A MISSION TO THE SUN AND BACK...

I don't remember which of us had the idea to make an album together, but when Godfried and I started working on it, the whole thing just flowed out so very easily and pleasantly to be almost impossible to believe...
Godfried came up with the album concept and a first draft of the story, which was then broken down into "chapters" (tracks, that is). From there on, it was just music and fun!
We've never met in person, so the album was realized by sending tracks back and forth between Italy and Belgium, both via regular mail and email. Finally, Godfried did the mastering - a great job indeed.
We were both very happy with the result, and the next logical step was to ask SynGate (the label that releases our solo albums) if they were willing to release it. Well, they were :)
Last missing piece of the jigsaw was the cover. I have been in contact with a French artist - Thierry Moreau - for several years now, so I asked him if he could come up with a cover for our project. He did, and he did a fantastic job, too. So here it is: Solar Mission! Enjoy!

Mac

Transmitting energy directly from the sun to Earth: a wild theory that became a project.
Two scientists travel towards the sun in a powerful – and powerfully shielded – spaceship. The two men will get closer to our star than was ever thought possible and launch a probe into it in order to collect data. They will use the data to set up an experimental station orbiting around the star to test the energy transmission plant before coming back to Earth...
1) Solar Mission (5.42)
The two scientists in the rocket wait for countdown to reach "zero". Excitement and fear mingle when the rocket finally takes off, but they turn into awe when the Earth is left behind and only the vastness of space surrounds the spaceship...
2) Space Travel (8.30)
All operations are remotely controlled from Earth, while the two men's vital functions are maintained by the spaceship, which protects them like a mother's womb during the longest voyage man has ever attempted...
3) Closing In (5.27)
The sun is getting closer. The scientists are now ready to take control of the ship as they did during training, but they have now gone where no one has gone before and they are fully aware of it...
4) Solar Orbit (2.42)
They orbit around the sun - no day and night, only the brightest light and heat. The star that they are analyzing is the source of life on Earth, they feel as if they were analyzing God himself...
5) Heat (7.43)
The heat is so immensely powerful that all the shields and protections can barely keep the ship safe, but fear disappears when the instruments begin to give the first readings. The mission is now really under way...

6) Sun Flares (8.07)
Sun flares are so scary when you see them from such a short distance... The two men have to pilot the ship manually to avoid the unpredictable explosions that come from the sun and threaten their safety. Finally, the main computer finds a pattern in the flares, and the scientists can give it back control of the ship and concentrate on their experiments again...
7) Probe One (4.26)
It's just a mechanical probe, a machine, but they worked on the little fellow for such a long time back on Earth that they developed a sort of affection for it, as if it was a pet. Stephen just can't pull the lever that will send the probe into the sun - to the death it will eventually meet after sending data back to the ship. Jeffrey has to do it, but a tear rolls from his eyes, too...
8) Data Stream (8.00)
The corageous little probe sends precious data to the ship's main computer that analyzes and stores it in real time. The little creature manages to send data for eight minutes before melting into the sun...
9) Energy Station (6.23)
Within a month the two men manage to set up an orbiting station that successfully transmits energy to earth via a number of relay stations. The station's computers are loaded with the information received from the probe and from the ship's sensors.
10) Leaving Orbit (7.05)
It's time to go back to earth. Stephen and Jeffrey are tired and filled with emotions they never knew existed, but there's no room for feelings now: leaving the sun is no easy task and all has to be carefully planned and executed. A small mistake would cause a disaster, so the two take their time and try hard to focus on their tasks...
11) Solar Mission Reprise (2.47)
The mission is over, and it was a success. The two men are now travelling back to Earth. They are tired, and above all they are different. Re-adjusting to normal lives may prove to be their most difficult mission ever...
"Both Stockman and Mac are known for bright, optimistic melodic EM, often with themes of ancient or future worlds, so it is not overly surprising that the two would decide to join forces, and Solar Mission is the result. It doesn’t take long for the title track to start moving right along with a steady beat and light electronics. Tangerine Dream’s pop sound of the mid-eighties, particularly their soundtrack work, is a handy reference point. Occasionally a passage may turn darker as the atmospheric sound effects take over, but it usually isn’t too long before the synth melodies and sequencing return. Whooshing winds fade right into “Space Travel”, which reminds me of Software with its easygoing accessible nature. “Closing In” features the catchiest melody yet and is likely to get your toes tapping along with its infectious rhythms. On the softer side is “Solar Orbit,” a brief ethereal number, which then launches into “Heat,” a bouncy happy tune with an insistent beat. Synths and sequencing build up nicely at the end. Fuzzed out sounds start “Sun Flares” before moving back into light, bright melodic electronics. Given Stockman and Mac’s musical leanings it’s no surprise that there is little to be melancholy about here. “Probe One” is a chilled exception, all atmosphere and space twitters. But the stuttering pulses of “Data Stream” bring the energy right back. Solar Mission is the ticket for easygoing accessible EM fun."

Phil Derby - Electroambient Space

You can buy this album from the following on-line stores (among others):

SynGate

Groove

Cue Records

or you can download it from: MusicZeit
The musicians: Stockman (Belgium)

Godfried Stockman started out playing with local bands and then, as he learned more and more about composing and producing music, he began to record his own records realized with an absolutely unique style.

To find out more about him: http://stockman-news.skynetblogs.be/

The musicians: Mac of BIOnighT (Italy)

Prolific solo artist, Mac is also one half of the Italian duo "BIOnighT" (the other half being Sbrizzi FaBIO).

To find out more about him: www.macvibes.com/
and about BIOnighT: www.bionight.net/

The cover: Thierry Moreau (France)

Thierry Moreau is a very good and versatile artist from France, who kindly offered to make the cover for the Solar Mission project.

Find out more about him here : http://www.myspace.com/thierrymoreau
and view his works here: http://thierrymoreaudiscover.bookspace.fr/

The label: SynGate (Germany)

This label was started by Lothar Lubitz in 2001, and quickly became one of the best and most appreciated labels in the electronic music field.

Check out its impressive catalog here: www.syngate.net/

 
copyright on all material: Stockman / Mac of BIOnighT / SynGate / Thierry Moreau 2008