A conversation with Dwight Loop will probably include references to the new Prophet 12 polyphonic synthesizer, MIDI triggers, contact mics, and the ARP 2600 modular analog synthesizer (which helped give voice to R2-D2 in Star Wars). He might also mention “The Beam,” an instrument custom-made by his friend, composer Michael Stearns; Loop described it as “a long, stringed instrument that has a lot of pickups and sounds like some monstrous creature coming out of the earth.”
The Beam has its own place in filmography, playing an integral role in Stearns’ soundtrack for the 1985 IMAX film Chronos (directed by Ron Fricke). Loop hopes Stearns will perform on a 12-foot version of the instrument at the (re)launching party for Loop’s long- but intermittently-running radio show, Earwaves. The party, dubbed the Earwaves Electronic & Experimental Music Festival, takes place Saturday, Oct. 19, at the newly completed Lumenscape Studios in Budaghers (formerly the New Mexico Outlet Center).