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The Music of Stars

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Album Review

The Music of Stars might sound like just a meaninglessly "poetic" title, but as a matter of fact, it's merely descriptive of this strange and oddly compelling album, originally released in 2001. British composer and percussionist Morris Pert composed and recorded The Music of Stars as the first part of a loosely defined trilogy of releases sharing themes of distance and topography. The Music of Stars is quite literally a space rock album, except that instead of the sci-fi themes of Hawkwind or Pink Floyd, Pert took the amplified sound of the universe's natural background radiation as his conceptual starting point. Basically, imagine if God had tinnitus. That ever-shifting tension between a maddening tuneless drone and otherworldly, celestial harmonies is at the root of The Music of Stars. These nine lengthy pieces, each named after a different distant solar object, unfold slowly and serenely, lacking anything as conventional as melody or rhythm. What keeps The Music of Stars from being mindless new age bliss-out music is the harshly-textured, dirty edge Pert gives much of the electronics, as well as the atonality and seeming randomness of his percussion parts. (Pert plays all the instruments, electronic and acoustic, himself.) Offsetting the quiet beauty of passages like the chiming, twinkling washes of notes that flutter across "Syrma" with sudden grinding buzzes and clatters reminds the listener that no matter how beautiful the starlit night is, that light is provided by far-off violent and destructive nuclear reactions. So yeah, it's more than a little pretentious if you think about it too hard, but The Music of Stars remains an enjoyable listen.


Born: September 9, 1947 in Arbroath, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Percussionist/composer Morris Pert came out of the jazz-rock fusion era of the '70s to play music with many big-name artists and produce projects that displayed his wide range of interests beyond instrumental contemporary jazz. Born in 1947 and growing up in Arbroath, Scotland, he pursued a professional career by studying at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1969, and on a scholarship learned advanced composition and percussion at the Royal Academy in London. While attending the Academy he won...
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The Music of Stars, Morris Pert
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