Something new: space jam
Hong Kong record label Platinum Metres is less than a year old, so you'd expect it to be taking baby steps. Instead, it's about to go stratospheric. Last month, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield made headlines by beaming a rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity back to Earth from the International Space Station. In August, Platinum Metres' founder, British-born artist Joshua Thomson, plans to do the reverse by launching a digital version of his otherwise vinyl-only label's eponymous first LP into space.
"We have a shrinking planet but expanding minds," says Thomson, whose pipedream is to be realised in partnership with NanoSatisfi, a company that provides affordable access to "user-programmable, in-orbit" mini-satellites, or "nanosats" (left) - thus democratising space, if you please.
So far, so avant garde, but, as Thomson explains, the project is "a reworking of and tribute to Nasa's Voyager Golden Records" - phonograph records containing music and sounds intended to inform extraterrestrials about life on Earth that were sent aboard the interstellar Voyager I and II spacecraft when they were launched in 1977. "It's a mixture of knowledge and speculation, conjecture and fantasy. Like Nasa's original [it] is intended as a statement of hope in pessimistic times."
That hope is expressed in an LP that encompasses jazz, funk, ambient, folk and post-rock music. It was recorded over five years in Britain, Thailand and Hong Kong and will be accompanied into orbit by a series of 145 paintings and ink works titled The Sights of Planet Earth, one of which features the fly at the top of this page. A line of poetry by American writer Emily Wolahan - "listen in praise of one cosmos" - will be broadcast in a loop, in morse code; and fly, funk, the whole shebang, are to be shot into deep space via light waves. Or something.
The nanosat will be launched on August 22 from the Tanegashima Space Centre, in Japan. You can hear the album Platinum Metres at soundcloud.com/platinummetres.