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Tim Clark – The Last Question

Ambient / Electronic composer Tim Clark started his career in the early 1970’s composing Moog synthesizer soundtracks for Planetarium shows at the Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York.  According to the liner notes on this privately-pressed LP, Clark was the Music Director at the Strasenburgh, and it was his job to assemble complete soundtracks for the various planetarium shows.  This particular work was the soundtrack for an Isaac Asimov short story first published in 1956, which according to the liner notes “takes place in six time settings beginning in 2061 and progressing forward to the moment when entropy has reached the maximum and the Universe is dead.”  The soundtrack consists of nine pieces, including the three sampled below.

This Way Out is the most melodic piece on the LP, and according to the liner notes, “is for those who want a tune they can whistle.”

Collapse Towards Light: “This Universe ends with electronic sounds which suggest wind heard from inside an echoing bell.  Light suddenly begins again with rumblings, whistles and scintillations of forming stars and galaxies and another Universe is born with the sound of a constant low note.”

Toward X-23: “The sound of metallic soaring space provides a sonic movement forward through time.  The stars appear followed by a spaceship taking its inhabitants to a new world.”

12 Comments

  • amazing! thanks for posting

  • what a great find, sounds just like you’d expect it would. btw here’s a link to that short story: http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

  • Amazing find! Any idea what year this was released?

  • this is terrific.
    Reminds me some of Frieder Butzmannn albums…
    thanks for posting about it.

    Yair

  • The liner notes refer to Tim Clark joining the staff of the Strasenburgh in January 1972, and “since then his soundtracks have become the talk of planetarium audiences across the country.” So I’d guess this LP was released in 1973, 1974, or thereabouts.

  • I have fond memories of that album from decades past. So I have searched for it, but without any success. I’ve searched for it in Amazon.com, I’ve searched for it in iTunes, and I can’t find it. Could anyone please help me with it? Or at least suggest good places to look.

  • I have an lp copy I will be listing for sale Mr Petrich.

  • I found a copy. Thanx anyway. What a pleasure it was to relive that experience.

    I notice that it doesn’t have many chords in it, if any at all. Could it be that Tim Clark would have had to play each note in a chord in a different run, and with careful timing?

  • does anyone have a copy of Tim Clark’s – The Last Question LP for sale?

  • Loren said, “I notice that it doesn’t have many chords in it, if any at all.”

    IIRC, the first MiniMoog synthesizer (used at the Strasenburgh Planetarium) could only play one note at a time.

  • Anyone have a copy of this for sale?

  • Anyone have a copy of this for sale? Email me at bcsterrett@gmail.com

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