Probably more than any other work of art, “2001: A Space Odyssey” has had the greatest influence on me as an artist. It was my introduction to the cinema of Stanley Kubrick; it introduced me to the music of Gyorgy Ligeti; and it enthralled me to greater possibilities in cinematic and musical storytelling than any other film I’ve seen. Back in 1999, I wrote a little composition entitled “Beyond the Infinite,” which would be included on my CD “Dark Experiments.” From that 207 seconds of music- inspired by Kubrick’s use of Ligeti in “2001,” and in its’ final surreal sequence in particular- would come the catalyst for this project.
Conceived in part as an “alternative soundtrack” to “2001” as much as it is a tone poem, “Beyond the Infinite” takes its’ cues, on a musical level, as much from Alex North’s elegant unused score for “2001” as much as it does the collection of Ligeti, J. Strauss, R. Strauss , and Khachaturian Kubrick used in his epic. The goal was to meld the tonal continuity of North’s music with the experimental amalgam of Kubrick’s chosen selections. Another goal was to use both old-fashioned performance techniques (i.e. live performers) and modern ones (electronically-derived sounds) to achieve this, depending on whether we’re watching primitive man discover tools or watching the travel modes of future generations. So you have waltz-like works performed by synthesized sounds instead of strings, motifs performed in both chamber and electronic configurations, and pieces that carry a more traditional musical structure programmed next to ones of a more avant garde nature.
The result is a work that may not quite replace Kubrick’s choices in your mind, nor may it make you forget the beauty of North’s work on the film, and lament its’ exclusion from the film less. By not committing to an original score for his masterpiece, however, Kubrick opened up a possibility for me to challenge my own artistic impulses, and pay homage to what he achieved by thinking outside the box…which is exactly what Kubrick did in the first place. –Brian Skutle, 7/6/08