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Posted on Nov 29, 2012


digital art inspired by space by adam ferriss

On Twitter the other day I had mentioned possibly putting together a mixtape of my favorite science-y songs. I decided to narrow it down to a few space-related tracks that are by artists I already love (there are plenty of science-y songs that don’t make for great music). In the spirit of Spacehack.org, I’ve dubbed this my Spacetrack. I’ve embedded a Spotify playlist at the bottom.

Florence + The Machine :: Strangeness & Charm (mp3)

An entire song about particle physics! Strange and Charm are two types of quarks (a basic building block particle in the universe) that can be observed in particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider. I was super excited when I discovered this track for the first time and was curious about the inspiration to dedicate an entire track to particle physics. Florence Welch explains:

I was having a conversation with my father and he was talking about this thing – strangeness and charm. It’s actually the name of the two smallest particles that there are when you split the atom, so I wrote a song around it. I even managed to fit the word ‘hydrogen’ in there. Isn’t that a nice thing for scientists to call them though? – it’s so unscientific and human.

Andrew Bird :: Darkmatter (mp3)

A great track with great lyrics about becoming interested in the game Operation and developing morbid fascinations. To me, becoming fascinated with morbid or weird things is at the heart of every great science geek (hence my fascination with creepy awesome sea slime). The song goes on about developing a gun that shoots rays of dark matter, which sounds pretty awesome to me.

Digitalism :: Jupiter Approach 

I would like to think this would be the appropriate type of music to listen to while in a spaceship on a slow approach to Jupiter. By the way, if you haven’t had an explore of NASA’s Juno (a probe headed for Jupiter) mission website, please take a moment to do so now – it’s filled with great music (Underworld!) and beautiful graphics. The site is a bit heavy/slow, but I’ll forgive them since the concept once it gets going is pretty inspiring. I wish all NASA missions could make such inspiring sites.

Underworld :: Between Stars (mp3)

Speaking of Underworld being a great artist to listen to while on your way to Jupiter, I also love this track by them. Something about “clinging to the outside of the Earth under a full Moon” in the lyrics is a cool way of putting ourselves into perspective. I’ve been obsessed with Underworld since I was 12 and they were a big inspiration to me while I went through art school, so it only makes sense that I adapt them to inspire my career in space exploration.

M83 :: Another Wave From You (mp3)

I’m not sure if this specific track is inspired by space exploration, but the entire Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming album by M83 is definitely something to listen to if you ever find yourself on a journey through space (or maybe just a relaxing time at home). Obviously, there’s the name of the band to take into consideration: M83, a spiral galaxy. When I was filming my TV spot for the SyFy channel earlier this year, they were originally thinking about having M83’s Midnight City track to be the backdrop music for the spot, which I think I literally jumped with excitement about and quickly explained to the director that M83 was the name of a galaxy so it’d be a perfect choice for it. I think he gave me the “okay… you’re quite a geek” look after that :)