|At the end of 1987 one of the most impressive electronic music albums I have ever heard came out: The Interstellar Suite by the Canadian musician Amin Bhatia. In the review, Sym-Info called this widely built up symphonic album “the predecessor of TRON or a future episode of Star Wars”. I totally agree with this. For me, there are a number of electronic musicalbums that have historical value like Switched-On Bach from Wendy Carlos, Electronic Realizations For Rock Orchestra from Synergy, Snowflakes Are Dancing fromTomita, Heaven And Hell from Vangelis, Oxygene from Jean Michel Jarre, Autobahn from Kraftwerk and Erdenklang from Bognermayr en Zuschrader) and I think The Interstellar Suite also belongs to this category.|
Sadly it remained with this one album but Bhatia managed to make a name as composer for music of films and TV. When he finally was able to re-release The Interstellar Suite on his private label in 2003, Bhatia also started working on new music. Perhaps the music on Virtuality lacks the big impact that The Interstellar Suite had in the time it was relased but in my opinion it is a masterpiece again.
The CD contains of two parts. The first part that forms the title track, is a journey inside your computer. The second part is a special re-working of Ravel’s Bolero. Virtuality is not a complete electronic work: Bhatia also uses acoustic ensembles, soloists and a choir. The piece -not surprisingly with a filmcomposer- listens like a filmscore, just as was the fact with The Interstellar Suite, with returning themes. For instance, this is the fact with Into A Virtual World and World Wide Web, tracks that I find the work of a genius. Sometimes the music is almost like progressive rock when real drums are used. This is the case in In Search Of Lost Identities. At other moments the music is modern-orchestral, almost like a symphony, or even a little bit folk-wise (Second Life). It proves the abilities of the composer Bhatia.
The Bolero is a piece that has a repetitive theme and it is perfectly suitable for what Bhatia had in mind for it. Every theme is played on another classic electronic music instrument. So, this track can be regarded a historical journey of electronic music instruments. For this, Amin is accompanied by the big names Patrick Moraz and Steve Porcaro (formerly of Toto). It starts with the ancient instrument Ondes Martenot and moves until the virtual synths of today. Virtual, so we return to the subject of the CD. The journey can be followed in the CD-booklet with a text by Mark Vail, known from Keyboard Magazine.
Again, this has become an important album in the history of electronic music. And I am sure we don’t have to wait another twenty years for the next album by Amin. - Paul Rijkens, Iopages Magazine, Netherlands, Sept 2008