DE-STAR is a fictionalized account of an actual proposition. DE-STAR or Directed Energy System Targeting of Asteroids and exploRation is a proposed system to deflect asteroids, comets, and other near-Earth objects that pose a credible risk of impact1 to the Earth. Essentially, it is a giant array of lasers that would be launched into Earth’s orbit where it would stay to serve a variety of functions on top of asteroid deflection. Each movement of this piece represents a unique function of the DE-STAR:
- Asteroid Deflection & Vaporization
- Space Debris Mitigation
- Photon Drive Propulsion
- Composition Analysis
- Powering Distant Probes
In DE-STAR, the role of the performer is challenged. The performer is not only expected to play but also to narrate. The spoken text has a unique function in each of the five movements. Prior to the first movement there is a textual introduction. Within the first, there is no text. In the second movement, the text serves a narrative purpose. It literally guides the story as the music follows along abstractly. In the third, the function of narration is more concerned with the rhythmic sounds the spoken words provide to the music opposed to the content of the text. The text still has actual textual purpose, but that takes a secondary role. In the fourth, the text sets the rhythmic and textural themes, and the music serves as an echo. For example, the first four measures, which are strictly text, set a texture of a solo voice being followed by a wall of overlapping voices. This is then echoed by the strings in the following measures. In the fifth movement, the text occurs only twice, and both times it serves to bridge a somewhat jarring shift in the music. In this way, it not only provides its textual content, but it also actually aids the form and development of the music. DE-STAR serves as an exploration of how text and narration can affect the form, rhythms, textures, development, tone, and overall soundscape of a piece.
Some of the text is completely fictional while some of the text is quoted or borrowed from various sources – these are listed below.