Hellscape (2023)

Percussion Quartet
Recording Coming Soon

Duration: 12 minutes | Composed: 2023 | Commissioned by Percussion Australia | Permiered by Synergy Percussion | World Premiere: ACO Pier 2/3 March 2023 | Recording: Coming Soon.

“Hellscape” is a word more often encountered when talking about the speculated realms of the afterlife. There is however an existing, real place that is much closer to actually embodying the apocalyptic landscape of hell, and it’s current distance from earth is only 225 million kilometers away. Venus sits right on the inside edge of the ‘habitable zone’ of our solar system. Earth, of course, is in the center of this zone, and Mars sits just on the other side. In an energetic article written by Brian Resnick he brings into focus just how different earth and Venus are, despite the fact that 1) Venus may very well have once been like earth is now; and 2) both planets exist within the habitable zone of our solar system:

“It’s really almost entertainingly, comically horrible, like some sort of cosmic deity had a really, really grumpy day and just went ‘Nope, I’m gonna ruin this planet,’

“[the author] compares it to being in a pressure cooker a mile underwater. “If you stood on the surface, you would be pancaked and you would melt,” “Your eyes would explode due to the pressure””

“They were made at the same time and made of the same stuff, yet Venus is apocalyptic and awful in every possible way. Earth is a paradise”.

For my part, while Venus might represent the ideal “Hellscape”, it’s all too close a reminder of how precious our remarkable blue and green globe is, and how volatile a planet’s environment really is.

While this piece explores the obvious aspects of a hostile and confronting environment, it also became an opportunity to delve into the intensity, and horrifying beauty of such a place, and the odd desire we have for imagining and experiencing the pull towards how it would look and feel.


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