About The Journey
Would you agree that some music requires a few listens before you "get into it"?
The first time you think, yeah it's ok, but on repeated listens something happens, you "learn" the chord structures, discover themes and the music starts to affect you on a deeper level, then you begin to appreciate subtle nuances you hadn't noticed before. Well that's how it is with some of the artists presented in this collection. I often think this is a good sign of music that stands the test of time - instead of being immediately likeable, it grows on you.
There is over 4 hours of music here, and while several of the tracks are from a couple of key artists (my favourites), the overall range of musical styles is fairly wide; mostly modern, ethereal, ambient and electronic, some mild/trance techno, and even one golden oldie from the 60's.
While most is instrumental, there is some lyrical content too. If your tastes are for Classical, Jazz, Heavy Metal, or such like (which I enjoy from time to time), this may not be to your liking! But why not be adventurous and give it a try eh?
On this "journey" you will find references to Stars, Nova's, Planets, Moon, Earth, UFO's, War of the Worlds, Satellites, Sunrises, Apollo missions, the Alien movies. I've tried to choose music that is classy, not tacky. Some tracks are included simply because they are more easy listening and provide light relief from the few wierd, mysterious tracks that are more "out there". Well, we are travelling through deepest, darkest space after all !!
Enjoy the Music (scroll down for Artist info)
About The Artists
The Music Player has been configured so you can visit the website for each Artist by clicking the link to the right of the track name in the track listing. Most of the links are to the official website for the artist, but for some tracks which don't have a dedicated website it is the best resource I could find at the time.
A friend introduced me to Ulrich's music in 2007, and one of the tracks (On My Own) I recognised from the Involver album by DJ Sasha. I really liked that track, and in time I got Ulrich's albums Far Away Trains Passing By, A Strangely Isolated Place and Goodbye. I absolutely love his musical style. Far Away Trains has a very easy listening and simple feel to most of the tracks, but later he developed his style into the very rich, layered, ambient sound of his second and third albums.
Mostly synthesizer keyboards, his production technique gives a grungy, distorted edge to some of his tracks which balances out some of the more "tinkly" sounds he uses. Ulrich is a masterful composer and each of his tracks evolves through the piece and has plenty of depth and feel. Excellent, excellent music from a modern young musician, I have included quite a few of the tracks interspersed throughout this collection.
The track What Are You Looking At comes from the album Fast Asleep. Funki Porcini generally does Jazz Fusion and this particular piece has a very slow lazy feel. Another track from the same album played later in the sequence is called The Great Drive By it has a laid back but powerful bass beat and drum line. Fast Asleep has a complete set of video interpretations one for each track. If you like this style of music I highly recommend trying to get hold of the CD+DVD version as it is another fine example of a combination of video-art and music.
Banco de Gaia
Toby Marks is the sole originator of ambient/ethnic "intelligent techno" band Banco de Gaia, although he has worked with a wide variety of interesting artists. This is another band that I own practically all the albums that were produced. Toby is another genius who creates amazing soundscapes and beautiful original music, crafted with utmost precision and expertise. He is the master of developing beats from something very simple to something amazingly complex, with flourishes and subtle changes that make every listen an absolute treat.
Starstation Earth is the perfect "Space Cowboy" addition to my collection of Astro Music, and demonstrates his ability to build amazing sonic textures and create a journey. I am sure there is also the soundbyte-sample of the "loader" that Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) gets into and uses to fight the mother alien in the 2nd of the Aliens films by Ridley Scott. This is a long track but worth the wait for the end piece where one of Toby's classic beats builds to finish the track.
This piece also makes me think of the film Silent Running with spaceship Valley Forge, and the three little drone robots Huey, Lewey and Dewy who are programmed to help look after huge geodesic glass domes on the spaceship containing the last remaining trees and animals taken from Earth to save them from a nuclear war that has wiped out civilisation.
I am also pleased to have met and spoken with Toby and his wife after one of his gigs in London. A special moment for me after having been a fan for so many years.
This track is a mix I made for a project that I and a fellow astronomer friend created, who also does Computer Generated animation using 3D-Studio Max. It is comprised of various short excerpts from Sasha, Enigma, and Banco de Gaia.
