What would be your soundtrack for space?

Here is an answer, from three female artists who made a field trip to Houston, Texas and took two years to construct this response.

We are three people who make work from our surroundings. We chose space because it’s the ultimate surrounding and because we love the glamour of  human attempts to navigate it. Our work is made from samples and improvisations, visually and sonically. We interviewed astronauts, hung out with a mission controller, a rocket scientist, and spent a long time on line gathering raw stuff.

When interviewed, all the astronauts at different moments apologised for a lack of poetry in their accounts of what the experience of space travel meant to them existentially. They distinctly described themselves as not being artists or poets.

Do they need to be?  Do we require anyone to articulate space for us? Or is it simply enough to see and hear it remotely?   Our work is impressionistic sonic cartoons driven by the enthusiasm many human beings feel for space ventures.  Made in episodes, because that was how we managed to collaborate over time and distance, each piece grew like a  crystal. We made them and then had to put them together in a click response environment. The site works like a form of archival space related television, but some of it is an instrument you can play.

Like astronauts we constantly had to endure weight allowances,  so file sizes are optimized and lean but they still might take some minutes of your time to appear.

In contrast to the digital aesthetics of the net we also  made this vinyl picture disk as a work mate to the site. It rocks. It’s also annette works first collaboration and first vinyl release.

Oh, you might also like to know some of the questions we asked the astronauts ……

What does it sound like, going there, being there, coming home?

What music did you take with you to listen to when you were not working?

Each astronaut is selected from eight thousand candidates within the fields of science and the military. We were curious about who these people might be and thought that discovering the music they liked, would reveal something about them. Their responses actually revealed more about their chosen occupation. Astronauts have very little time up there to listen to anything recreationally, they snatch glimpses of earth from the window while they eat some lunch between heavy science schedules, maintenance and engineering. Their life support systems create a constant ambience of around 70 decibels, which NASA have recognised as officially unhealthy and damaging to astronauts hearing in the long term.

The most specific responses to the question of what music did you take to space included Joan Baez and Johnny Cash, the American Airlines Easy Listening Classical compilation, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D and none.  One small token of musical respite actually comes from Mission Control to wake astronauts up in the morning. Each crew member’s family are permitted to select a piece of music which is transmitted from ground to space. We were listening to Columbia’s wake up interactions before the accident and made a piece from it. We also sampled the jukebox in the official NASA local, made an astronaut dream at 70 decibels, improvised around ideas on internal/external spaces, on nothing(there is no sound that we human animals can hear in space of course) and with live electronic activity from space transmitted via huge radios, and were so inspired by the hairdos zero gravity creates  that we made hair instruments. And more.

Basically we played with the areas that most intrigued us. You’ll hear some of them on this album and get even more  from http://www.weightlessanimals.com