Steven Halpern

Zodiac Suite

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As the title suggests, Steven Halpern's Zodiac Suite offers pieces attuned to the twelve signs of the astrological Zodiac. Halpern, primarily using his favorite instrument, the electric piano, plays free-form improvisations where each sign, starting with Aries, is assigned a musical key. As fate would have it, there are twelve notes in an octave, so all's well with the world. Each sign also offers a different musical treatment. Sometimes Tony Selvage plays his electric violin, other times Schawkie Roth joins on flute, bamboo flute or zither. Wind chimes, cosmic breezes (provided by the ARP 2600), vocals, and acoustic grand piano add to the musical palette. The acoustic instruments are often echoed and embellished, giving a carefree celestial feeling. The second half explores four other celestial themes and offers melodies as well. "Blues for Arcturus" features Selvage on violin as its grief wails across the universe. Roth's swirling zither creates heavenly ripples on "Sky Boat Theme." The album is offered as part of the "Anti-Frantic Alternative" series, and so is suitable for relaxation.