Modulator ESP: Zeta Reticuli


Zeta Reticuli 1 is a 74 minute experimental deep space drone, based on a piece produced at the end of last year. Zeta Reticuli 2 is an updated version which has added elements to provide a more melodic contrast to the harsh oppressive monotony of the original piece. 

The original source material was produced using layered analogue sound sculptures subjected to extreme digital processing. The updated version features a variety of additional analogue and digital timbres. 

Both pieces are available to stream and download free from the Internet Archive. It is also now available to purchase from the merchandise page.
Zeta Reticuli 1 - click to play stream from Internet Archive Zeta Reticuli - Right click and 'Save As' to download from Internet Archive Zeta Reticuli 1 [74:00 - 192kbps - 106.6Mb] First version - dark and menacing
Zeta Reticuli 2 - click to play stream from Internet Archive Zeta Reticuli - Right click and 'Save As' to download from Internet Archive Zeta Reticuli 2 [74:00 - 192kbps - 106.6Mb] Second version - with additional layers

The top pair of waveforms below show Zeta Reticuli 1 whilst the bottom pair show the layers added to produce Zeta Reticuli 2 


Recording review 10 June 2007, "Zeta Reticuli v1" v1, the subject of this review was created first, but begs review second, after v2. Both pieces are the same 74 mins long. The distinction is that v1 does not have the added instrumentation of v2 and the ambient bits are in the mix foreground. They are in character, two entirely separate works. v1 produces an anaesthetic heavy limb, out of body feeling that distinguishes it as "dronology" whilst v2 leans more towards early classic Berlin school synthesis. 

There are some wise words in the Wikipaedia entry for artist Mark Rothko "It forces one to approach the limits of experience in the post-Kantian sense of the categories of space and time and awakens one to the awareness of one’s own existence." I would stick that label on the front of Zeta Reticuli v1.

Alan Walker, Landschaft

Recording review 04 June 2007, "Zeta Reticuli" a 74 min, 106MB modem buster of a download available from the main Modulator ESP website - in two versions. The version I am reviewing is the second more developed version. ZR comes in two mixes - the original, and v2 with added instrumentation. 

Like v early Tangerine Dream - Zeit era, only more minimal - truly space music. The first 8 minutes, a slow intergalactic soundscape, builds to the entry of a big metalic a-tonal slab of noise, rotating and evolving by minute 17 fading then rejoining in the mid left of the stereo field, almost forming into a melody - but never quite. 

By the time you reach minute 19, the theme has crept over to the right before subsiding back into a distant re-statement of the opening black night storm. The sonic density up to minute 26, remaining mid right, middle distance while some very subtle, almost inaudible (I was listening to this quite loud on high-end headphone; Sennheiser HD580 that pick up everything) interweaving non-music tantalises at the edge of perception. 

At min 30, the background wash drops suddenly to a bleak insistent single note that focuses in intensity and volume, rising, centre stage in the soundfield, pulling in another sonic blizzard in it's wake, evolving into a fragmented melody theme, in the manner of Klaus Schulze's Body Love/Mirage/Dune. 

Minute 36 sees some lower register entering from the left and the main theme dissolving once more into a rising windstorm, that by minute 40, crescendos into intense clusters of tone. The melodic theme re-joins at minute 44, pleasingly distant, and at 46:31 a nice counterpoint emerges briefly holding onto a very long single note that sustains and modulates at min 54 into a new high, melodic line. 

The piece starts it's descent at around minute 60. Briefly (in the context of the pace of the piece!) a shimmering shoal of tones swims around the stereo field, and a new melody is stated before fade to black. A deeply enjoyable work of great restraint and subtlety, and an absolute must for all space music followers.

Alan Walker, Landschaft

Right from the beginning of this album one gets to notice that this work is something completely different for Jez Creek aka Modulator ESP. Deep drones rise out of nowhere, transforming into a gigantic, monumental, gargantuan wall of sound. The album is named after a binary star system where both stars are somewhat similar to our Sun. 

The system is known thanks to a legend (for want of a better term) that says that there was once a humanoid race living on one of the planets that orbited one of the suns, but the planet was later destroyed by its own dwellers. Therefore, these creatures started looking for a new home. The legend also says that some of them reached the Earth, but the information concerning the aliens was conspired by governments. There's a group of people who claim to be the descendants of this alien race or maybe even aliens themselves which of course can hardly be trusted. 

Anyway, the music is suitably spooky, out-there and cosmic in a mysterious and menacing kind of way. Not any sort of Berlin School by a long shot, stylistically it comes as close to Dark Ambient drone music as it probably can. Sometimes the drone is augmented by high-pitched sonic elements but overall the sound is deep, hollow and intense with several layers of drones making up for a very thick miasma of sound. All the changes on this album are subtle but they are quite discernible if you listen closely. Did Jez create his best work so far? It could be. In any case, if you enjoy Dark Ambient music and especially Dark Space or long-form Drone Ambient - you will find lots to enjoy here. This is a work that needs to be heard. Well done!  

Artemi Pugachov
, Encyclopedia of Electronic Music

I heard at least three quarters of Zeta Reticuli 2 and was reminded of (a) Eraserhead, and (b) the sort of sounds I might hear in my own head whilst locked inside a Sensory Deprivation Tank. And I mean that in a good way! Rob Johnson

Zeta Reticuli 1 scared the shit outta me lol. Very dark... very. Great drone though with really powerful undertones that sweep in and out perfectly. Great production. A typical all round drone track that does exactly what it should do. Great stuff! Again, people would be crazy not to add this gem to their collection. It's a perfect drone.  Blue, Ambient Collective

Well I've taken the plunge Jez, and listened to Zeta Reticuli 2 from start to finish. In fact although it is fairly dark, it isn't that dark is it !? The addition of the more melodic sounds, definitely facilitated my enjoyment of this album, as I'm sure the original would have simply been too much for me. This version though did work for me, and I was really quite impressed with it. You've created some really nice effects and sounds, that really keep this piece entertaining, so that not once did I feel bored or twitchy. I particularly enjoyed the cosmic wind effects, that swirl around and gather pace, a little like a roller coaster ride for the mind... cool !! Yeah, this was an interesting and different musical excursion for me, and although I won't be playing it everyday, I will be returning to it at some point for another ride on those cosmic winds. :) Nice one Jez, and thanks again for the opportunity to listen to it. Roy Jackson.

Zeta Reticuli is VERY GOOD!! It is SO good that you should not give it for free! You should release this as a dark ambient cd album! Great ambience! Bakis Sirros, Parallel Worlds

My chum Jez Modulator Creek today passed me his new 74 minute epic “Zeta Reticuli”, a huge swooping analogue-synth tone-scape. Very Zeit era Tangerine Dream in flavour and my favourite Modulator piece to date. Alan Walker, Landschaft

Love this "album" - 2 fine ambient soundscapes. Bert, Phrozenlight - all content copyright 2004 Modulator ESP and Jez Creek
All photos and artwork by Jez Creek unless otherwise stated.