Original Format: mp3
Back in 2019, when the above image of a black hole was released and we were told that it had been given the Hawaiian name “Powehi” (“the adorned fathomless dark creation”), I knew that it would be the name of a mix. I didn’t know that it would take four years, but that’s how things go sometimes. The process is slow and anyway we are all made of time, right?
Black Hole Sound NASA
“On Sunday, NASA released an audio clip that represents actual sound waves emanating from the enormous black hole at the centre of the Perseus galaxy cluster. The sound is edited so that human ears can hear it, with the agency saying they mixed it with ‘other data’ and amplified it, adding that the idea that there is no sound in space was a misconception.” —The Guardian, 8/23/2022
“That is legitimately one of the creepiest sounds I’ve ever heard.” —YouTube commenter jed52
In March we visited the African-American Museum in D.C., where we saw this:
Guide Mystik Journeymen
“What was it with you, 0 double helix? What kept you back? Most salient, no doubt, was the failure of your science. The utter failure of your science. Your Einsteins and Bohrs, your Hawkings and Kawabatas-they’d have been down on their lousy knees, licking the lab floors on Mars. Only now are you receiving your first whispers from the higher dimensions. On Mars, they always thought in ten dimensions. The Infinity Dogs are believed to think in seventeen, the Resonance in thirty-one, the Third Observer in sixty-seven, the higher entities in a number of dimensions both boundless and finite. But you think in four.” —Martin Amis, “The Janitor on Mars”
Don’t Be Light (excerpt) Air
“It’s a message to the people. I know that sounds pretentious, I know nobody cares (laughs) but it’s just to say, ‘Be yourself, don’t be part of the industrial system that wants you to consume some light product.’ It’s a global idea, you know. We like that. It’s a game with words.” —Jean-Benoit Dunckel
Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise Black Moth Super Rainbow
Want some visuals to go with this?
Stars Grant Hazard
A friend gifted me with this CD many years ago. I forgot all about it then just happened across it one day recently and found this piece, which just happens to fit in perfectly here. Or maybe there are no coincidences.
Black Hole Sun Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme
I have this on a compilation called “Lounge-a-Palooza,” where is was presumably included for kitsch value. But I find it genuinely, unironically beautiful.
Divertimento No. 15 in B-flat, Tema con Variazioni (excerpt) New York Philomusica
“Divertimento /dɪˌvɜːrtɪˈmɛntoʊ/ (Italian: [divertiˈmento]; from the Italian divertire ‘to amuse’) is a musical genre, with most of its examples from the 18th century. The mood of the divertimento is most often lighthearted (as a result of being played at social functions) and it is generally composed for a small ensemble. The term is used to describe a wide variety of secular (non-religious) instrumental works for soloist or chamber ensemble.” —Wikipedia
Places Named After Numbers Frank Black
“This is a love song about black holes. Black Holes aren’t technically given names to my knowledge but the signature energy emitted that leads to their inference or discovery often has long numerical name references that are most closely associated as the ‘name’ of the black holes themselves. Black holes are thought to be the result of collapsed stars and cannot be seen with the naked eye.” —SongMeanings commenter “chineselaundry”
Inferno Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Perkins, Yvette Mimieux
The 1979 movie The Black Hole, Disney’s ham-fisted attempt to cash in on the post-Star Wars sci-fi craze, was a fiasco in every way. (Which does not prevent it from being a good source of cheeseball dialogue.) For just one small example consider this excerpt from the film’s Wikipedia page:
[Director Gary] Nelson initially considered casting Sigourney Weaver in the role of Kate McCrae, but the head of the casting department balked at the actress’ unusual name and rejected her. By October 1978, most of the actors had been cast, with the exception for Jennifer O’Neill cast as Kate McCrae. O’Neill had been told she needed to cut her hair because it would be easier to film zero-gravity scenes. Initially hesitant, she eventually agreed and brought her personal hairstylist Vidal Sassoon to the studio. O’Neill consumed multiple glasses of wine during the haircut, then left the studio noticeably inebriated and was subsequently hospitalized following a car crash, which cost her the role. Yvette Mimieux was cast the following day and agreed to have her own long hair cropped.”
Lux Prima Karen O & Danger Mouse
“Lux Prima works better as a journey than a destination. It never sounds better than when going nowhere fast, its charmingly anachronistic sound at odds with the sharply engineered hustle of the modern pop world. Karen O and Danger Mouse have dreamt up a vividly imagined world, and it’s a pleasure to get lost in it.” —Ben Cardew, Pitchfork
“The surface air pressure on the planet Venus may be 75 or 100 times that on Earth–or four to five times greater than the Venus pressure reported recently by Soviet scientists–Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers have revealed. Dr. Arvydas J. Kliore and Dan L. Cain concluded in an article for the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences that the Russian Venera IV spacecraft either landed on a 15-mile-high Venusian peak undetected by ground radar or stopped transmitting before it reached the planet’s solid surface.” —NASA press release, 8/22/1968
Jupiter 4 Sharon Van Etten
This is quite possibly my favorite song of the 21st century so far. Those droning synths, that throbbing bass, the dreamy, swoony vocal… just hits me in that special place.
Fade Away and Radiate Blondie
“A sparsely-distributed, sci-fi-art-pop work, ‘Fade Away and Radiate’ is Chris Stein’s ode to Debbie Harry ‘asleep with the TV on.’ Existing in the band’s catalogue since the first album, King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp heard [them] perform this in New York and had to congratulate [them]. Later, he would be invited to add his signature sound on the recorded track.” —Genius.com commenter “Ethanol_Tea”
Into the Sun/The Galaxy Explodes The Mekons
I never listened to the Mekons much — though I thought they might be great, the catalog is huge and I’ve never known where to start. But one day I stumbled across this song from their 2019 album Deserted on Spotify, and was completely flabbergasted. It’s so great that it’s kind of discouraged me from diving further into their oeuvre — like, what’s going to measure up to this? What could follow it? Nothing.