Voyager: A Bradtastic Trip Into Space

Is There Enough Space To Have Time…?

“The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be… We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries…” – Carl Sagan.

For me, it all began with Cosmos.

That ultra-rare occasion when a TV programme fulfilled the aim of providing something both educational and entertaining, Carl Sagan helped make astrophysics accessible, and instilled in this gawping infant, the need to learn/discover so much more.

Off and on, through this boy’s life, the stars have continued to fascinate. Now, most nights, after finishing my writing – or those moments when the words don’t flow the way they should – it’s great to just step outside, after the street lights have switched off, and marvel at the inspirational – and staggering – wonders of the universe. 

After a very trying month, maybe its just as well that this Post blasts off to be among the stars (even if it may be with only one-quarter impulse power).

Away from it all… 

Rather than perplex you with something deep and philosophical (such theses will appear on this site at some point!) let’s gradually revitalise my creative powers with an easy vids n’ gifs compilation! 🙂

Looking for groovy tunes represented with a vid of suitably spacey visuals turned out to be quite a chore; annoyingly, a few of my initial choices have been removed from YouTube, or are simply unloadable, but when you consider how we all live “on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam – a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena” my problems – whether they be psychological or technical – are really so inconsequential! 

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: “Well, Mr. Booth, what’s new on Earth?” 

Harry Booth: “Well, I don’t think it’s changed very much since you left, Doctor.” 

Dr. Hans Reinhardt: “Nothing much ever changes. Same news, different names…” 

It’s Mingo Mean Time for some classic movie magic with that Quarterback New York Jets saviour of the universe himself. When the Flash Gordon movie was released (in 1980!), this iconic character rapidly became my new favourite. Gorged myself on Weetabix every breakfast in order to accumulate all 18 Official Movie Photo-cards; bought ANY sci-fi book that reprinted original pages (or merely one or two panels) of Alex Raymond’s original comic strips; even avidly watched episodes of those ancient serials starring Buster Crabbe as the titular hero; moreover, everyone in my year at Primary School was expected to know all the movie’s lines off by heart!

Absolutely nuts – it’s best to regard this as not so much a movie but a 100-minute Queen video! 

Nothing like a dramatic blast-off, and this following clip is one of the best blast-off sequences in scif-fi cinema. What better to hurl yourself into the Imperial Vortex with than the pulse-pounding percussion of Queen’s Roger Taylor? 

“Check the angular vector of the moon!” – Dr. Hans Zarkov. 

One of the unexpected hits of last year came in the form of Life.

Such a thrill, for a change, to watch a sci-fi movie that is NOT a sequel or a remake!

A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover an organic lifeform amidst soils samples collected from Mars, but following sci-fi/horror tradition, it grows into a life-threatening nightmare….

Despite having such heavy-hitters as Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, its the extraterrestrial itself (named Calvin by NY schoolchildren in a national competition!) that steals the show. It may not look as menacing as HR Giger’s xenomorph, but this martian’s level of intelligence becomes particularly unsettling (the way in which Calvin breaks out of his incubator is ingenious!) 

Most importantly, Life fulfilled the essential quota of any space movie: the scenes above the Earth were excellently created, and the original soundtrack by Jon Ekstrand turned out to be quite memorable, evoking the magic and the peril – of space exploration, as this vid amply demonstrates.

Choose Life!

Minister of Defence: “My God, what’s Bond doing?”

Q: “I think he’s attempting re-entry, sir.”

As you will see, (before yours truly pops out for a spot of constellation-hunting) we’re saving the BEST till last.

From a movie featuring the ISS, we turn our attention to an astonishing NASA time-lapse video shot from the International Space Station itself, displaying some breathtaking views of what Carl Sagan himself called our “Pale” Blue Dot in all its glory.

The wonderful musical accompaniment is from that under-rated 007 In Space spy thriller: Moonraker (as the end credits amusingly revealed, it was filmed on location in Italy, Brazil, Guatemala, U.S.A. and Outer Space!)

