Tripdeion: A Journey through Space and Time

Tripdeion -- Cover art for the song on the album Unknown Planet by Bipolar DimensionsTripdeion is the first track of the new album Unknown Planet. It's a gentle exploration of space that introduces the ever-expanding universe of music to come. But it's just a beginning. One of many possible beginnings. An open door to the many faces of alternative reality. So, here's the music. You can read the rest of the page while listening.

Time

Everything happens in slow motion aboard our spacecraft, Tripdeion. Galaxies drift by as we sail faster than the speed of light through the cosmos. It's a journey to a future beyond the portals of time.

Space

The fabric of space bends around us as we travel through it. We left Earth in search of an unknown planet. But, we take with us our dreams. Each molecule of our being, becoming one with the dark matter around us.

The Making of Tripdeion

Firstly, I wanted a spacey feel to the music. This required creating gentle, relaxing sounds and forgoing any form of timekeeping. Abandoning a time signature and set tempo is rather easy for me. The creation of the sounds is another matter entirely. You see, I am not a natural synth nerd. So, building every sound is like pulling teeth.

Secondly, I wanted adventure. This is tough to do while toning down the piece at the same time. But I think I've accomplished something akin to a journey.

The mixing of this piece was pretty straightforward. If anything, it was about getting the soft tones to come through at a decent volume without loosing their gentle ambiance. I used the car-starting sound in the beginning as a baseline and worked from there.

In short, Unknown Planet seeks to move the mind. That is the journey. That is the destination. Tripdeion is just the first step into the unknown.

Sarkathian — The Space Beyond Space

Sarkathian is that space beyond the known Universe. Some call it an alternative Universe. Most certainly, it's existence is highly debated. So this piece of drone music attempts to grasp the mysteries of that space. It offers a glimpse into the order inherent in the chaos. It's a mindset of discovery. But also a journey into the unknown. Here's the music.

The Making of Sarkathian

This piece is the result of two improvised takes. Each with a different underlying sound,  arpeggiator pattern, and various parameter settings/changes. As such, the sequencer layers them in a way that creates a variety of different voices. Also, panning adds to the dimensionality of the piece. I composed and recorded it over the course of an afternoon and evening. But, the mix-down was a real challenge.

Sarkathian -- The reaches beyond outer space.

Journey to the Void

Galaxies drift by as we approach the edge of space. We've searched in vain for a new planet. But we're traveling faster than the speed of light. And we're running out of Universe. Perhaps the next will yield an inhabitable world. We used the last of Earth's rocket fuel to get here. Perhaps we should turn back. But what is there to turn back to? So, we push on.

Unknown Planet has many twist and turns. Sarkathian pulls us to the edge of space where we become a part of the the void's presence. Also, we take on its essence. Finally, we simply become it. There is only so much time to pause and wonder. It's life on the edge for crying out loud. Before you know it, it's over.

In conclusion, there is much to be explored beyond the edge of space and time. We just need a better form of transporting ourselves. I think what we need is a wormhole.

Wormhole — Another Mode of Travel

Wormhole -- Cover art for the third track of the album, Unknown PlanetTheoretical physicist John Archibald Wheeler coined the term 'wormhole' in the year 1957. This is an experimental work composed in 2019. The two events seem lightyears apart. But, they both approach the unimaginable. Tripdeion is low on fuel. We need another mode of transportation. So we slip into a wormhole.

Anatomy of a Wormhole

This music takes the concept of 'droning' to another dimension.  For example, the composition stems from a single note played in two consecutive passes on the synthesizer along with a few gongs. As such, all the sounds in the piece stem from this one note (x2). The dramatic dynamics of the piece derive from parameter manipulations over time. The two passes represent the two mouths of a wormhole. The resulting sound fosters a bridge between space and time inside the mind. That's the idea anyway. Here's the music.

