Gilgamesh: Tape VII: The Journey to the Gods Barry D. Truax

Tape VII: The Journey to the Gods is the centrepiece of the work Gilgamesh. It refers to the epic journey that Gilgamesh sets out on in search of the secret to eternal life and the reversal of the death of his friend Enkidu. He undergoes many hardships and braves many dangers, and at last finds himself in a distant land beside a great water where the secret is found. This work creates a soundscape within which the listener is moving. Three regions, in particular, are experienced, each employing different timbral resources and each associated with a different bodily function. First is the sensory, tactile world of the epidermis; then the region of organic processes and the digestive system; finally, the ethereal, spiritual world of the respiratory system. At the conclusion, the perceived space expands and many distant arcs of sound are heard, supported by plodding, weary footsteps and breathing. The opening sequence, the only part not computer-generated, is composed of transformed vocal material carried over from the previous section in which a god-like voice calls Gilgamesh on the journey.

  • Year of composition: 1973
  • Genre: Electroacoustics
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Software used: POD system for sound synthesis and composition.
  • Duration of the submitted work: 14:08
  • Production: “The Journey to the Gods" was the composer’s first computer-composed and synthesized composition, and was realized in 1973 at the Institute of Sonology, Utrecht, the last of the 12 Gilgamesh tapes created there, and the first to implement and utilize in real-time the frequency modulation timbral synthesis approach of John Chowning. The work was composed with the composer’s POD5 and POD6 programs for sound synthesis and interactive composition, and was mixed in four channels in the mixing studio at Utrecht.
  • Premiere: October 22, 1973, Utrecht, Institute of Sonology

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