Posts Tagged: ‘space music’

Fancy an upbeat indie folk album inspired by the periodic table of elements?

Well then let me introduce you to Magic Missile, based out of Athens, Ga. Their 2010 album “I’ll Careful” features tracks about hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, helium, beryllium, oxygen and carbon — in addition to a few more tracks less-grounded in organic chemistry.

Oh, and just to cement its belonging in a space music post, there’s also a track called “Comet Time” with some lovely lyrics about the Ort cloud and cosmic collisions.

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In this edition of Space Music we’ve got two stunning examples of cosmic sonification (space data transformed into sound data) and one really cool music video from Alphabet’s Heaven that at least kicks off with a shot of the moon. I think that’s enough to merit a post.

So let’s kick things off.

Buddhist Stars
This project comes to us from Astrophysicist Lucianne Walkowicz, who weaves her music with sonified data from the planet-hunting Kepler mission…

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“People think that mathematics is complicated. Mathematics is the simple bit, it’s the stuff we CAN understand. It’s cats that are complicated.”

That’s a quote from mathematician John Horton Conway (as you’ll see in the video below), the man responsible for a fantastic bit of cellular automation called The Game of Life. Conway developed the zero-player game back in 1970 to test the notion that life’s complexity arises from very simple rules.

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While lesser rappers carry on about guns and money (snore), other minds spin with true lyrical creativity. I’m talking about so-called “alternative hip-hop” artists such as Busdriver, MF Doom and of course Del the Funky Homosapien.

I’ve covered cosmic hip-hop in Space Music posts before, but Del’s work with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala really stands out as the cream of the cosmic crop. Dubbed Deltron 3030, the trio’s self-titled 2000 concept album is nothing short of epic.

Let’s explore…

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SomaFM has you hook-up for space music. First launched in February 2000, this San Francisco-based Internet radio station continues to deliver commercial-free, listener-supported content that you just can’t find anywhere else. They currently deliver 22 channels of music to more than 5.8 million listeners around the world through their website and thoroughly awesome mobile app. You’ve also probably seen some of the cool SomaFM swag that listeners purchase to help support the station.I’ve praised SomaFM in past Space Music posts, but I figured it was high time I chatted with its General Manager, Program Director and Founder Rusty Hodge. Let’s see what he has to share with us…

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I probably listened to “The Hearts of Space” for the first time back in the early 90s during a family beach vacation. I was surfing the local radio stations late one night and suddenly found myself listening to music unlike anything I’d heard before.

A couple of decades later, my musical tastes have caught up with that first taste of ethereal electronic goodness — and Hearts of Space is still going strong. I figured a Space Music post about HOS was long overdue, so I reached out to Stephen Hill for a brief interview.

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If you’re a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, your fondest memories probably revolve around classic film riffs and the show’s surprisingly believable cast of humans, robots, apes, aliens and mole people.

Yet MST3K was also a very musical show, full of comical songs and endless jokes at the expense of cheesy film scores. And since all of this took place aboard an orbital space station, I thought a chat with MST3K creator and Cinematic Titanic rifer Joel Hodgson was in order.

Joel was kind enough to take a break from crafting riffs on “The Doll Squad” (set to debut live, July 5 in Ann Arbor, MI) and wrapping up Riff Camp 2012 to chat with me on such diverse topic as the maker culture of Gizmonic Institute and the power of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

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While the wait for Dr. Dre’s “Planets” album will likely drag out in aeons, founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA forges ahead with plans to release his own space-based hip-hop album. As this Wall Street Journal article nicely outlines, GZA has teamed up with Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and violinist Marco Vitali to “strip bare” the planets and essentially justify the ways of physics to man.

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A master of soundtracks for imaginary motion pictures, Eno originally produced the 1983 album “Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks” to score the nearly-imaginary documentary “For All Mankind.” The final film didn’t come out till 1989 and by then the score had come to include additional Eno tracks and the work of other artists.

You can read more about “For All Mankind” over at the Criterion Collection, but let’s turn back to Eno’s “Apollo. ” You’ve almost certainly heard the track “An Ending (Ascent)” off the album, especially since its ethereal beauty underlies the brutal violence of such films as “28 Days Later” and “Drive.”

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Travel to Saturn’s frozen moon of Titan and you’ll discover lakes of liquid methane, thick smog clouds and exactly 13 minutes and 46 seconds worth of Earth music.

Back in 1997, French musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haeri composed four tracks to place aboard ESA’s Titan-bound Huygens probe, which would in turn make the seven-year journey board NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Dubbed “Music2Titan,” the EP breaks down as follows:

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