Aura Octans [2022/038]

Track 38 is here! Titled “Aura Octans”, it’s once again a little more cinematic than “dancey”. It seems that when left to my own devices not expressly trying to learn something, my unconstrained ideas lead me to more subtle soundtrack-like sorts of things. Many of my more recent tracks seem to lean towards this trend: Desertion, The City And The Stars, Aura Octans, and To a lesser extent After The Blizzard and Hologram have more “cinematic” styles, though I think of After The Blizzard as closer to the dream trance styles showing my Robert Miles influence.

The name “Aura Octans” was a late name for a track. Oftentimes, the title comes early-ish and gives me a theme to work with. Octans is a constellation in the southern sky that in fact contains the current southern pole star, Sigma Octantis. This pole star is not as useful as Polaris is in the Northern Hemisphere as Sigma Octantis is only magnitude 5.4 versus 2.0 for Polaris which means that Polaris can often even be seen on clear nights in places with moderate light pollution, Sigma Octantis is much fainter and only visible in clear dark skies far from other light sources. Aura was a reference to the aurora australis (Southern Lights) that would be visible in Antarctica.

I picked the name a little oddly. I saw a random licence plate number driving around Thursday night that made me think of both words (something like A4A0CT, I think) and “Aura Octans” popped in my head. Given that you probably would only see the aurora and this constellation in the far south of the world, it once again refers to a cold, winterish vibe. Although Antarctica and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere is actually in late spring headed for summer, it’s still cold in the southernmost continent, and I guess we could consider this a spiritual sequel to After The Blizzard.

This is a little less harmonically weird than After The Blizzard, though. That track was in G Dorian ♯4 and this one is pretty much in bog standard A minor. If I recall correctly, there’s not even a lick of chromaticism in it. This track is also the first track my Roland JV-1080 makes an appearance in. Some of the pads are pretty much straight from the JV-1080 and the guitar line is mixed with a little subtle hint from a lead synth that doubles it.

I acquired the JV-1080 in October of this year. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a 2U rack-mount highly polyphonic synthesizer that back in its day was a top-of-the-line professional unit that is still highly regarded, particularly in the film scoring space for its great orchestral instrument sounds. It’s a 20 year old box so they are fetchable for not a lot of scratch. You can usually acquire one for 200-300 bucks. While I paid a bit more for mine than that, it also come pre-populated with sample expansion cards in all four of its expansion slots so it wound up being a great deal. Given that the cards go for around 80-100 bucks on the open market now, it was basically like I got two of them for free. It was also in near mint condition with just the tiniest bit of metal scoring on the top and the sides where the previous owner(s) mounted it in their own racks.

I really like the sound of it and plus if I can just be a kid, I think it looks ridiculously cool in the rack.

Also, track 38! 95% of goal, and a solid A! 4 Saturdays left, 2 tracks to go. Absent some horrific event, I’ve got this! I hope you like this one. I consider it “pretty good” though I don’t know if it’s album worthy.

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