John Barry was a tremendous composer of movie music. And, fittingly, Moonraker happened to be one of his most spectacular works. Make sure you can watch this on the biggest screen you can find:

“And that completes my final report until we reach touchdown. We’re now on full automatic, in the hands of the computers. I have tucked my crew in for the long sleep and I’ll be joining them soon…

“…The men who sent us on this journey are long since dead and gone. You who are reading me now are a different breed – I hope a better one. I leave the 20th century with no regrets.

“But one more thing – if anybody’s listening, that is. Nothing scientific. It’s purely personal. But seen from out here everything seems different. Time bends. Space is boundless. It squashes a man’s ego. I feel lonely.

“That’s about  it. Tell me, though. Does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother? Keep his neighbour’s children starving…?”

 

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Electric Dreams III: Revenge Of The Synth

Synthwave, Retrowave, Dreamwave And – Oh Yes – Darkwave… 

“We’ll always be together
However far it seems
(Love never ends)
We’ll always be together
Together in Electric Dreams” – Phil Oakey.

Is it too soon, you may ask, to have another music post on this site?!

Perhaps. And yet…

Considering how it feels like an age since the last Post, and my writing is a tad sluggish at the moment for my liking, this seemed like the easiest option to get me back into the swing of actually completing something!

Have not listened to any Synthwave for a while, but returned to it just this week. For me, Lazerhawk is the outstanding artist of this amazing genre – so selecting our first vid posed no problem at all: 

SAL-9000: “Will I dream?”

Dr. Chandra: “Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why. Perhaps you will dream about HAL… just as I often do.”

You may be interested to know that my ideas have not abandoned me.

Far from it – there is no shortage of them! Time is no problem – never has been for me! My problem is finding the energy! 

Purge those rumours of this site’s imminent demise!

Forthcoming attractions are on their way. In  the next few days: you can (hopefully) expect Bradscribe Reviews of BOTH Deadpool movies, various updates on my expeditions to find more awesome Bronze Age comics, and…? The rest is a surprise! 

Blimey! So was this next track now this is fukkin’ sick! (As the younglings are wont to say these days, by Jove!): 

Nancy Thomson: It’s only a dream!”

Freddy Krueger: “Come to Freddy!”

Speaking of nightmares, my fiction has suffered more than anything 😛 – it seems to have dried up (only for the time being we hope! Yeah…?) 

For the second time, my novel has stalled. What has been produced so far is bereft of plot progression  – that breath-taking twist still hasn’t “sprung to mind.” Not going to chuck the bally thing in completely – for one thing, it would be a shame to see all my research papers go to waste… 

On a much brighter note, during this past two years my enthusiasm for concocting short stories has revived. Through the blog format, Bradventures featuring a distinctly English galactic hero have come along in leaps and bounds. You may like to know/be assured that a handful of new episodes reside on my Dashboard awaiting editing, so he won’t be going away any time soon! 

The most recent instalment is still pretty fresh, if a tad neglected, so please, pay it a visit, right here: 

You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break. 😉

Moving on then, this next video would have made it into Electric Dreams I – a perfect accompaniment to a Lazerhawk track, but it got pulled offline so had to rummage around for a replacement at the last minute(!)

No worries!

This tune will suffice; this is the awesome opening sequence from that crazy sci-fi thriller: The Hidden (1987) featuring an alien parasite that uses human vessels to wreak his own warped sense of “fun” on Earth:

Bob Blair: “Now we can go into an enemy’s dream, kill him, make it look as if he died in his sleep. Do you realize what that means?”

Alex Gardner: “It means no one’s safe from you…” 

Blade Runner (1982) remains as monumental as those techno-ziggurats that dominate the LA skyline.

Not only did it create one of the most mesmerising examples of visual futurism on the big screen, but the velvety Vangelis soundtrack has had a huge influence on the Synthwave genre. 

Not surprisingly, a considerable number of Synthwave tracks turn up on YouTube illustrated by stills from this classic movie. 

So, guess what appears here next! :0

Funny how the source material, written by Philip K. Dick is called “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” and yet there is no quote featuring the word: ‘dream‘ in the movie…

But why complain?

It’s Blade Runner!

