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MP3 Rob Astor - Ad Astra

The entire Gustav Holst "Planets Suite" reinvented and placed side-by-side with music inspired by those tracks as well as music that enhances Holst''s original vision.

25 MP3 Songs in this album (146:08) !
Related styles: CLASSICAL: New Age, NEW AGE: Ambient

People who are interested in Gustav Holst John Williams James Horner should consider this download.

Electronic Artist ROB ASTOR Releases Solar System Spanning Double CD Concept Album AD ASTRA Centered Around The Entire Gustav Holst “Planets Suite”

ROB ASTOR’s AD ASTRA Is The Soundtrack Of Space Exploration For The Twenty-First Century

Electronic and New Age musician Rob Astor is no stranger to composing music inspired by the future of space exploration. Three of his first six albums; MARSTROPOLIS, BEYOND MARSTROPOLIS, and RAHU; were either all, or in part, influenced by the future of humanity’s trek out into the solar system. On his latest release AD ASTRA, Rob takes the idea of a grand tour of the planets and sets it to music with a heaping dose of inspiration from early twentieth century composer Gustav Holst.

From 1914 to 1916, as World War I ravaged Europe, Gustav Holst wrote his most memorable work, his famed “Planets Suite”. Although the music was based upon astrological connotations connected to the planets rather than astronomical, every composition fits in either context. On AD ASTRA, Rob Astor not only re-imagined Holst’s work, he reinvented it. In Rob’s own words, he created “twenty-first century settings” for music that has inspired him for two decades. And then Rob did it one better. The inspiration drove him to compose several original tracks to stand side-by-side with the “Planets Suite”.

AD ASTRA opens with an original composition by Rob Astor, the three part Symphonic Rock track “Tiamat”. “The first movement is a musical take of the supernova that exploded and set into motion the creation of our sun,” Rob explains. “The second movement is the gases drifting out into space and condensing into a star. The third represents the creation of our solar system.” “Tiamat” is one of Rob’s finest compositions to date.

Serving as a musical guide to many of the strange and varied stops in our planetary system, AD ASTRA is structured to begin at the sun and progress with each planet in the order of their orbits around our central star. Instead of following the formula of the Gustav Holst “Planets Suite”, Rob Astor stops at Mercury first, the first of seven movements from Gustav Holst’s work. “Mercury - The Winged Messenger” plays at a frantic, spasmodic pace, seemingly jumping through sound channels in the same way the planet speeds through its orbit. Traditional orchestration layered with rock instruments and synthesizers is the theme throughout the entire two disc set.

The next sign post on AD ASTRA is “Venus - The Bringer Of Peace”. The complete counterpoint of “Mars - The Bringer Of War”, “Venus” is as beautiful as “Mars” is aggressive. The stunning version Rob recorded blends Classical and New Age to make the music sublime, dreamy. A second track dedicated to the planet Venus makes an appearance in the form of John Philip Sousa’s late nineteenth century “Transit Of Venus”. In it’s original form, “Transit Of Venus” is a march. Determined to include this piece of music in his collection, Rob Astor slowed the tempo down to reveal it’s waltz structure and transformed the piece into a Neo-Classical/New Age ballet.

“Instead of simply including a handful of originals inspired by the ‘Planets Suite’, I also wanted to record music I feel fits well with Holst’s work,” says Rob. “‘Transit Of Venus’ was one of those.” AD ASTRA includes the fruits of his efforts in several unexpected ways. Two pieces of music from ancient times; “Hymn To The Sun” and “The First Delphic Hymn” are woven into the rich tapestry of the album. Another centuries old composition, “Goddesses” written by John Playford in the 1600s, leads listeners along an inbound journey to “Earth - The Home Planet”.

The second of nine originals, Rob’s stop at “Earth” is much more contemporary. The music is an electric guitar ballad filled with the sounds of crashing surf, reminding us of how beautiful and unique our planet is in the overall scheme of the solar system.

Reworked Classical makes a first appearance on AD ASTRA in the form of Johann Strauss’ “On The Beautiful Blue Danube”. “This was a track I was compelled to do. It’s so closely connected to the scene in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ where the ship is docking with the space station in orbit. This piece of music makes me think of the current space program, taking the first tentative steps out of the nest. It just felt right to record it for the album.”

Taking a cue from Gustav Holst, Rob Astor attached an astrological meaning to his next original “Luna - Mirror Of The Soul”. Beginning dark and ominous, “Luna” becomes atmospheric, forward feeling and reflective. Keyboard layers create a sense of traveling through magical stardust.

Easily the center point of AD ASTRA, Rob Astor transformed Holst’s “Mars - The Bringer Of War” into a pounding juggernaut. Often called the most aggressive piece of music ever written, the level of aggression is taken up to a whole new level, one that never lets up. Much like the advance of war machines, “Mars” chugs along, crunching and grinding through remarkable electric soundscapes, reaching a hammering climax. “When it’s done, you feel like you’ve been run over, Flattened by a steamroller,” Rob says. “I have this theory that Holst was commenting on the destructive nature of war in this piece of music. ‘Mars’ represented the horror while ‘Venus’ represented the longing to escape back into a normal reality.”

