Hello there! Today marks the release of "Space 2," so I thought I'd write down some release notes to go alongside it.
1. Jupiter 2. Saturn 3. Uranus 4. Neptune
... and of course,
Space 2 is (obviously) the sequel to Space 1, thus completing my "Space" series within Atlas. Just like the Darkness and Light EPs were envisioned to be two halves of one “album,” Space 1 and 2 were meant to compliment one another as well; Two sides of the same record, which I'm calling Space. (duh)
While I was writing its sibling EP, Space 1, I found myself constantly immersing myself in all things Space as I wrote. For Space 2, the obsession continued- constantly glued to my telescope, constantly watching space-related tv and films. I had endless conversations with smarter people than myself too - all in an effort to gather up the tiny pieces we know about our gorgeous Solar System.
I truly had a wonderful time writing these songs. Our universe is stunning in every way imaginable.
SHARON GERBER (played Cellos on "Saturn”) - Sharon is a brand-new friend of mine. We met just last month in Atlanta, where she played Cello for me for the first time at a conference. She’s such a sweet soul and it pours out through her incredible Cello playing! After hearing her first note at the show, I knew I just had to invite her to be a guest ASAP on Atlas, so when I was writing “Saturn,” it just made perfect sense. Her recordings are so lovely and add so much depth to this song! Please check out her solo music, Celloasis! - It’s absolutely stunning!!
I wrote this song from the perspective of Galileo Galilei, who discovered Jupiter’s 4 Moons, which are consequently named the "Gailelean Moons." The song is divided into 4 parts, representing each of the moon’s Mr. Galileo discovered. If you listen close, you’ll hear some radio static that NASA recorded of Jupiter’s unique storm systems. Because Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, it's an awful lot of planet to explore - so as I wrote this song, I tried to have it constantly progressing into new territory.
I liked the idea of following Jupiter with a song perhaps written from Galileo’s children perspective. It’s very much a song about losing someone close and deeply loved, but it’s about the good they left behind in our lives and how to reflect that in your relationships in front of you. The collection of Cellos on this song were played by Sharon Gerber. Saturn is of course our most photogenic planet, with it's gorgeous rings, so musically I aimed as best I could to write something worthy of such good looks. I held the word "beautiful" as a measuring stick constantly as I wrote the music, asking myself "is this beautiful.. enough?" This is of course an impossible task, but I had fun with the challenge.
I have to admit, it took my a while to figure out how to approach this oddly named planet. Ultimately I decided that the only way to avoid 10 year old humorous connections to the lyrics, was to make it an instrumental. So I stared at images of the planet and watched as much as I could, learning about this planet. Like all of these Space songs, I tried to write a score for the planet. Its own little anthem. I learned a ton about the weather patterns of the planet - which I let inform the instrumentation. Some serious storms going on up there! So I tried to write this in a very serious, almost brooding tone.
Named after the god of the sea, I wrote this one with the Sea in my mind. Foreshadowing the upcoming “Oceans” EP. Neptune, the planet, is considered an Ice Giant - so I tried to use as many cold and wet sounding instruments as I could. (You can even hear some sampled melting Ice and snow in parts of this one!) This one was a really fun one to put together - though it’s a challenging story, being helplessly lost at sea. Inspired a bit by the film Gravity and All is Lost.
I knew right away when I was sorting out the ideas for Atlas, that on the Space EPs, Pluto had to be a part! So I made it a “bonus” track! It’s not really written from the perspective of Pluto, per say, but I liked the ideas of writing a song about the emotions that we human’s could assign to this lonely, demoted planet. It turned out to be a very personal song for me, though I consider it to be the most “fun” of the bunch.
As with all of the Atlas songs, I’ll be writing more detailed stories behind each song in the coming months! In the meantime though, I’ll be working hard on “Land” and “Oceans,” the remaining EPs for this Atlas Year!
Completing the Space-themed music for Atlas is bittersweet. I feel so grateful to have had a few months to dive in so deep and it feels amazing to reach the finish line and move onto new themes, BUT I will miss calling all of the hours I spend watching amazing Space documentaries and movies "research."
I truly had a wonderful time writing these songs. Our universe is stunning in every way imaginable. Thank you for giving me your ears to explore this stuff with you. It means so much to me!
Love, Ryan - Sleeping At Last