“Milk and cookies kept you awake, eh, Sebastian?” – Dr. Eldon Tyrell. 

Speaking of visual style, whenever the mood for writing failed to manifest, my creative faculties have expressed themselves instead through sketching. Noting how plenty of Followers/readers have commented that my fiction would be enhanced by converting the work into graphic novels… 

Maybe, just maybe… 

In the meantime, there are some artworks – produced several years ago as well as more recent gobsmackers – that should (scans permitting!) appear on this site very soon.  

Moving on thenoh yes – when it comes to the best Retrowave producers, there’s no ace like HOME: 

Miles Harding: “A dream is a wish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep.”

Edgar: “Who says?”

Miles Harding: “Walt Disney. Sleeping Beauty, nineteen… fifty.”

Edgar: “No, it was Cinderella, 1949.”

To end on a high note, completing this Post has reminded me what is so compelling about the blogosphere; plus, it has restored the verve to carry on!

What better way to end this playlist, fellow Oneironauts, than with some scintillating Chillwave from the exceptional Crockett, who – as you may have gathered from Electric Dreams II  has become my second-favourite Synthwave artist!

“I’m a seeker too. But my dreams aren’t like yours. I can’t help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than Man. Has to be…” – George Taylor. 

Sweet dreams… 🙂

“I Have A Plan. Attack!”: Prepare for War!

Time To Suit Up For ALL-OUT AWESOMENESS…

“Okay, anybody on our side hiding any shocking and fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose? I’m open to suggestions” – Iron Man. 

“The threat has risen to a new level – which is really saying something,” says Robert Downey Jr.

It really is!

Considering how Rob’s first outing as Iron Man – released ten years ago next week – started this whole delirious, but irresistible, MCU malarkey that has culminated in Avengers: Infinity War – just DAYS away now(!)

It has been an absolutely spectacular decade, watching this particular Universe develop. Thankfully in all the right places.

How’s it been, Rob?  

“…It’s been the Ben-Hur of the MCU, for sure. This is huge, isn’t it? It is HUGE.”

And impossible to disappoint… right?

This Enhanced Individual Convention is arguably – creatively, logistically, budgetary – not only Marvel Studios’ BIGGEST movie, but the GRANDEST superhero epic ever (ahem) assembled. In this camp, there are no doubts that all elements will work, for writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen Freely and directors Anthony and Joe Russo – responsible for the amazing Captain America trilogy – are in charge here.

When asked how high the stakes are, Freely offers: “Is the universe high enough for you?” 

This is only the largest event movie. Ever!

Expect to see just about all the Avengers we’ve come to know so far. And the supporting characters from their respective solo movies. PLUS the Guardians Of The Frickin’ Galaxy! AND Fields overflowing with Wakandan warriors! 

As the younglings are wont to say these days, it’s only gonna be FUCKIN’ AWESOME!!

Soz, Cap…

 

Humans… They are not the cowering wretches we were promised. They stand. They are unruly, and therefore cannot be ruled. To challenge them is to court… death” – Chthon.

“This is the biggest film of all time,” says Benedict Cumberbatch.

You can trust him. He’s a Doctor. 

That colossal third-act battle – teased tantalisingly in the trailers – breaks out across Wakanda, because the sixth, as yet unseen, Infinity Stone languishes there, right?! 

Normally, my journalistic instinct is to uncover every juicy, spoilersome nugget of info from each major movie, but considering the scale and ambition of this EPIC, who knows what will transpire?!

Yes, so good to see Chadwick Boseman return as King T’Challa: The Black Panther – Cool. Charismatic. AND GET THIS MAN A SEQUEL! As Black Panther has become the first non-Stark MCU movie to pass a billion dollars worldwide, quite clearly, Wakanda‘s finest will be the new figurehead for the new Phase going forward.

Considering the xtreme measures taken to protect certain plot-points, it comes as no surprise to learn that Chris Evans was one of the few members of the enhanced ensemble to receive a complete script.

“The majority of people on set are like, ‘So what are we doing today?’ The Russos have to give a loose description of what’s happening. I didn’t complain. I was just like, ‘I need to know what’s going on! Give me a fucking script!'”

