What is ALTAiR?
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What is ALTAiR?

ALTAiR is an electronically-oriented band. We write music using computers and synthesizers. Our main focus is to create music that tells a story or evokes a particular mood. We use a variety of sounds ranging from natural samples to completely new synthesized tones. ALTAiR is based in Tacoma, Washington (USA).

Computer music is the new frontier of sound. Just like a piano or guitar is an instrument, the computer is an instrument in its own right, capable of generating tones only possible through its circuitry. It is able to precisely time every single moment of sound, and perfectly align every rhythm. Once a sound is created mathematically in the computer, it can be reproduced exactly over and over again. That is why ALTAiR has chosen the computer as our instrument of choice. We have dreams of sounds that cannot be made any other way.

It is difficult to explain ourselves in words, as our music is not about words. It is about emotion, vision, and intellect. It is about the feelings you feel in happiness and solitude. ALTAiR is about communicating through sound. We use words only when necessary, and never to state the obvious.

The end of creativity

To some, the computer represents the end of musical creativity. In many ways, it does. However, the problem lies in the type of program and how it is used. If the computer is used to merely copy already existing sounds, then its potential is wasted. The true power of the computer as it relates to music is its ability to create new sounds from scratch, using pure waveforms and pure math. Simply playing samples and plunking down prefab beats is the reason the computer has a bad reputation as a lazy musician's tool. Samples are very useful, but one should always try to invent new directions whenever possible.


The music of ALTAiR is not intended to be cutting edge. It is not intended to be retro. It is what we make of it, what we felt when writing it, and it will be what you feel when listening to it. ALTAiR is general-purpose music, designed to fit a wide variety of circumstances. It can be described as "listening music." Try to picture the image contained in the songs. Every tiny nuance lends another key facet of the whole. There is no point in attempting to address the "big picture" in our music, as there isn't one, at least not an intended one. We don't pretend to be huge philosophers or visionaries. The music of ALTAiR is about the grand landscapes of the mind. It is about the universe, and the stars. It is an experimental analysis of our local world.


While most people consider music to convey an emotion, it is possible to have a song evoke a response that is not emotional, but a response nonetheless. Most music has tones of emotion such as happiness, sadness, anger, etc. But another type of feeling is present in some music. It is the sense of "intellect." Many ambient and trance style songs posess this type of feeling. It has been the goal of ALTAiR since the beginning to produce songs of this nature. While we don't limit ourselves exclusively to this format, it is a constant theme.

It is difficult to demonstrate what the "intellect" response is. Perhaps it could be said that a song that generates a visual image in the listener's mind is "intellect" music. Although this type of music is generally emotionless, it is still full of feeling and passion. "Intellect" music can tell a story or build a scene. It CAN create emotion, but it is not about emotion. It is pure thought, pure sound.

Check out "Celeste" in the Songs section for one of ALTAiR's "Intellect" music attempts.


You may be wondering, WTF is "ShadowSynth"?? Quite simply put... It's in your face hair raising goose bumping ear melting stomach pumping testicle vibrating demon screaming heart stopping backseat knocking bass drum pounding brooding sounding something eerie dark and scary big and hairy angel freaking devil leaking bad boy big time brawling kind of ruff'n'tumble kick 'em when they're down sort of dark shadow synthica sounds you hear in your head WHEN



Shadowsynth is our definition of ALTAiR - From dark and sinister riffs to airy upbeat melodies, we slide through the spectrum of the mind. The music of ALTAiR is a manifestation of the culture that embraces technology, a generation who was raised immersed in an electronic world. Our minds were formed amongst hackers, crackers, techno-punks and slackers. We are the new geeks of the new frontier. Welcome to the future - the cyberpunks have come of age...


ALTAiR, the star

The name "ALTAiR" is derived from the star of the same name. Altair, or Alpha Aquilae, is the 11th brightest star in the sky. It is not very bright relative to other stars [about 10 times that of the sun] but it is rather close, being a mere 17 light years away. In comparison, Vega, which appears twice as bright as Altair, is 25 light years away.

ALTAiR, the computer [MITS]

Oh yeah, the name "Altair" could not be mentioned without this beauty coming up in the conversation. It definitely falls into the category of collectible antique. Those of you who remember this computer probably think fondly as I do of the bygone days when the average geek could build a powerful and impressive electronic calculator in thier basement. Trip to Radio Shack, anyone?