We used this as the background music for a CG animation of 9 sentinel starships that join each other one by one from each planet of our solar system and the Moon, hidden beneath each planets surface for many hundreds of years, but aware of, and watching us. They ascend from each planet and one by one travel to the next planet, joining forces, and group together flying in formation, travelling through space until they reach their destination; Earth.
Upon reaching Earth, they circle around our home planet, and then blast a powerful life-force energy which eradicates the whole of mankind, rebalances the atmosphere and then they slowly depart leaving only a clean, natural planet with all other creatures returned to peace. Yeah right. Anyway that's what this track depicts!
New Moon is a track from Michael Neil's album Syzygy. This is a dark powerful piece of music which conjures up the majesty of the Moon as she gracefully moves around us in the night sky.
BT, short for Brian Transseau, is an eminent musician who has developed a unique modern rhythmic stuttering kind of sound called Circuit Bending for some of the tracks in his amazing album This Binary Universe.
All That Makes Us Human Continues is the opening track to the album, which is another concept album where the music was composed with the visuals in mind too, and so there is a DVD to accompany the CD. Some very interesting and beautiful music, and some fine artistic animations which match the music perfectly. The album is recorded in true 5.1 Surround Sound for a totally immersive experience.
|This Binary Universe taps into BT's classical side, with expansive arrangements and intricate, albeit minimalist, thematic development. From the opening of "All That Makes Us Human Continues," BT reveals himself as a master of Eno-esque melancholy, as simple melodies evolve through an electro-orchestral instrumental palette. Lounge jazz with solos in the key of abstract, plaintive arpeggiated guitars, electro marches, minimalist hymns, and pastoral dreamscapes drive an album that seeks out joy and redemption, but not without traveling through the dark. The last track, "Good Morning Kaia," is a paean to his newborn daughter, and the most purely anthemic track on the disc.
BT creates an immersive space that's less sonic pinball and more audio sculpture, often revealing different aspects of his music than in the stereo mix. Each song on the DVD has a unique video that includes antique robots, surreal landscape drawings, live action fantasies, and abstract designs.
— John Diliberto in Amazon.com
Silence is a track from their album Mosaique. I like this track for its deep spacey feel, making nice use of NASA communications chatter to develop a gentle ambient peaceful, floating soundscape.
Of course we couldn't have a complete musical "space" theme without some reference to War Of The Worlds! We went to see the Jeff Wayne re-make concert based upon the music from the double-album he created back in the 70's, complete with real martian "tripod" on the stage. Awesome visually and musically. This track, Ulladubullah by Papa Ootzie is the opening track on a mixes CD where various artists were invited to create their own interpretations of various pieces from the original album. It was not played in the actual concert, but very quietly in the background while the concert-hall was filling up before the show began. It created quite an intrigueing electric atmosphere because it had a very deep bass, quiet but powerful, yet you couldn't quite make out what the mutterings and other sounds were in the background. This all just served to increase the tension and expectation. Only once I got home did I discover on the CD what this piece was all about.
The Tornadoes - Telstar
This tongue-in-cheek addition called Telstar was about one of the very first man-made communications satellites put into orbit around Earth. This monument in history was celebrated by this piece from the 60's group called The Tornadoes, which became a Number 1 UK & USA hit in the year I was born - 1962. Do you recognise it?
Irmin Schmidt & Bruno Spoerri
Toy Planet is the title track from this 1981 album by Irmin Schmidt. Bear with the slight treblyness of this piece (it was MP3'd from my vinyl collection). This is one of my all time favourites for the wierd-factor. I used to put the headphones on and lie in complete darkness listening to this incredible hypnotic and mesmerising piece of music. From the gentle quiet tinkly in a forest of glass shards, to the powerful choral elements, it holds you in a trance as the Toy Planet advances upon you, sweeps you up, engulfs you and transforms you, and finally, eventually it releases you and recedes into the darkness again.
Everyone must know Enigma? Beautiful enigmatic music by DJ Michael Cretu, there are 3 pieces of music in this collection from one of my all-time favourite bands. Vive Le Roi is from the album Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi. The other pieces are contained in the Space Mixdown described earlier.
If you have any albums from the German grandfathers of electronic music Tangerine Dream, then you might have noticed a little boy on some of their album covers? He is the son of the founder member Edgar Froese. Tangerine Dream have been making music for so many years that the lad has now grown up and is a musician and DJ in his own right. Through The Moving Light is from Jerome's album called Neptunes. I would not say this is a particularly spacey piece, more that its just a pleasant track.