Uff, LANGUAGE!

“That’s not going away anytime soon…” – Captain America.  

Behold! Earth’s Mightiest Boy-Band: N-Hanced…

 

Thor: “I thought humans were more evolved than this.” 

Nick Fury: “Excuse me, did we come to YOUR planet and blow stuff up?” 

“You could call this movie: AvengersThanos if you wanted to,” says Stephen Freely“He is the main character.”

“The movie is told from his point of view,” Anthony Russo explains, discussing Josh Brolin’s performance. “It’s a very complicated character. He’s at times despicable and horrifying, and at other times oddly empathetic.”  

“He’s an exceedingly difficult character to beat. He’s stranger than the Hulk – he’s a force of nature. He is a conqueror of worlds.” 

The next statement intrigued me the most. 

“He doesn’t have a weakness, and that’s what makes him so threatening.”

How the Avengers can prevail against such an indefatigable foe, will certainly make for intriguing viewing. Having been in awe of Thanos over these past two years of Bronze Age explorations, seeing this big threat marching across the big screen will probably be quite a dewy-eyed experience as well…

“It really is mind-blowing…” adds Joe Russo, “…how sensitive a performance we can translate into a CG character now, and how much of Josh’s performance is in that character.”

Yep, sounds like all concerned know how to handle the Mad Titan here.

AND that we are all going to have to rearrange our Top 5 Movie Villains charts…

“Conflict breeds catastrophe…” – The Vision. 

“We heve not had any special death requests,” McFeely stated, confirming that he and co-writer Markus had “free reign to kill off whomever the story dictated should go.”

“It’s a cocktail of emotions,” was how Evans summed it up.

So many bloggers have speculated as to which of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will fall in this big showdown. Yes, much must be risked in War, but you KNOW how Brad prefers to concentrate on the positive, hopefully life-affirming, textured-sponge-with-a-creamy-filling things in life, so no morbid discussions to round off this particular blog-post, ta very much! 

Plan to watch The Movie Of The Decade this weekend having avoided – for once – all rumours, leaked clips, TV spots and what-have-you. Just looking forward to finding out what this jaw-dropping spectacle has to offer.

We began with Rob Downey Jr. – is it with him where it will all end…? Well, let’s close with him here anyway, speaking highly about IW’s lead actor: Josh Brolin.

“I love him,” Downey leads the praise, having known each other for thirty years, and so happy to see him become a solid participant in the MCU. Brolin doesn’t take himself seriously, but there’s a lot of weight in how he’s portraying this guy. We literally are all little bit scared when he’s done cracking wise and steps into it. 

“Get ready… the Brolin Effect is coming.”

“I hope they remember you…” – Thanos. 

 

The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe

Sci-Fi nom noms to tickle the taste buds, bust the gut and confound the lower intestine

sleeper-instant-mix

“My God! I beat a man insensible with a strawberry” – Miles Monroe. 

Whilst researching and blogging about food and nutrition matters, and wondering how and when this next Post can ever emerge, by following that age-old tradition of doin’-everythin’-at-once, it was thought best to combine the two objectives and explore the culinary delights that can be savoured in the realms of sci-fi. So, let’s get stuck in, shall we?

Everyone has to eat – even the aliens. Not that we should eat the aliens, but watch out, to them we might be the tastiest looking delicacy on this side of the Outer Rim territories. What tasty morsels can we look forward to? Well, by some odd happenstance, foodstuffs – even the necessary act of eating – are hard to come by in this particular genre. Why should this be?

As an essential part of life, food should be a defining element of science fiction, but after close inspection, there are a relatively few instances to select from. Come! On! Where is deep fat when you need it?

“No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?” 

“Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.”

“Incredible.”  

alien-mealtime

“Hot dog? There’s no dog in this… Hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soybean meal, niacin, dextrose, and sodium nitrate flavouring” – Nestor 1.  

