that, along with utilizing scientific sleep research and psychoacoustic techniques that help listeners fall asleep, we create sonic environments and music that are intuitively enveloping.
It is this combination of proven sonic phenomena and aesthetic creation that drives our work: we combine the specifics of what we know scientifically with the truly endless possibilities of musical composition and sound design. “Saturn Set” is a perfect example of this process.
The concept was simple: what kind of journey could we create that would be unmistakably effective and intuitively engaging? We are certainly not alone in our wonderment of the universe and the awe of exploration. And the metaphor of the universe of the mind is one we find beautiful and inspiring.
So we began by setting a scene: what would it be like to drift among the planets of our solar system, falling asleep perched on the observation deck of a comfortable vessel, the sun setting behind Saturn as we floated calmly among its rings? And what would this imaginary journey sound like?
NASA had just recently released a trove of audio recordings from its Cassini mission. Though inspiring, most of these space recordings sound like a mix between a white noise avalanche and a microwave dance party — the frenetic stimulation of electromagnetic energy captured by 21st century technology.
So we had to find the right moments; snippets where the signals cascade and breathe, like the waves of a cosmic electromagnetic ocean.
We took these waves, and sequenced them such that, in correspondence with the decreasing tempo of the music, they would incrementally slow to a healthy breathing rate for deep sleep.
We also took tonal elements of the NASA recordings, and fed them into a sampler, creating a keyboard-like instrument out of the actual sounds of Saturn.
We then fleshed the music out with some classic Casio keyboard string harmonies, and an epic organ for the morphing ostinato movement in the lower register to compliment some synthesizer drones.
The result was something… other-worldly. Take a listen.