Philipp Kessler - Pulsar
Kessler is an ambient producer from Switzerland, and based on his most recent
release, “Pulsar”, he’s very interested in space and spacey sounds. In fact
each of his nine album releases are heavily space-themed, unequivocally being
named after various planets and spacey phenomena. “Pulsar”, however, is definitely the most spacey to date.
says he was influenced to make “ambient space music” largely via a video
game EVE online and the composer of said game, Jón Hallur
Haraldsson who made the soundtrack. For those who aren’t aware of this game,
the sounds and composition of “Pulsar” are sort of a marriage between Tangerine
dream and switched on Bach. They have a retro sound that might remind listeners
of, say, 2001: A Space Odyssey more than any modern work.
beat of “Pulsar” is actually done on synths with no bass or drums to speak of
for the entirety of the almost ten minute song. The “ambient space sounds”, as
Kessler likes to call them, make up both the melody and the sampling layers of the
track, and there are many sampling layers. Though the track sounds completely
random, it’s safe to assume that it was composed like a classical piece, with
each layer of sound representing an instrument, as it were. The samples pulse
in and out (hence the name?) while the main melody is trippy in its own way but
remains constant with the “beat”, a sort of chopsticks-like synth pulse. Surprisingly,
the bassline is done on the only conventional-sounding synth, a piano-like
sound. It’s quite complex and makes up a sort of counter-melody both in that it’s
a tune rather than a conventional ambient bassline and that it is played on a
more classical-sounding synth.
is both ambient and classical from a number of different angles. It also has a
scientific bent, however, and not just in the sense that Philipp Kessler likes spacey
noises. It’s crafted in quite a specific sound design format which is highly
technical, and that’s the thing that probably gives it the most space-inspired
vibe. It’s clear that while Kessler was inspired by a video game, he also has
quite a lot of technical know-how and musical training. “Pulsar” is a great
example of what can be accomplished with this technical know-how and a few fun
space synth software packs.