Gotta get me some galactic goodies before navigating the Nebula. Yet it seems that for all the wild and wonderful exploits in outer space, from defying the evil empire, guarding the galaxy, getting lost in the Mutara Nebula, even making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, calls for some top nosh, but where is it?! Maybe that’s why there is so much aggro in outer space, because protagonists can only dream of partaking a hearty meal, and it’s doing their head in. As well as their stomachs…  

When the crew of the Nostromo celebrated Kane’s recovery with a slap-up meal – culminating in one of SF’s most memorable moments – we still didn’t get to see what their spread consisted of. Even in the sequel when the marines emerge from cryo-sleep, all they seemed to dine on was cornbread. Not even Ripley liked that; no wonder they got wiped out – insufficient protein is no excuse for anyone. Well, if you thought the cornbread was bad…

In keeping with their war-like tendencies, what do Klingons eat? Their signature dish has the mouthwatering name of “Gagh,” which just happens to be a plate of worms of course. A dish that is best served cold, presumably? 

Today’s Menu:

Blade-Runner-noodles

rest-at-end-of-universestar-trek-food

shawarma-avengers

Waiter: “Would you like to see the menu? Or would you like to meet the Dish of the Day?”

Zaphod Beeblebrox: “That’s cool. We’ll meet the meat.”   

The astronauts of the Discovery: Bowman and Poole are sampling a tray of colourful but bland gunk; in rainswept Los Angeles, Rick Deckard (ex-Blade Runner/ex-cop) only wanted to have noodles; in The Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky shovells out a can of Dinki-Di dog food. Grief, best not to dwell on those post-apocalyptic days… Yes, but amidst the battles to control water, or petrol, how and from where are all those shoulder-padded loons of the near-future going to get their munchies? And let’s not mention what’s being consumed in Soylent Green.

At least after all he went through, Tony Stark of the Avengers knows a shawarma joint “about two blocks from here.” Not sure what was more spectacular: the team taking out that huge Chitauri millipede thing… or the fact that Stark didn’t even know what shawarma is and wanted to try it?!

Is that it? Let me know if there have been any delectable delicacies excluded from this Post.

Right, that’s it, then: the next sci-fi project to be developed by this writer –  whatever part of the galaxy they end up in, whatever tight spots they get stuck in – most of my characters will (have to) be crazy about Mexican, Thai or Japanese food. And they will stop at nothing to acquire it in it’s natural form, as delicious as poss. Why should that have to sound like such a groundbreaking plot device? 

And then they can wash everything down with a mind-pummeling pint of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, which as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (whose second course is entitled: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe) quaintly puts it: “…the effect of which is like having your brain smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.” 

2001-mealtime

recipes

Enjoy your meal!

Journey Beyond The Stars: When Kubrick Met Clarke

All About The “Ultimate Trip.”

Kubrick_and_Arthur_Clarke

“I think there were two problems with the design of anything [in 2001]. One was, ‘Is there anything about it that would be logically inconsistent with what people felt would actually exist?’ and the other one was, ‘Would it be interesting? Would it look nice?'” – Stanley Kubrick. 

Fresh from the success of Dr. Strangelove in 1964, Stanley Kubrick considered creating the definitive SF movie, drawing on the latest discoveries. At that time, Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) was extraordinarily talented in both fields of science fiction and science. Having set out to use his “imagination to do something about reality,” he achieved this by creating the concept of the communications satellite, so he was the ideal boffin with which Kubrick felt he could collaborate.

The director started the collaboration with the writer in April of that year. They took one of the latter’s short stories: “The Sentinel” (1950: about the discovery of an alien pyramid on the Moon) as the basis for crafting an ambitious science fiction epic. As it lasted only six pages, the pair spent the next two years developing the work into a novel which, in turn, would be converted into a screenplay – the basis for creating the ultimate “visual experience.”

Kubrick contacted Chesley Bonestell, then a highly-sought Hollywood matte painter and illustrator who had worked on Destination Moon (1950) and Conquest of Space (1955) just two of the numerous “space movies” the formidable pair viewed, in order to get the feel of what SF cinema could be like. Bonestell had, in 1952, also illustrated an eight-part series of articles for Collier’s magazine, focussing on the possibilities of space exploration.

