Programme notes

The first movement of ‘High Octane,’ which was written for myself and ASKO Ensemble. One of my favorite live moments was premiering this in the pop temple of Amsterdam, Paradiso.

The piece was loosely based on an idea by the early 20th century composer Edgar Varese for a science fiction piece about a space traveler. The music was never written. In ‘High Octane,’ I turned Varese himself into an astronaut and let him sing back to the earth.


I smell the fumes of the future
filling my brain with high octane
I’m dissolving in swirling sound
weaving thru vapors of hum ‘n buzz
my vessel’s signed ‘no return to sender’
floating in this sea of crystalsonic splendor

I smell the fumes of the future
filling my head with hazy vapors
every trail I knew and loved breaks up into static
a big wide screen of crumbling sony chromomatic
my ship’s followed endless chasms
of ruptured granite, cracked and cleaving,
veins, as long as light years,
of pink and yellow, gleaming

I am only waiting for a spark
I am only waiting for the roar
show me your radiant spectrumfrom the lowest, deepest rumble to a stratocastin’ sirencorereaching sounds that only your polaroids can hearI smell the fumes of the futuregasoline, thick like cotton candyand crystalphonic clear

©1997 Saprophone Music & Donemus, Amsterdam