Incorporating soundtrack titles into AD ASTRA, Rob Astor’s next music stop comes from John Williams. “Between Mars and Jupiter are the asteroid belts. I can’t think of a finer musical expression of the asteroids than ‘The Asteroid Field’ from ‘The Empire Strikes Back’.” Rob’s version combines the film score with a concert version pumped up by electric guitar. “‘The Asteroid Field’ is one of my most favorite pieces of music of all time. I think it fits right in.” Another John Williams composition, “The Planet Krypton”, makes an appearance early on.

Next up, the king of the planets, mighty “Jupiter - The Bringer Of Jollity”. Opening with the sound of the planet’s magnetosphere, a trick Rob Astor sprinkles throughout AD ASTRA, “Jupiter” settles into a Neo-Classical/New Age/Contemporary mix, gaining power by the clever placement of electric guitars with brass instruments. Serving as his own counterpoint to “Jupiter”, the next Rob Astor original, “Galilean Satellites”, reflects Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s four largest moons and the subsequent persecution he suffered at the hands of the church. A sense of darkness pervades the track with a deep bass section, chiming, and low keyboard parts. It makes the perfect lead-in for “Saturn - The Bringer Of Old Age” which is sleepy in its execution, making for a night filled with mysterious and troubling dreams.

Considered profane in its time, “Uranus - The Magician” takes on a persona of rough and tumble play in Rob Astor’s hands. There are moments of science fiction sounding wit and parts that sound as if two players are sizing each other up. Written for Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Mendelssohn, “Oberon Undoes The Spells” follows. “I chose this track because the moons of Uranus are all named after characters in Shakespearian plays. I was trying to find music to fill in for some of the more unusual spots in the solar system.”

One of the most inspired moments on all of Rob Astor’s AD ASTRA takes place during “Neptune - The Mystic”. The final movement of Gustav Holst’s “Planets Suite” traditionally uses a female choir fading off in the distance, something very progressive in the early 1900s. In keeping with the theme of reinventing Holst’s music, Rob chose instead to use electronic dolphin sounds with the female choir, creating a sense that life just might exist on other worlds. The effect is surreal and almost eerie.

Although music was commissioned for Pluto several years ago, the discovery of Pluto happened late in Gustav Holst’s life. He never wrote music for the new planet. Instead of using the commissioned music, Rob Astor wrote his own composition for AD ASTRA entitled “Pluto - Bringer Of Change”, again relying on the astrological context, but also reflecting Pluto’s current status of demoted planet. Because change is often difficult, the tone of “Pluto” is deep and dark, much like the far reaches of the solar system.

“Hydra”, named for one of Pluto’s two newer satellites, and the next Rob Astor original on AD ASTRA, follows. Charming the listener from the start as opposed to a snake being charmed, the music flows like a reptilian dance misunderstood before revealing itself as mystical. Then, the dance is once again engaged.

Diving deeper still into the dark, cold reaches of the solar system, Rob Astor takes the listener next to “Eris - Bringer Of Discord”. Appropriately named (Eris was the goddess of discord), this recently discovered body is larger than Pluto and the cause for Pluto’s demotion to a dwarf planet. On AD ASTRA, the title reflects not only this, but also the root cause of the Trojan War. Building up power, it’s easy to imagine Eris marching uninvited into the wedding party and dispatching the golden apple that results in a contest between three very powerful goddesses. Near the end, the track breathlessly pauses as if allowing the full consequence to sink in with nightmarish clarity, reality forever altered.

Picking up where “Neptune” leaves off, Rob Astor’s “Sedna - Inuit Mother”, is a musical tribute not only to this far flung body in the solar system, but also to the goddess herself. Opening with the choir and electronic dolphin sounds used in “Neptune”, “Sedna” feels much more like a sister track to “Neptune”, taking Gustav Holst’s vision one step further.

The final Rob Astor original on AD ASTRA, “Nibiru - Planet Of The Crossing”, comes from Sumerian mythology. “There’s a group of people who believe this is a very real object that sweeps into our solar system and creates havoc,” Rob says. “I find the concept more fascinating than anything.” Fascination is the underlying tone of the track. Completely New Age, scattered textures play on the idea of discovery rather than impending danger. It’s as if the listener has stepped beyond the boundary of our solar system and into interstellar space.

Closing on an uplifting note, AD ASTRA concludes with the wild Can-Can romp of Jacques Offenbach’s “Orpheus In The Underworld”. Placing electric guitar at the lead, Rob Astor creates another masterful fusion of Classical music with twenty-first century technology.

Gustav Holst’s “Planets Suite” had been endlessly reinterpreted. Isao Tomita created one of the more unusual settings in the 1970s. Unlike Tomita, however, Rob Astor includes every musical element of the “Planets Suite” on AD ASTRA. Rob’s originals and choice of covers only serve to enhance Holst’s music, and Rob’s vision of Holst’s music, and place the full “Planets Suite” into a brand new context. Breathtaking and refreshing, Rob Astor successfully brings Holst’s work into the modern era.

Take a musical grand tour of the solar system and pick up your copy of Rob Astor’s latest release, AD ASTRA, today!

AD ASTRA Track List

-- CD 1 --
TIAMAT (Rob Astor)
HYMN TO THE SUN (Mesomedes Of Crete, 130 C.E.)
TRANSIT OF VENUS (John Philip Sousa)
GODDESSES (John Playford)

-- CD 2 --
HYDRA (Rob Astor)

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