Travis Thatcher is the technical director for the Virginia Center of Computer Music at the University of Virginia. In addition, he designs and builds the Voice of Saturn line of synthesizer modules and effects, as well as helming a music project by the same name. On July 14th Thatcher will release his debut LP Shapeshifter via Atlanta’s synthwave label DKA Records.
“Ionoco” is the first single from the upcoming album and it opens deep in space where a plucked bass pattern slowly gains traction in the blackness. Soon though the mood changes as celestial organ tones lend a stellar grandeur, and the track slowly gains altitude in this mostly beatless ambiance before a single kick drum joins to mark time. Following this upward drift, though, “Ionoco” blasts off for stellar realms with a propulsive drum pattern and soaring melody.
Stream the track below and check out Shapeshifter‘s back story–a Kraftwerk-inspired tale about cosmic pals Ralf and Florian. With their tub of Neapolitan ice cream packed and the interplanetary stretch capsule loaded, these dudes are road tripping to Rigel VII, and you can join them for the ride…
Listen to Voice Of Saturn’s Track “Ionoco”
Ralf and Florian were going to make a day of it. They packed up some of that Neapolitan ice cream for a snack and their interplanetary stretch capsule climbed toward the stars.
After a few minutes, gaining their bearings in the cold expanses of space, Florian flipped a switch just above the navigational console; a regular synth hum was expelled, slowly mounting some peak that mirrored their capsule’s trajectory through the cosmos. Neither felt the need to speak, instead allowing the darkness outside to roll past, as the music shifted into something a bit more sinister. Pop inklings pushed through the regularity of those synthetic rhythms, at times defying the playfulness of whatever melody the whole thing was built around.
Somehow, Ralf and Florian hit traffic. It wasn’t totally unheard of, just a surprise – and something that possibly would postpone a few moments of enjoyment from their day. An interstellar crackup lay ahead, lightbikes being pulled apart after a gnarly collision. The two looked at each other and then back out at the unfolding solar system. A traffic cop bade them ahead. As traffic skittered back into motion, the capsule lurched to life, inching incrementally closer to that final destination.
They’d made it almost half way without saying a word. It wasn’t so much that anticipation kept the pair quiet, just familiarity and the understanding that pleasantries were unnecessary. Florian flipped ahead a few SI units on the stereo to find the proper pulses to best suit the remainder of the trip; something aligned to the body, not the mind. Drums thudded to life as the capsule glided past luminescent, celestial beings. Those dudes looked pretty pleased, too.
Just one more turn – a left at that hollowed out asteroid – and they’d be there. Winston waited just beyond, but didn’t hear the capsule float up behind him. His headphones flitted music into floppy ears. Eventually, though, he clocked Ralf and Florian, turned around, fully, and said: “This shit bumps hard, dude.”
He hopped into to back benchseat of the capsule and the trio zoomed off toward Rigel VII. There was supposed to be a double showing. “The Undertaker and his Pals” with a new print of “Suspiria” as the entrée.
All instruments, writing, arrangement, production, mixing, and mastering by Travis Thatcher