Space Music: Earth Music... on Titan

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Travel to Saturn’s frozen moon of Titan and you’ll discover lakes of liquid methane, thick smog clouds and exactly 13 minutes and 46 seconds worth of Earth music.

Back in 1997, French musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haeri composed four tracks to place aboard ESA’s Titan-bound Huygens probe, which would in turn make the seven-year journey board NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Dubbed “Music2Titan,” the EP breaks down as follows: 

1. Lalala: A rock instrumental celebrating the scientists who made the trip possible.

2. Bald James Deans: Another rock track, this time marking the separation between the Cassini spacecraft and the Huygens probe.

3. Hot Time: Probably the best track on Titan, this psychedelic rock instrumental represents the mysteries of moon’s surface.

4. No Love: A melancholic, Philip K. Dick-inspired piece about humanity’s eventual exodus to other worlds.

“Music2Titan” landed in 2005, but still hasn’t found an audience among possible Titanian life forms. Earthlings, however, can sample the tracks and purchase them on Amazon and iTunes.

But  there are other musical means of exploring our future amid the stars. Let’s look at few couple of them…

“Possible Sounds of Möbius” by Sistema

Inspired by the likes of Boards of Canada, the Human League* and Tangerine Dream, Spanish electronic artist Manel Ruíz Lens AKA Sistema collects a decade’s worth of his sonic creations in this 2012 release. Tracks like “Observatorio de stars” take the listener on an escalating journey through the cosmos. Other tracks range from ambient and dreamy to dirty, retro electronica. You can stream the whole album through Spain’s Playground Magazine:

“Drokk” by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury

We suffered one Judge Dredd movie back in 1995 and we’re slated to endure another one later this year. In the meantime Geoff Barrow (of Portishead fame) and composer Ben Salisbury have given us “Drokk: Music Inspired by Mega-City One.” Heavily inspired by the synthtastic sci-fi of such films as “Terminator” and “John Carpenter’s The Thing,” the album serves as dark, brooding soundtrack for a non-existent grim-dark “2000 AD” film. It’s wonderful background music you’re your latest sci-fi read, Dredd or otherwise. Fittingly enough for this post, one of the tracks is called “Titan Bound.” Preview the whole album via Band Camp:

<a href=”http://drokk.bandcamp.com/album/drokk-music-inspired-by-mega-city-one” _mce_href=”http://drokk.bandcamp.com/album/drokk-music-inspired-by-mega-city-one”>Drokk: Music inspired by Mega-City One by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury</a>

 

The Sci-Fi Sounds of Alan Howarth

Ah, but why not go right back to the source? Barrow and Salisbury clearly have a rich appreciation for the work of soundtrack and sound design legend Alan Howarth. The man’s sound design credits include “Total Recall” and the first six “Star Trek” movies, but he’s most beloved for his soundtrack collaborations with John Carpenter on such films as “Escape From New York” and “Big Trouble in Little China.”

Howarth’s music is widely available for purchase online — including this excellent collection of various sci-fi blip and beeps from his sound design work. If you can find it, his Resident Adviser mix from 2010 is amazing.

Howarth also occasionally packs up his gear for a live performance or two. Here he is performing the “Escape From New York” soundtrack live at the 2011 Unsound Festival in New York:

 

* Did you know that The Human League took their name from a faction in the space war board game “Starforce: Alpha Centauri?”

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