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Interview

Ascendant p2

Chris Bryant and Don Tyler from ambience group Ascendant talk about writing music to a theme or concept…

READERSVOICE.COM: Particle Horizon, the final album in the Source Trilogy, has a nice intense pace in many songs, as well as interesting melodies and tasteful sounds, matching the theme of photons rushing through the eternal night to the dawn of the Age of Acceleration. Do you always have a theme or overarching idea before you compose a song, or what is your modus operandi in composing songs?

DON TYLER: There is always a theme behind the music. Our material is conceptual and we always start with a concept, and then move into the sound & vision of any given album or single. It goes back to that feeling mentioned earlier, and capturing that.

CHRIS BRYANT: On a conceptual level, Particle Horizon was one of our easiest albums to make. We had a very clear idea of where we were going. On a technical level, each album presents us with challenges we don’t foresee until we actually get there. As technology evolves, so do our tools for creating music. We are both very much invested in our creative process from a technical standpoint and are constantly working together to create the best workflow between us. We live 600 miles apart, but the connection we share and our combined vision is seamless.

RV: Was the song Liquid Memory from the Meridian album a reference to the memoir of the same name? What other books have played a role in songs on your albums?

DON TYLER: I like a nice glass of wine, but it’s not from that memoir. I’m an avid reader however, and there are many literary references in our work. I won’t give any away here, but if you read science fiction, classic & modern, they’re not hard to spot. From Asimov, Bradbury & Clarke through to Asher, Banks & Reynolds – and everything in between. It’s all part of the fabric of our universe.

CHRIS BRYANT: Like I said earlier, I’m a huge fan of astrology (hence the name “Ascendant” which comes from your easternmost rising zodiac sign at birth – a.k.a. the persona you project to the world), and draw tons of inspiration from the transits of planets and galactic astrology. I’ve always been into science fiction and have never wavered in my love for the cosmos, be it in literary, motion pictures, or other forms of media such as video games. I love space!

RV: Which books or general reading, whether scientific, astrophysics, esoteric, religious, or fiction, fed into the themes like the origin of life on the Source Trilogy of albums?

DON TYLER: All of the above. The Source Trilogy is all about creating our own cosmic mythos based on the science of the known universe, from the big bang out through to the particle horizon, filtered by our own intuition and recognition of the recurring patterns of the universe.
All this science and theory is in turn informed by our own intuition. I come maybe from a more esoteric background, and Chris is informed by astrology (and that’s a great combination already) and then that all gets filtered through our own empiric observations and individual influences. Soon after we began working together, we realized that we were creating and exploring our own cosmic mythos with Ascendant. Our own interpretation of the universe.

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