Star music. (Darren Hopes /Digital Vision/Getty)
Ah, the music of the spheres! I’ve blogged previously on the sonification of space physics data, ranging from stuff as low-key as the SolarBeat flash-based music box to the University of Sheffield’s own “solar music.” Now here’s another one.
NPR’s Studio 360 recently aired an excellent story on a blind astrophysicist named Wanda Diaz which really drives home some excellent points about how we listen to the cosmos. You can stream the full audio piece (as well as a short excerpt of astronomical data converted into synthesized music) right here at the Studio 360 home page. Here’s an excerpt:
I love the sonification of space data as at the very least it garners the sort of attention from casual readers/listeners that a typical space story won’t. But I’d never really thought about the fact that while the sounds produced by the cosmos are not “real,” they’re no less “real” than the charts and graphics we create make visual sense of outer space.
As for the pop music, consider this interesting BBC News story. Pimping a bifocal and all the bearing of a Hogwarts faculty member, 88-year-old amateur astronomer and TV personality Sir Patrick Moore has contributed vocals to a track by musician Carl Cape. Described as a “cosmic rock song,” the song “Glittering Sky” incorporates spoken word material from Moore about the millions of starts visible above the Northumberland countryside. You can listen to the track right here or buy it on iTunes.
And how about a nice spacey mix to close out the post? If you’re up for an ambient journey through the outer dark, give The Black Dog’s “Alien Symmetry” mix a listen. It was the 81st episode of the Bodytonic Podcast last May and it features the likes of Brian Eno, Fever Ray, Autechre, Coil and Jarvis Cocker.