Space Music: Monoton, Galactic Nightmare


Becker on the stage. Image via Juno Download

As our sonic voyage through cosmos continues, let us first consider the deep, hypnotic soundscapes of Monoton.

Monoton is the work of Austrian interdisciplinary communication researcher Karl Becker. For decades, he's kept his hands busy in just about every aspect of electronic media (virtual reality, art on the early World Wide Web, etc.), but his musical accomplishments alone secure him a place in the history books. You'll often see his name thrown in their with other great European electronic music pioneers of the 20th century, though Monoton tends more toward the experimental side of things.

While some critics single out 1982's "Monotonprodukt07" as his seminal accomplishment, I've really been enjoying "Blau - Monotonprodukt 02 26y++," a remastered version of his 1980 album "Monotonprodukt 02." The track "Ein Wort" is especially soothing and embyronic, pulling the listener into a warm, liquid womb of nostalgia. Let's have a listen:

And, to give you a comparison, here's the track "Soundsequence" off of "Monotonprodukt07," which is also quite excellent:

If this at all sounds like your sort of vibe, I implore you to dive deeper. You can stream Becker's core Monoton releases on Spotify and purchase them at all the major sellers, including Amazon.

Galactic Nightmare

Finally, DJ Food has a great post about a wonderful bit of 1980s space music: a cassette release from Alan Jefferson titled "Galactic Nightmare," full of spacey synth, sci-fi narration in the vein of "War of the Worlds" and more than a little cheese.

(Trunk Records)

I think the original cassette art gives you a wonderful idea of what this "Science Fiction Musical" is all about. The music ranges from the dreamy to the down-right ridiculous, but it's always fun. I mean just look at that font. Just look at those glorious space bugs and their lasers of death. It's not the sort of thing you'll listen to all the time, but it's a journey everyone should take once.

Trunk Records just re-released the album and you can stream it on Spotify.

Let's have a taste before you commit to all 98 minutes of cosmic cheese glory:


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.