Canadian composer and keyboardist Amin Bhatia created a stir within the keyboard world, and in progressive rock and new age circles with his 1987 album The Interstellar Suite. The orchestral-sounding instrumental work is like a dramatic score for a nonexistent science-fiction movie. Bhatia painstakingly created The Interstellar Suite music and sound effects solely using analog synthesizers (including a Minimoog) and a pair of crash cymbals. No samples or sound libraries were used. Occasionally, bits of space travel-themed dialog are included. But the album's development is only part of the story. The Interstellar Suite was originally released by Cinema Records, a subsidiary of Capitol Records specializing in progressive rock. Other Cinema releases included solo albums from former Camel and Van Morrison keyboardist Pete Bardens, former Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz, and Michael Hoenig. Unfortunately, Cinema was short-lived. It was a noble effort to provide a home for progressive rock, but it was a decade too late to capitalize on the genre's commercial peak. A groundswell of demand built up on the Internet over the years resulted in Bhatia, who has composed scores for many film and television projects, releasing a remastered reissue of The Interstellar Suite on his own label in 2003. The Interstellar Suite is a remarkable success both technologically and creatively. It flows well as a whole, but highlights deserving individual mention include "Overture: Introduction and March," "Launch: Mission Control and Liftoff/Jumping to the Speed of Light," "Walking in Space: Opening the Airlock/Weightless/Retrieving a Satellite," "Distress Signal: The Beacon/A Damaged Ship/The Loneliness of Space" (which is extended on the remastered reissue to include a section Bhatia always regretted editing from the original release), and "Rescue Fleet: Formation and Rescue Theme/Dive/Arrival at the Alien Fort." The remastered reissue includes a previously unreleased bonus track, "Virus," attached at the end of "Finale: Theme Reprise/March." "Virus," which includes a choir singing lyrics from a requiem Mass, is not a leftover from the original The Interstellar Suite sessions; it's a preview of Bhatia's next album. The full history of The Interstellar Suite, and links to various retail websites selling new copies of the remastered reissue, can be found at www.interstellarsuite.com. General information about Bhatia and his work is available on his official website, www.bhatiamusic.com.
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AllMusic Review by Bret Adams