space music

Space Music: Space Mixes with DJ Cheeba

Outer space features prominently in quite a few DJ mixes. To explore the connection between the cosmos and the turntables, I decided to reach out to two of the hottest DJs on the decks today. Up first, it's the U.K.'s DJ Cheeba, a regular contributor to NinjaTune's Solid Steel Radio and creator of its 2008 mix of the year, "DJ Cheeba Investigates." Strap on your headphones and prepare for a mini-interview full of sci-fi geekery and killer beats.

Space Music: The Artist Behind SolarBeat

We live in a musical universe. The waves and patterns are all there; we have but to translate them into sound. Such was the case with the recording made by Voyager I and II, and the latest example can be found online in the form of SolarBeat, a flash-based musical tool with a cosmic twist. Created by UK musician, artist and graphic designer Luke Twyman, SolarBeat takes the movements of the sun's orbital bodies and merges it with the concept of an old-timey music box. As each planet completes a revolution, it "rings" an imaginary metal tine. In this post, SolarBeat creator Luke Twyman of Neverest Songs takes a moment to answer a few questions about this little slice of Space Music .

Space Music: Sun Ra and Afrofuturism

It's Black History Month, so is there a better time to discuss the space music of Sun Ra? Stick to the facts and you have in Herman Poole Blount (Ra's birth name) a highly prolific and influential black musician. Take the artist at his word and you have a being from another planet, come to Earth to save us with a message of cosmic liberation. As always, it's best to tread a middle path between the reality and the myth. In this post we'll explore Sun Ra's origins and contributions, as well as just what Afrofuturism is all about. So don your favorite space robe and light-up Egyptian headpiece because we've quite the celestial crash course ahead of us.

Space Music: Parliament Funkadelic and the P-Funk Mothership

At this point in the Space Music series, we must turn our attention to the P-Funk Mothership AKA the Holy Mothership. You probably know this as the vaguely Apollo-esque UFO that P-funk icon George Clinton emerged from onstage during live performances of Parliament Funkadelic. But it is so much more. Click into the funk to you'll get a crash course in the mythology, as well as tie-ins to actual science.

Space Music: Cory McAbee, Stingray Sam and the Space Musical

As we continue our voyage through space music, I thought it might be time to discuss space musicals. For my money, we just don't have enough song and dance pictures set amid the stars -- and there's an even greater dearth of musicals concerning the exploits of cowboy/roughneck astronauts. I speak of Cory McAbee: writer, director and star of "The American Astronaut" and 2009's "Stingray Sam."

Space Music: Johannes Kepler has an Opera

I can't say I expected my next Space Music post to revolve around an opera, but here we are. And yes, I mean an honest-to-god opera. Not a pulp-fueled Star Warsian "space opera" and not even a science fiction opera like the L.A. Opera's adaptation of "The Fly." We're talking ladies in Viking helmets. The latest opera from living musical legend Philip Glass centers on the life of noted 16th century astronomer Johannes Kepler. The opera's title? "Kepler." What a minimalist, eh?

Space Music: Carl Sagan - "A Glorious Dawn"

In another installment of space music, I have to help spread the word about this marvelous audiovisual creation by John Boswell, AKA melodysheep of Color Pulse Music. What he's done here is take samples and footage from Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" and Stephen Hawking's "Universe" and mixed it all into a musical tribute. What might have come off as parody in the hands of a lesser artist really conveys a sense of cosmological awe and wonder.

Space Music: Symphonies of the Planets

In this Space Music post, we'll discuss "Symphonies of the Planets," the five-volume collection of ambient space drone music released in 1992 by Lasterlight Records. Plus we'll also discuss new-age nerd goddess Fiorella Terenzi, the glittering Italian astrophysics diva that Time Magazine dubbed a cross between Carl Sagan and Madonna. Cosmic mystery AND European sex appeal? Yep, its all in this epic doubleheader of a post.

Space Music: Desert Island Albums in Orbit

I think we all love playing the desert island game with books, movies and albums from time to time. You know the deal: "If you had to spend the rest of your life on a desert island, which three titles would you want with you?" I thought today might be a good opportunity to take a cosmic spin on the idea and imagine ourselves trapped on the International Space Station. Here's the key stipulation: You can only pick from the books and albums ALREADY in orbit. The good folks over at filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and received an official listing of all the books, movies, TV shows and albums in the ISS library. Hey, astronauts need to unwind too.

Space Music: Chill Out with Astronauts and Ambient Music

I know what you're thinking: Isn't there away to stay on the cutting edge of NASA's space missions while ALSO pumping hours of ambient electronic music into your brain? Now there is, as popular Internet radio station SomaFM has unveiled a new channel "Mission Control." So plug in your ear buds, grab that DVD of "2001" and prepare to drift off into deep space.