Outer/Inner Space Music

Unknown Planet is an album of music for your mind. So there is a lot of dynamic range between the different tracks. There are three completed tracks right now. So, it's an incomplete collection for the moment. This track is a drone, simply because of it's one-note origin. And there is a pulse (no matter how faint or distorted) throughout. The structured chaos and the ebb and flow of energy converge to transport the listener to a new frame of mind.

In Conclusion

Describing avant-garde music is difficult. So, that is for the experts. I enjoy creating music. This album is an adventure for me as well as you. It's a journey of discovery. And it's not finished yet. There will always be more to do but that's where the enjoyment comes from. I  hope you enjoyed your time here. It's been a honor to share my music with you.

Peace and blessings.

Richard

Course Corrections — Space Driving

Navigating the wormhole requires many course corrections.Tripedion is soaring into the wormhole. As it flies through trapped galaxies, the captain must make course corrections to avoid a catastrophic collision. It's a delicate task. But she is good at what she does. Meanwhile, the crew is busy monitoring the plasma reactor. There isn't much I can do but record it all. There are knobs and gauges everywhere. The drone of the engine mingles with the whirring and whistling of the circuitry. And the planets keep flying by.

Course Corrections -- The Music

Firstly, this is drone music. There are at least two drones vying for attention in the piece. Secondly, there is a spacy aspect which tugs and pulls at the drones. I recorded this in two improvised passes. The dynamic range caused all sorts of havoc in the mixdown process. So, it took about 20 takes to get an acceptable mix. Here's the result.

The Album Progresses

I've been piecing Unknown Planet together and posting as I create the tracks. There's a story here. But it may take a double album to complete it. We've navigated the wormhole deeper into the realm of Sarkathian. It's a foreign space. But a welcome destination. Our search continues for the perfect planet. So the music will mutate to reflect the next phase of that search. Stay tuned. There's more to come.

Dedication

Bipolar Dimensions was created to advocate on behalf of those who struggle with mental illness. I am one of those people. This album and my other album, Electric Rain are dedicated to my friends and family who have supported me during rough times. I don't know where I'd be without them. Also, I want to dedicate this album to the friends I know who suffer from mental illness. I wish them all the best. I hope my music can be an inspiration for others. It is what I have to give.

 

Emergence — New Dimensions

Tripdeion exits the wormhole battered yet still intact. But its emergence only marks the beginning of a new adventure. So, the search for our unknown planet continues. The plasma drive pulses. The craft gently navigates its way through the new space. And everyone brims with anticipation.

Emergence - New worlds abound in the space beyond the wormhole.Planets are everywhere. Nearby stars shimmer with promise. I make an entry in the log.

"New constellations -- Tripdeion intact -- Captain and crew optimistic -- Deep into Sarkathian -- No turning back."

The making of Emergence

Firstly, the music is two tracks: a spacy, chordal, pulsing drone, and a track of woodblocks. Secondly, these simple tracks rely on subtle manipulations of the sound to achieve movement. As such, it's a quiet divergence from the energetic music preceding it. So it requires a shift in attention. In short, here's the music.

Finding the Unknown planet

Our sensors detect an oxygenated planet. Finally, our search bears fruit. We enter into orbit and begin to scan for signs of life. There are rivers and oceans, mountains and plains. Wait, there are cities and roads. But no signs of life. The geography looks strangely familiar. It can't be! It can't be Earth! But it is.

So, where are all the people? A closer look reveals that the cities are overgrown and crumbling. Something has happened. And no one can explain how we got here after traveling across the Universe and entering another. Was the wormhole a loop? Above all, have we traveled into the future?

I wake up in a tangle of sheets and blankets. Tripdeion vanishes. The realm of Sarkathian collapses in my mind as I stare at the four walls of my bedroom. Finally, the dream has ended. I'm back where I started. My cat jumps up onto the bed. The phone rings and everything is fine.

