Artist: subtractiveLAD
Album: The Second Foundation

Label: self-released
Released: 13 August 2023

The Second Foundation Stephen Hummel
Stephen Hummel has had great success releasing a diverse range of music under the name subtractiveLAD. Traversing the New Age, Ambient, Techno and Spacemusic realms his works harness technology in service to an honest curiosity and desire for expression. For this Star's End commission Hummel created a completely new work meant to transpire over the course of an entire 60 minute program segment. Pondering an ambitious, long-form, sequencer-based project for years, Hummel realizes fully his ambition in The Second Foundation (airing 08.13.23) as part of Star's End Space Camp 2023

Ahead of the premiere airing of The Second Foundation Star's End host Chuck van Zyl interviewed Stephen Hummel to gain insight into his process, motivation and ideals.


Chuck van Zyl: Is the title The Second Foundation a reference to the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov?

Stephen Hummel: Yes!! I am a huge Asimov fan. I have read all of his Foundation books, and thought it would be a fun tie-in to the track being written specifically for Star's End... because, according to the story, that is where Second Foundation can be found. I also felt that the piece has the feel of a cosmic journey throughout its hour-long length... perhaps a journey listeners may take to find Second Foundation at Star's End?


Chuck: Is your The Second Foundation a live recording, done in one take?

Stephen: I had considered approaching this piece as a performance piece, but my concept ended up developing into something more ambitious than what could be achieved in one live take. I ultimately felt that, since my schedule permitted, I would make the arrangement more sophisticated than what I could achieve playing it live straight through. So after a couple weeks of false-starts and dead-ends, I finally was able to construct a fairly complicated sequencer arrangement as a "foundation" (haha) to build on.

My goal was to limit the number of instruments to four analog synths and really focus on a few core elements. I established a mix flexible enough to allow each instrument to rise and fall, come and go and weave around each other. The sonic interest would be found in the complex layering of evolving sequencer patterns winding out in various levels of density and energy, such that The Second Foundation requires about an hour to fully express itself.

I conceptualized, performed and recorded The Second Foundation in my home studio over the last two weeks of June 2023. It's scheduled to be released following being aired on the 13 August 2023 broadcast of Star's End.


Chuck: What other insights can you give us into the realization of The Second Foundation?

Stephen: I have contemplated doing an ambitious, long-form, sequencer-based project for years. It was the invitation to produce a new work for Star's End Space Camp 2023 that finally got my mind and hands moving on this dream.

I'm pretty proud of the piece. It feels like it reaches that amazing zone the Berlin-School knows so well... and delivers into the mind of the listener the feeling of moving outward, of traveling great distances, at great speed - floating thoughtfully in a spaceship as it races across the galaxy. Yet, for its duration we remain physically on the planet surface, quite safe and still in our listening space...


Please tune in to the 08.13.23 broadcast of Star's End Ambient Radio for the premiere of The Second Foundation, the previously unreleased new work by subtractiveLAD - realized especially for Star's End Space Camp 2023.


- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   10 August 2023

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