One of the greatest things about the web, aside from bringing us a glorious universe of cat related ephemera, is that the geniuses at NASA can give us amazing videos to ogle in our leisure time. Or when we should be working. As a child of the 80’s my only access to this kind of cool imagery came from 1) PBS or 2) a trip to the science center. And while both of the above are still awesome sources for spacey coolness, it is wonderful to be able get this stuff delivered to our computers on a regular basis.
A great example is this amazing fly-through video of the Orion Nebula released January 11th by NASA.
The Orion Nebula, or Messier 42 if your nasty, will be familiar to most star gazers, as it is the brightest “star” in the sword of the Orion constellation. As the name implies though, it is not a star at all, but a small stellar nursery pumping out baby stars like it’s its job. At a mere 1350 light years away, it is relatively close to us and so a good target for both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
Working with scientists and artists, NASA Visualization Specialist (amazing job title, btw) Frank Summers lead a team that took information from these telescopes and combined it with Hollywood style visual effects to take us on a cool trip through the peaks and valleys of irradiated gas that make up the nebula. They then set it to Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings In E Major and… boom… Science-tainment at its best!
Now I got no problem with Dvorak. Totally rad composer. A real classic if you will. But this video is worth multiple re-watches and that got me thinking: why not mix it up a little? So if you have a mute button and some headphones here are three more musical suggestions that you can use to give this interstellar cruise a new vibe.
Johann Johannsson – “A Pile of Dust” – Orphee (2016)
First up is Icelandic super composer, Johann Johannsson’s “A Pile of Dust” from his album Orphee. You know Johannsson’s work if you enjoy the movies of Director Denis Villeneuve. He composed the scores for Prisoners, Sicario and, most notably, Arrival. The music is weird, dark and, well, Icelandic. The kind of music you make when seeing the aurora borealis is as easy as looking out the window of you super minimal Nordic pad while thinking about the nature of existence. This works great for the fly through, but it’s basically a contemporary version of the Dvorak piece, so let’s go a little further afield.
Future – “Astronaut Chick” – Pluto (2012)
Now you don’t normally think of hip hop and stellar nurseries together, but why not give Future’s “Astronaut Chick” from 2012’s Pluto a try. This is kind of a sexy song. And by kind of, I mean it’s mostly about having sex. But if you imagine yourself getting intimate with your boo while you fly through the place where baby stars are made… well it sort of works on multiple levels, that’s all I’m sayin’.
Iron Horse Bluegrass – “Rocketman” – Bluegrass Tribute to Classic Rock (2007)
There’s a lot of covers of Elton John’s “Rocketman”. One of the most famous (or infamous) is the version William Shatner talk-sang on an awards show in the 70’s. But this bluegrass take from Iron Horse’s 2007 album Bluegrass Tribute to Classic Rock is some pretty great accompaniment to a square dance through M42. First the slow intro, with beautiful vocals and an expectant mandolin, lines up perfectly with the first moments of the video. And then, as we dive into the colorful clouds of gas, the banjo and harmonies kick in and, I’ll be danged if it don’t work pretty durned well! YEE HAW SCIENCE!
Of course, these are just three possibilities. The options, like the Universe itself, are pretty limitless. So, go ahead and re-mix this mother. We’d love to see/hear your idea of the perfect tunes to crank up on this ride through the stars.
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