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The Interstellar Suite

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Album Review

Canadian composer and keyboardist Amin Bhatia created a stir within the keyboard world, and in progressive rock and new age circles with his 1987 album The Interstellar Suite. The orchestral-sounding instrumental work is like a dramatic score for a nonexistent science-fiction movie. Bhatia painstakingly created The Interstellar Suite music and sound effects solely using analog synthesizers (including a Minimoog) and a pair of crash cymbals. No samples or sound libraries were used. Occasionally, bits of space travel-themed dialog are included. But the album's development is only part of the story. The Interstellar Suite was originally released by Cinema Records, a subsidiary of Capitol Records specializing in progressive rock. Other Cinema releases included solo albums from former Camel and Van Morrison keyboardist Pete Bardens, former Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz, and Michael Hoenig. Unfortunately, Cinema was short-lived. It was a noble effort to provide a home for progressive rock, but it was a decade too late to capitalize on the genre's commercial peak. A groundswell of demand built up on the Internet over the years resulted in Bhatia, who has composed scores for many film and television projects, releasing a remastered reissue of The Interstellar Suite on his own label in 2003. The Interstellar Suite is a remarkable success both technologically and creatively. It flows well as a whole, but highlights deserving individual mention include "Overture: Introduction and March," "Launch: Mission Control and Liftoff/Jumping to the Speed of Light," "Walking in Space: Opening the Airlock/Weightless/Retrieving a Satellite," "Distress Signal: The Beacon/A Damaged Ship/The Loneliness of Space" (which is extended on the remastered reissue to include a section Bhatia always regretted editing from the original release), and "Rescue Fleet: Formation and Rescue Theme/Dive/Arrival at the Alien Fort." The remastered reissue includes a previously unreleased bonus track, "Virus," attached at the end of "Finale: Theme Reprise/March." "Virus," which includes a choir singing lyrics from a requiem Mass, is not a leftover from the original The Interstellar Suite sessions; it's a preview of Bhatia's next album. The full history of The Interstellar Suite, and links to various retail websites selling new copies of the remastered reissue, can be found at General information about Bhatia and his work is available on his official website,

Customer Reviews

The best imagined space movie

Heard Interstellar Suite on local radio many years ago, managed to tape 3/4 of it, then wore out the cassette. Bought 2 signed copies when finally released on CD. Bhatia created a synth orchestra that evokes various cues (serene space walks, pounding action cues, memorable themes) of a space movie fully imagined by the listener. Knowing how he created this very layered (originally analog) recording makes it all the more impressive.

Awesome "soundtrack!"

I remember reading about this album in Keyboard Magazine when it came out. Bought it and it blew me away. Still does, especially if you consider the equipment available at the time and Amin Bhatia's workflow. Personally, for me, as a keyboard player/synthesist, this album was almost as important as Wendy Carlos' "Switched on Bach."

Classic Synthesis

As far as I can remember the beginning march was the winner in Keyboard magazine's competition for new synthesizer music. I heard it because it was an insert in the magazine, a floppy LP if you will. Years later I heard it on KUT in Austin and couldn't believe he'd made an entire album out of it.

The only thing on this album that is not analog synthesizer are the cymbals, I remember reading that the waveforms were just too complex to create with the analog synthesizer equipment of the day. There was no digital and no sampling. Everything you hear are completely engineered sounds unique to this album.

Treat yourself. Other than Tomita, who orchestrated other's music for synthesizer, this is the best analog synthesis you will ever hear.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s

One of Canada's most imaginative composers/electronic keyboardist, Amin Bhatia has written and performed the scores for films including Iron Eagle II, Café Romeo, and the IMAX-film Gold Fever; and television shows, including Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Tales From the Crypt, and John Woo's Once a Thief. His compositions were featured during 20th anniversary celebrations at the Vancouver Planetarium in 1993. Trained at a time when synthesizers had to be played one note at a time, Bhatia has remained...
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The Interstellar Suite, Amin Bhatia
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