 

Electronic Music — Cosmic Dragonfly

Here's the first track on the album, Electric Rain by Bipolar Dimensions. It's a lively introduction to this otherwise eclectic collection of electronic music aimed at illuminating the many different sides of mental disorder. Cosmic Dragonfly opens the set with a gentle but somewhat moody arrangement of strings and piano. They portray the lighter, yet still volatile, side of mania.

Listen on YouTube: Cosmic Dragonfly


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Electric Rain and Electronic Music Genres

Electronic music comes in many flavors. Each track on Electric Rain explores a new musical direction. I hesitate to classify each track by genre as some just don't fit any particular genre. Having said that, the music ventures from upbeat and dreamy to ambient and drone, from melody to dissonance, and harmony to noise.

I improvised each track on Electric Rain on a Korg Krome Music Workstation from January to May 2019. My apartment dining room in Evanston, Illinois is my studio. Each track represents one to two days of work. I then recorded it into a Digital Audio Workstation on my computer. From there I mixed and output it to an audio file.

This album represents a labor of love and it's been a long time coming. Seems that my studies of art and music in college some 30+ years ago turned into a worthwhile endeavor.  That and the toil for months in my apartment studio. I thank you all for coming along for the ride.

Finally, it's great to share my music with you and I'd like to make it available for free listening. Therefore, you can enjoy the video above as many times as you like.

Furthermore, if you're interested in reading about the album, you can find a full album description here. But most of all, enjoy!

Rem Sequence From Electric Rain

Electric Rain's second track, Rem Sequence, follows Cosmic Dragonfly with a short, pulsing venture into dream space. And because I like free music, here's the video.

Listen on YouTube: Rem Sequence

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A woman engaged in a Rem Sequence.

A Rem Sequence

Rem sleep isn't a mental disorder but it is an important product of the mind. In a manic phase, for example, it becomes impossible to sleep. As a result, dreaming is suspended. This can lead to psychosis or delusional thinking if left unchecked. Rem sleep is important. This track is about settling into our dreams. Even more so, it is about having the peace to dream.

Electric Rain is an eclectic album for sure. The tracks as a whole are not of a specific genre. This is eccentric. But, given the improvisational nature of the album, is also expected. This track, for example, differs greatly from its predecessor. Its moody overtones shift away from the energetic strains offered up in the first track. In short, its a different animal.

Recording Rem Sequence

I enjoy the process of fleshing out a song. I usually start with a basic "feel" in mind. Then, I start improvising. And it doesn't typically take too long to get into a groove. Each track adds dimension to the song. Probably, the first track offers the greatest challenge. I have to find the right sound. Then it comes down to setting up a tempo, a time signature and other aspects of the recording process. After recording the base track, I can really start to jam. I composed this song in an afternoon.

In conclusion, this song is about finding peace within our dreams. Good mental health starts with good sleep, good nutrition, and good exercise. They say that music is food for the soul. I hope this finds its way into your soul and brings you pleasant dreams.

Serena’s Song — Hope in the Dark

Finally, Side A of Electric Rain wraps up with Serena's Song. Above all, it's a short ode to those who suffer from depression. Cries dissolve in the ring of gentle bells. There is both pain and joy in the piece. Also, hope in the music as well as melancholy. The slow pace reflects the sluggishness common in a depressive episode. I could say more about the piece. But there's nothing quite like listening to the music.

Listen on YouTube: Serena's Song

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The Making of Serena's Song

I composed this track over the course of an afternoon and evening. That is to say that I improvised and recorded a series of tracks in the course of a day. The mixdown came later.

Firstly, I specifically wanted to work with bells and choir ahs. The lazy drumbeats came at the end of the process. Secondly, I wanted to create a wistful, yearning mood. I really enjoyed improvising over the strains of the ahs. The real challenge came during the recording and mixdown process. I had to record several passes to get the mix right. This is actually fairly common.