Soundtrack from Myst III: Exile
Did you ever play the Myst and Riven computer games from Cyan and Broderbund Software? I liked them for their intrigueing and sometimes infuriating puzzles, and 360 degree photorealistic scenery of each "Age" in the game. Wonderful and totally absorbing games with excellent atmospheric sounds and music. I included Atrus' Study from the album Exile The Soundtrack, as one of the pieces in this collection because it evokes memories of those strange worlds.
Nova is from the album "July" by Neil Nappe back in 1986. He is a guitarist and this particular piece is played by a guitar synthesizer. In other words the guitar is acting as a MIDI controller to play and control all the sounds of the synth. I think its just a nice slow dreamy track which fits in well with this space theme.
I own practically all the albums by Tangerine Dream. They are to me one of the first and foremost pioneers of German electronic "Berlin-school" sequenced music. TD have been making music since 1967, and still in 2008 they continue to make great music, although of course the band has gone through a few member changes, while Edgar Froese remains as the key founder of the group.
They are famed for their long live sets where often they would compose the music "on the fly". Their more organised concerts would be played incredibly loud with thundering synth basslines, and in the days when lasers were just being developed for use in performances to add some pizaz and colour. As a German band they have that perfectionist technical quality. Personally I prefer their music from the early days with albums like Ricochet, Phaedra and Ruby Con being their peak. Phaedra was Number 1 album in Australia for several weeks.
Ruby Con (from rubicon - The phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has survived to refer to any people committing themselves irrevocably to a risky and revolutionary course of action – and alternatively means "passing the point of no return").
This album is an undisputed classic in the vast Tangerine Dream canon, referenced by many of the new electronica generation. But at the time of its creation, Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and Peter Baumann were themselves young men experimenting with technology. Ruby Con is split into two sections, both of which offer the band's trademark mix of ululating sequencers, ghostly synthetic twilight, and mysterious electronic effects. Part One (not included here) begins with intergalactic whispers, before coalescing into one of the Dream's most uniquely designed rhythm patterns. Part Two (included in this set) moves the sequencers' BPMs up a notch, matching them with whistling electronics and howling, deep space atmospheres. Truly astonishing stuff, and essential to anyone interested in the advancement of both electronic music and Krautrock in general.
Moving on to The Metropolitan Sphere gives you an idea of some of their more recent work. This is the final track on their remix album Dream Mixes 4 which takes various elements of their own music from many years ago, samples from film-soundtracks, and then they remix it to give a complete new sound and feel.
Phil and Paul Hartnoll are the two brothers who make up ORBITAL, a well-known and respected UK Techno band. Out There Somewhere comes from the album Insides, and is one of my Orbital favourites, technically brilliant and with a mysterious edge it uses samples from the Gerry Anderson cult TV program UFO. If you know the TV program then you should recognise the swishing sound which was the signature of the approaching UFO's.
Finally it seems appropriate that Orbital's One Perfect Sunrise is used to complete the whole Astro Music journey by bringing us back to Earth as the new day breaks.
The Realm - Lost In Space
This the title track from the re-make film Lost In Space based on the cult 60's TV show of the same name. Richard Louis Simmonds & Stephen Christopher Jones are The Realm who made this excellent dance track mix, which can be found on the Deeper Shades of Euphoria album Disc 2 mixed by Jay Burnett.
I freely admit that I do not own any copyright or license to play this music. This is my own non-commercial personal interest website. If an artist or copyright owner objects please let me know and I will remove your music from the Player. I have included this music selection because I personally get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.
My intention is simply to provide some background entertainment, and introduce new music to my visitors.
If people enjoy this "musical preview" sufficiently, then I would encourage them to buy their own copy of the track(s)/album(s) they like. I have compressed the sound files considerably to reduce server bandwidth, so there is slight degradation of quality, which buying an original CD of the music would overcome.
Also, in this modern world where so many people seem to expect everything on the Internet to be FREE, I would hope that listeners realise the importance of supporting and showing their appreciation of musicians, by purchasing their own CD/download from the relevant artists website, or a music retailer.
I have tried to prevent direct access downloads of the actual music files, and would hope you will enjoy listening to it ONLY in the provided Music Player! If people abuse this I will remove the music entirely.