Space Music: John C. Lilly & Art Department


"Natural Selection" by Art Department No.19 Music

If you've listened to STBYM over the years, you've probably picked up on our fascination with John C. Lilly (1915-2001), the American physician and neuroscientist best known for his often-controversial research into the nature of consciousness. His 1960s work with dolphins and his overall advocacy for their intelligence had a profound impact on the way we view this remarkable species.

However, his work became increasingly focused on psychedelics, isolation tanks and alien communications in the astral plane, pushing his reputation increasingly toward the fringe despite his many contributions to such fields as biophysics, neurophysiology, electronics and computer science.

In their 2014 album "Natural Selection," Canadian electronic duo Art Department makes excellent usage of Lilly's words in their track "The Agent," which you can experience via the music service of your choice (SoundCloud, Spotify, Amazon, etc.) or in this spaced-out video by Pantelis Spyratos:

In a similar vein, YouTube user Robbie Jack mixed the same Lilly lecture with the excellent ambient track "The Things I Tell You" by Biosphere. You'll find the music on Biosphere's classic 1997 album "Substrata." Here's the video:


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.