Stellardrone is the musical pseudonym of Lituanian composer Edgaras Žakevičius, who began making music in 2007. Cosmic Sunrise comes off his second release Sublime released in 2010. He began recording in his late 20s, and though he has amassed an impressive slate of releases and has made all of them available for free both on Bandcamp and the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license. His most recent release was released under the same arrangement, although it is connected to the netlabel Energostatic Records. As somebody also recording music and releasing it for free, it’s cool to see someone producing such high-quality work as an enthusiastic amateur. The current of astronomy and space exploration run through his work, which makes me wonder if his day job involves professional stargazing, in which case, he has put together a heck of a soundtrack. He composes primarily on the computer, and it seems to be a bedroom project of sorts, though there are pictures of him playing online. If you enjoy this piece, I’d encourage you to listen to the rest of his material, especially A Moment of Stillness.
Most of these posts are meant to pretty relevant regardless of when some future person might stumble upon them, but this one has got a tinge of urgency because Gap Dream (aka Gabe Fulvimar) is selling downloads of his entire discography for just four dollars! Four. Measly. Dollars. This includes the release which contains today’s track, Florian, which was released under the moniker WARM. What a steal! For the price of something that costs four dollars, you can get all this excellent musics!
I first heard Gap Dream’s self-titled release a couple years ago and purchased the cassette, which I have essentially worn through. I wasn’t aware that he’d been releasing instrumental material under various names, and pretty much all the releases I’ve heard are excellent. For a full accounting of his releases, check out his Bandcamp. While the WARM material is available only digitally, physical releases are handled by the estimable Burger Records out of Fullerton, CA. Before his solo work got started in earnest, he performed with the Black Keys, appearing on their 2002 The Big Come Up release. While he writes and performs all the instruments himself for the WARM releases as well as on the first Gap Dream release, he was joined by Bobby Harlow of Conspiracy of Owls fame for Gap Dream’s sophomore effort Shine Your Light. I’d encourage you to take advantage of this amazing deal while it lasts, but if you’re one of those future people for whom this deal no longer applies, still buy it using whatever currency the future space government will accept. Bitcoin? Straight barter? Idk, just do it.
The artist of the above track is in part the Voyager space probes themselves, who collected the raw electromagnetic data from space which were edited into the sounds you hear. The five disc set was released by Laserlight in 1992 and has been out of print for some time now, though it’s possible to hear all five discs on Youtube.
From the liner notes:
This unique series of recordings (5 volumes) is created from Original Voyager recordings of the electromagnetic “voices” of the planets and moons in our Solar System. Although space is a virtual vacuum, this does not mean there is no sound in space. Sound does exist as electronic vibrations. The specially designed instruments on board the Voyagers performed special experiments to pick up and record these vibrations, all within the range of human hearing.
The data that was collected was then further edited to make it a bit more pleasing to the ear than the raw data likely would have been, but the source of the signal itself is still signals from space, which is in-fucking-credible. The liner notes continue describing the sources of signals present in the recordings:
1. From the interaction of the solar wind with the planet’s magnetosphere, which releases charged ionic particles within a vibration frequency in an audible range (20-20,000 Hz).
2. From the magnetosphere itself.
3. From trapped radio waves bouncing between the planet and the inner surface of its atmosphere.
4. Electromagnetic field noise within space itself.
5. From charged particle interactions of the planet, its moons, and the solar wind.
6. From charged particle emissions from the rings of certain planets.
In 2012 the Voyager I probe became the first scientific instrument to leave the boundary of our solar system and, remarkably, still receives commands and transmits data back to NASA. It communicates using the Deep Space Network which is run by NASA and operates facilities around the world for communicating with Voyager and other exploratory and scientific tools in space. NASA has plans to continue using the Voyager probe until 2025, when it will stop producing enough power to continue communication.
The Voyager probe has another interesting connection to music. Unsure what they would find, researchers attached a golden record to the spacecraft in case another intelligent life form should encounter the probe. The contents were selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan and were meant to serve as a sort of time capsule of life on Earth. It featured greetings in 55 ancient and modern languages, recordings of natural sounds like surf breaking on the beach, crickets chirping, a wild dog, and a tame dog. It also featured a selection of music from around the world, including part of the Brandenberg Concertos, Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode, and a sampling of Indonesian gamelan (which I’ve mentioned elsewhere). Interestingly, Sagan originally attempted to have “Here Comes the Sun” added to the record, which the Beatles supported, but EMI blocked because, and I’m just speculating, they’re lifeless monsters who would probably make aliens pay royalties for playing it on their superstructures. The record also had images on it representing mathematical definitions, the color spectrum, a nursing mother, and others meant to show life on Earth. More information on the contents of this record can be found on Wikipedia.
This track is the third in the series and if it grabs you then I highly recommend checking out the other installments. I snagged it a few months ago and would be happy to post any other info from the release notes if people are interested, though admittedly they are a bit sparse.
I’ve been wanting to put something like this together since I started recording music and it is through the inestimable patience and talent of Miranda Langevin that I am able to bring this to you. There’s more information about the full length release here. Because the whole thing is about 40 minutes long and Miranda had gotten an amazing job on a feature set we had to film an excerpt.
At the risk of over-explaining, this video attempts to capture an experience with hypothetical extraterrestrials. It has been postulated that encounters with extraterrestrials are so bizarre because the visitors are coming from other dimensions and our means of perceiving them are too rooted in our own dimension to make sense of them. In part influenced by the computer animation team at Ancient Aliens and by the wild imagery of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series, this is my attempt to create visually what I hope the full piece accomplishes aurally.