This year, a playfully untraditional MP3 blog called LYFSTYL and an experimental psychedelic film company called Synesthesiae Films decided to create Celestial Summer, a compilation inspired by free ambient sounds released by NASA in decades past. These sounds aurally capture the electromagnetic activity of distant planets and celestial bodies, including those from the planet Jupiter and from blazars, blazing compact quasars.
“I first heard about the NASA space sounds through a friend who did not tell me what we were listening to,” recalls LYFSTYL founder, Mwinyi Topping. “I presumed it was weird electronic music I found creepy but after I found out what made the sounds, I liked them.”
The 15-track mix invited electronic and experimental musicians to pay homage to space exploration through their own interpretations of it. Celestial Summer includes everything from the vocal-driven and dynamic “Quaid” by Teeel to the minimal and aptly-named “floating” by Ricky Eat Acid and the jazzy “Sunlight Shivers” by Baby Sloth Spirit. And with track names like sc49’s “Dream Of An Extraterrestrial Orgasm,” Summer Heart’s “Girl From The Moon,” or Yojimbo Billions’ “Interstellar Love Letter,” it is clear that each band has varied interpretations of what space is or expectations as to how mankind’s understanding of it will ultimately fare. Nonetheless, what unites every band is a deep curiosity about the mysteries of the great unknown.
“I think space is beautiful because it’s easy to romanticize it,” says Ricky Eats Acid. “As a concept, it’s perfect; it’s easy to imagine anything in space. Books, movies, [and] even children’s television shows explore this idea, and I don’t think people are going to stop being fascinated with it, perhaps because it’s unlikely anyone will ever know even a fraction of what actually does or even what could exist in space.”
Yojimbo Millions hints at the answers which might lie in space exploration, saying, “Through it, we can discover the origins of time, and maybe the appropriate question to go with the answer to life, the universe, and everything.”
“We’re all a small part of the big picture… [space] fuels up everyone’s imagination like crazy, and it has been doing so for years,” adds Bruno Miguel of :papercutz. He explains why Celestial Summer explores an appropriate theme, saying, “Music being an escapism art form, it’s a perfect marriage to these types of contexts.”
With such a fascinating theme, it was relatively easy for LYFSTYL and Synesthesiae Films to find participants. “The only difficult part was deciding who we want on the compilation because there are so many talented musicians out there,” explains Topping. “I think everyone we contacted found the concept interesting and a challenge, so naturally, they gravitated towards it.”
“I approached the project from a totally conceptual angle; several members of my family work at NASA, and I know a lot of people concerned with the scientific or other factual aspects of space. I think that part of it is really fascinating, but I wanted to go the opposite direction and try and create something that would feel (to me at least) like what floating around in space might feel like. I don’t mean floating around inside the space shuttle, or walking on the moon, but floating forever through space without anyone or anything to keep me company. It’s something that I’ve always liked to imagine — even just the idea of floating, in general.”
— Ricky Eat Acid
“I’ve always been fascinated with Aliens and the vastness. I can’t wait to live on another planet. I watched one of my favorite sci-fi flicks, Total Recall, and was completely inspired to write a song about Quaid’s experience.”
“Supplied with Neptune sounds from NASA recordings, myself and Bartosz Dziadosz (aka Pleq) decided we didn’t want to fully portrait the planet’s sound (in a musique concrete kind of way) but create an imaginary soundtrack, blurring the recordings in our signature sounds and creating this short narrative as a soundtrack to what would someone experience by visiting the planet and getting lost in its surroundings and sights.”
“I started LYFSTYL in August 2010… because I thought blogs started to get too commercial and started to post way too much Top 40 or only [material from] the same artists. To me, they seemed to forget about the little guy who has lots of talent but just cant get his name out there. Basically, I created LYFSTYL to share music I found interesting or music that made me think about life. I firmly believe if the music you are listening to cannot touch your soul, you’re not listening to the right music. Music, to me, is the international language of humans. You can have 10 people in the room of different backgrounds who speak different languages that can become friends over music. This can be proven by the visitors all over the world who visit our site daily who all share a love for music. I chose the name LYFSTYL because I felt that the people coming to my site dont just pop on it for a random song; they search through the archives to find cool songs, which I still do on other websites daily. Since finding awesome music takes hours, it becomes a daily ritual which basically is now a part of your everyday life [and] makes it a LYFSTYL.”
— Mwinyi Topping, LYFSTYL’s founder
about synesthesiae films
“Synesthesiae Films is committed to bringing you the best in good electronic music and artists along with a psychedelic visual experience to produce a somewhat euphoric effect for all the tripping kids out there.”
Fascinating recording of Jupiter sounds (electromagnetic “voices”) by NASA-Voyager. The complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the solar wind, planetary magnetosphere etc. create vibration “soundscapes”. It sounds very interesting, even scary.
Jupiter is mostly composed of hydrogen and helium. The entire planet is made of gas, with no solid surface under the atmosphere. The pressures and temperatures deep in Jupiter are so high that gases form a gradual transition into liquids which are gradually compressed into a metallic “plasma” in which the molecules have been stripped of their outer electrons. The winds of Jupiter are a thousand metres per second relative to the rotating interior. Jupiter’s magnetic field is four thousand times stronger than Earth’s, and is tipped by 11° degrees of axis spin. This causes the magnetic field to wobble, which has a profound effect on trapped electronically charged particles. This plasma of charged particles is accelerated beyond the magnetosphere of Jupiter to speeds of tens of thousands of kilometres per second. It is these magnetic particle vibrations which generate some of the sound you hear on this recording.