Space Music: The Ballad of Roy Batty, Blanck Mass


Tears in Rain. Warner Bros./Archive Photos/Getty

If your listening tastes, like mine, lean towards electronic-heavy, futuristic DJ mixes, then I'm sure you've heard a Roy Batty sample or two in your music.

You'll remember Rutger Hauer' Batty as the vicious, philosophic replicant from 1982's "Blade Runner" -- and he has a number of killer lines in the film, from "I want more life, f*****" to "Fiery the angels fell. Deep thunder rolled around their shoulders... burning with the fires of Orc."

And of course he has the iconic "Tears in Rain" monologue, which the band Grumbling Fur transformed into song for their 2013 album "Glynnaestra." It might seem a tad silly at first, but in the wake of so much "Blade Runner" sample overkill, it really strikes the perfect tone. One can imagine Batty crooning this infectious, gothy number in 2019 Los Angeles -- and then gouging someone's eyes out, probably. He has issues.

That's not meant to disparage Batty samples. One of my favorite Distance tracks, "Radical," makes fine usage of the troubled replicant's words -- as does James Lavelle's remix of Radiohead's "Everything in it's Right Place."

Also, I recently featured the music of Blanck Mass here and I feel I should give a stronger recommendation for his 2011 self-titled album. It contains some wonderful, glittering ambient soundscapes. Give it a listen, and also try out his recent RA Podcast mix.

You'll find most of these tracks added to the Space Music Spotify playlist "A Space Music Sampler."


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.