While visiting my sister in the Midwest in January 1984, her son (my three year old nephew) Mikey was curious about my ‘Walkman’ cassette player. I put the headphones on his little head which was playing Vangelis. About 30 seconds later, he looked up at me with these huge brown eyes full of wonder and declared “Space Do”.
I am forever grateful to Mike’s imagination as this is the best way to describe what I hear with many electronic music pieces and I mean this in the most positive manner. For years I’ve tried to visualize what “Space Do” might look like, and now I think I have something close if not in the ballpark. So this is for Michael Finnegan O’Halloran to celebrate his wonderful imagination, creativity, and his word smith talent.
In 1984, I was very fond of listening to Vangelis, Fripp and Eno, Tangerine Dream, Tomita (Holst, “The Planets”), and many other electronic music wizards. This was the decade that began with PBS broadcasting Carl Sagan’s, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”. His thesis was “we are all made of Star Stuff.”
Little did I know that in 1992, I would be working with a special team of NASA trained techs to fabricate an assembly bound for the Arecibo radio telescope. This was a special 4 million FFT based spectrum analyzer for SETI project SERENDIP III under the direction of UC Berkeley physicist Dan Werthimer. I got to build hardware to listen for ET!
I think “Space Do” is the stuff that science fiction is made of. You would get it at a hardware store when you want to create your own universe. Perhaps it comes in a can or a bottle. Spray, drip, or brush it on your canvas and voilà instant nova or nebula or some galactic ‘spacescape’.
This is certainly science fiction as what I have portrayed is somewhat astronomically challenged. Although I was thinking of a Jovian like gas giant with three moons passing its face, the proportionate sizes and relative distances of my planetoids is a bit of a stretch, obviously opting for aesthetics over science on this one.
The rotation and revolution motion might be possible had the larger moons collided with something significant in their history hence the reverse revolution. Perhaps this is not even a Jovian like background, this could be easily interpreted as a bunch of planets near a nebula. But that’s all up for grabs since this is more about atmosphere, movement, color, music, and changes.
I would also like to pay tribute to my sister Mary Lu O’Halloran for her decades work in Color Field/Stain Painting and my brother Richard Loarie for his work with Color Field Painting. Both of these artists have inspired me with this process and to study the work of the major artists that have contributed to this form: Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Paul Jenkins to name a few.
All the images in this video were created live in my studio using a homemade concoction of ingredients poured into a Pyrex oblong baking dish, shall we say, home brewed, ‘space do’. There was no CGI software used except key-frames in the video editor and a fair amount of compositing.
This entire piece was done with a few (less than 4) live raw shots with a Sony HDR-CX500v camcorder and associated tripod in my studio using tungsten lamps.
The production process created rich colorful raw shots as seen in the main back ground shot which hasn't any color correction or anything done to it other than some cropping and motion tracking.
Postproduction video editing was done with Sony Vegas Pro 10. To create these planetoid like objects I used any of the following effects: image sharpening, image softening, color correction, color inversion, cookie cutter, spherical distortion, pan/crop manipulation, key-framed track motion, and 7 cells of compositing in selective time (time stretching and compression).
I would like to thank cinematographer/composer Bill Newsinger for his pioneering work with bifurcated time and his wizardry with pan/cropping to create composites which I have found to be extremely interesting, beautiful to watch, and very inspiring.
Original Music for “Space Do” was composed and performed by Phil Loarie using a Yamaha S08 synthesizer through a Zoom G2.1u effects processor and recorded directly to the Vegas timeline. Effects included Hall Reverb and Multi Tap Delay. As many as 9 stereo tracks were created to make this final version.
Camera, editing, sound design, and original music by Phil Loarie, 2012.