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Philadelphia Space Music: Star’s EndThe Gatherings

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Star’s End is Kitaro, or Vangelis. It’s not Yawni… er, sorry, I meant Yanni. It is Ian Boddy or Klaus Schulze or Dieter Moebius. It’s not… well, it’s just something you either understand or you don’t.

Star’s End is a weekly radio and live Internet show. You can’t really call it music, although it is. But it’s so much more than just music. You know how when people find a new religion, whether it’s an actual religion, or the latest health fad, or the absolute best brand of running shoes, the fervor is there. Although when it’s accompanied by a beaming red face and an unctuous smile, it’s more a crusade.

Space Music – which is what Star’s End is – lacks the ready-for-the-rubber-room mania that seems to accompany religious fervor, yet has most of the other traits. Except Space Music is all about relaxing. (Not chilling.) It’s about letting go, letting your mind go wherever it wants. Wherever it happens to lead you is fine, because the thrill, the mystery and the adventure, are all in the travel not in the destination. And with Space Music, your mind does all this traveling while your body is in its favorite easy chair, or flat on your back in bed, or smoking your favorite cocktail, or whatever it is you do to relax.

Sure, the destination is absolutely great. But it pales in comparison to the travel, the actual act of moving from Point A to Point B, even if getting from Point A to Point B should involve 17 stops between. It’s not how far the body travels, but how far the mind travels.

And where. Even Neverwhere.

It’s unfortunate people travel for the wrong reasons. And just as unfortunate is the apparent lack of ability to relax enough to enjoy Space Music.

Are you still reading? And are you thoroughly confused? Good. Confusion is good. That means you’re beginning to get the scent. It means you’ve opened your mind at least enough to allow some doubt, some insecurity, some desire to know more, into your thought processes. You’re not there yet, not by a long shot, but you’re making good progress on the road to understanding and appreciating Space Music.

Although I think they’re closely associated in the minds of most people, Chuck van Zyl says, Star's End is a radio show that originated on WXPN around 1976 – while The Gatherings is a concert series I founded around 1992. It is important to know the distinction; the two are cousins, not twins.”

Hey, one can be a blonde, the other can be a brunette, but they both have the same looks, body, personality, right?

I’ll be talking more about each of the two over the course of this and a couple more articles, but for now consider this sufficient explanation. And for this column, I’ll be giving you the scoop on the Philadelphia Space Music Scene in general. I’ll expand, taking a closer look at some things going on, in the articles that follow.

I always liked the WC Fields zinger about, “We’re having a conteeesst (as he drawled it out). First prize is a week in Philadellllphia. Second prize is two weeks in Philadellllphia!” Well, Philly has come a long way, baby. At least from a music standpoint, the city is a leader in the country, from “Philly Jazz” of the ‘30s and ‘40s, to the “Philly Soul Sound” of the ‘60s, to the Space Music scene of today.

There are cities around the country with enough of the right mix of types of inhabitants to comprise and support a Space Music community, but insofar as I can see, Philly’s one of the only ones on the East Coast. And since both The Gatherings and Star’s End are pretty much the robots controlled by the mind of one mad scientist named Chuck van Zyl, and since The Gatherings and Star’s End actually are the entire current Philly Space Music Scene … Well, need I say more?

Mind Music is another term for Space Music, since the music so relaxes the mind that it’s the same feeling as if your body just had a two-hour gentle but firm full-body massage. Think overcooked spaghetti noodle – mushy. That’s the way the body feels after such a massage. Sooo relaxed, sooo unstressed. The same with your mind after your weekly session with Doctor van Zyl and Star’s End. Both these situations have the same result, just that one’s on the body, the other the mind:

Think Superman … at rest.

You’re getting closer … to Star’s End.

You can learn more about Star's End and The Gatherings by clicking on the embedded links. Tune into the weekly Star’s End live broadcast on the Internet. Star’s End is also broadcast on WXPN radio in Philadelphia, along with other repeater stations in Pennsylvania and Maryland, from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m., every Sunday morning, or as some would say, Saturday night. Tell ‘em Lou sent ya!

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About Lou Novacheck