Serena's Song was improvised on a Synthesizer

One Man's Take on Depression

I have been in dark places. But I have also seen the light. Each day challenges me to stay positive and to not dwell on things out of my control. I have a solution for depression. But I can only say that it works for me.

  1. I have goals and I work towards those goals every day.
  2. Then there are my passions such as art, writing, and music. I try to engage in these passions every day.
  3. I measure every step of progress towards my goals.
  4. And I take great pleasure in accomplishing those goals, whether they are short-term or long-term goals. Accomplishment is the key for me.
  5. I don't let setbacks get me down. I look for other options.

In conclusion, I'm grateful for everything I have, for the opportunities I've been given and the ability to work towards my dreams. Art is my medicine. It's what keeps me sane. This song is an example of the above.

Voices — The Walls Speak in Tongues

Side B of Electric Rain kicks off with the convoluted strains of Voices. Certainly, it comes as a departure from Side A's melodic presentation. It's the album's the first foray into the realm of schizophrenic auditory hallucination. The album picks the theme up again later in the track Psychosis. In short, this is a dark journey into the realm of mental illness. I have never heard voices so this is just what I imagine after living with people who suffer from the disorder.

Listen on YouTube: Voices

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The Making of Voices

It took a couple of long days to lay down the tracks for Voices. Each sound was a new adventure into the realm of my music workstation. For example, the arpeggiators used were meticulously selected through a lengthy series of trial and error. Also, I was looking for a mood that embued both confusion and organization. The goal was to stay away from traditional melody and timing while still keeping a musical feel.

I call my works improvisations because I don't rehearse them. Yes, I spend time programming the sounds. But in the end, each track is a product of the moment. Each materializes from a sort of reckless abandon.  Each is made up as I go along. This is true for all of the tracks on Electric Rain.

Voices -- Crossed Brain SignalsMixed Signals

I have experienced schizophrenia first-hand. I am no expert but I know that walls don't speak.  It's difficult to watch someone suffer from this illness. I have known highly intelligent people who think the devil is talking to them through the TV (well, this could be debatable). I've had deep, intellectual conversations with impacted individuals followed by pure nonsense. I've seen beautiful spirits lost in a maze of illusion.

The music is an attempt to capture these dichotomies. It's a statement of concern and also of compassion. But most of all, it's a beacon of hope.

Riot — The Frantic Face of Mania

Side B of Electric Rain continues with the dark, driving drone of Riot. Above all, this piece seeks to capture the frantic, reckless nature of mania. That is to say, inappropriate risk-taking and delusional thinking. I have suffered from these symptoms in the past. They have debilitated me. But I'm happy to say that I've survived it and that I now put that energy to more creative purposes. So, here's the music.

Listen on YouTube: Riot

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The Making of Riot

Probably, Riot is the most genre-specific piece on the album Electric Rain. It is clearly a somewhat melodic example of drone music. I created the underlying drone in two takes. That is to say, using two different arpeggiator patterns keyed from the same single note. I then improvised a couple of passes over the resultant drone.

It was a tricky Mix-down. In other words, it was a challenge to bring out the many different voices in the music without making the mix too hot. But it was well worth the effort. In the end, everything comes through.

Riot - The many faces of mania.The Many Faces of Mania

Manic episodes come in many guises. For example, one can become hyper-focused on a particular activity. Or delving into unhealthy and destructive behavior. Sometimes the condition is so severe that the sufferer becomes delusional. Meanwhile, there is the downside of disrupted sleep and feelings of invincibility.

I've been on both sides of bipolar disorder. For the most part, I've created with the excess energy I have but I've also been on the destructive side of the scales. These days, I use my elevated moods for creativity. Medication has helped to smooth out the highs and lows and I find myself being far more productive as a result. I channel my moods into my writing and music. Art is a great mood stabilizer. I wouldn't be the same without it.

To sum up, this album is for those living with mental disabilities. I'm one of those people. But I chose to defy the definition. I chose to make music.