On Saturday, Dec. 10, the Versant Power Astronomy Center and Jordan Planetarium will present “Meditations on Perihelion”, a live performance of original electronic music and immersive visuals on the planetarium’s dome screen.
The “Meditations” are a multi-sensory experience that invites audience members to contemplate and reflect on the dark quietude of the Winter Solstice, the darkest time of the year and the moment when the Earth is closest to the Sun.
For some in the audience it can be a meditation, for others an active listening and perceptual experience. This event invites listeners to sink and settle into an evolving musical and visual experience.
The music, conceived and performed by Tom Luther, is inspired and informed by the changes in the Earth’s orbit from Equinox to Winter Solstice. While falling into the general category of “Ambient” or “Space” music, Luther has drawn on his experience as an improviser, composer, and pianist to extend at the conventions of the genre.
In pieces such as “Kepler” and “Precession”, Luther explores the seasonal passage of time. Melodies are reordered and recombined against a background of punctuating rhythms. “Skywheel” takes inspiration from the stillness of winter and presents a slowly evolving and meditative soundscape ornamented by melodic fragments mimicking birdsong. “Analema” contemplates the idea of infinity through fractal imagery and overlapping and pulsing rhythmic patterns.
The visuals are being curated by planetarium director Shawn Laatsch and are a combination of imagery from the European Southern Observatory, real time astronomy scripts, as well as abstract animations. Luther and Laatsch have worked in a collaborative process using feedback loops of musical and visual ideas.
Tickets are $10 a person and may be purchased online, by phone at 207.581.1341, or at the Versant Power Astronomy Center ticket box office prior to the show.