They were certainly not impressed with what was already on offer. Clarke noted that the director was “highlly critical of everything,” with particular attention to “the poor quality of the design and special effects and the puerility of the scripts.” They decided that they had to be the instigators of an unprecedented, more respectable, dynamic form of SF cinema…

With all the creative talent at his beck and call, Kubrick opined that there “would not be any room left for my imagination.” Shooting began in December 1965, and with that, “Journey Beyond The Stars” was born.

dawn-of-man

21-space-odysseyastronauts-clavius

“[Clarke] mentioned that he was working with director Stanley Kubrick on a film which aimed to be the science fiction, one which would be serious, scientifically plausible and big budget. It would involve other intelligences in space…” – Frederick I. Ordway III. 

In January 1965, the pair met Frederick I. Ordway III (writer) and Harry (Hans-Kurt) Lange (artist), who both worked for the NASA George C Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In the director’s penthouse in New York City they discussed not only rocket science, but ballistic missiles, computers and aliens. In the next few days, Kubrick made a deal to with General Aeronautics to secure their valuable advisory services. Their boss: Werner von Braun did not seem to mind…

The first scene to be shot was the spine-chilling Dawn of Man sequence. The ape costumes and make-up were supplied by Stuart Freeborn (responsible fer all three characters played by Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove). When a tribe of apes awake to discover the Monolith while the terrifying music by Grigory Ligeti plays, still stands as one of cinema’s most fabulous – not to mention frightening – moments of all time. 

When the dominant ape hurls a bone into the sky, so it transmogrifies into a gently descending spacecraft, thus catapulting the viewer millions of years onwards – a truly magical edit. There is a fascinating story connected to how The Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss came to be used for that spaceflight sequence. Apparently, Kubrick just happened to be listening to that piece of classical music while editing that very scene, and realised that it would make a fine musical accompaniment for the images. Whatever the background, this sequence forever remains a sumptuous audio/visual delight.

Technical designs for the space wheel under construction in space (based on one of Bonestell’s original Collier’s illos), the Orion passenger cruiser and the Moon shuttle Aries were all approved by NASA. This work paved the way for all subsequent model-effects work we have watched in subsequent (pre-CGI) extravaganzas. This made up an estimated $6.5 million of the $10 million budget. Then, amid all the post-production mayhem, the title was changed to: 2001: A Space Odyssey… 

Kubrick-on-the-set-of-2001-A-Space-Odyssey

“We were interested in starting where Destination Moon finished…” – Arthur C. Clarke. 

For the final act concentrating on the Discovery mission to Jupiter, the model of the Discovery ship itself was the largest constructed for the film, said to have measured 54 feet in length. It is not surprising to learn that it never moved; to create the motion shots, it was the camera that moved.   

The centrifuge was the largest set, at 38 feet high… and it revolved. All “props” had to be bolted to the floor, while the lighting and camera(s) operated non-stop. Kubrick remarked: “The Centrifuge set was made in such a way that that it had the structural integrity to preserve itself while the frame was rotated.”  

Of the climactic hallucinogenic trip which culminates in Bowman hurtling through the timegate, until finding himself in a pristine mansion, yes, there were several cases of people taking strange substances. MGM recognised that particular audience by adding the tagline: “The Ultimate Trip” on posters. There are no reports of what both Kubrick and Clarke made of these individuals…

People have sought to question the movie’s claim to masterpiece status by stating how agonisingly incomprehensible 2001: A Space Odyssey really is. Plenty of critics – professional and amateur alike – set out to offer explanations for baffled cinema-goers to mull over, but “usually they were as verbose and wrong-headed as the film was clear thinking and sleek.”

In 1968, when Arthur C. Clarke was asked by a journalist what the film was about, he replied: “I don’t know. Ask Stanley Kubrick!” On the other side of the world, Kubrick was being asked the same question: “I don’t know,” he replied. “Ask Arthur Clarke!”

200?: With Kubrick, movies were made from different... (ahem) angles
200?: With Kubrick, movies were made from different… (ahem) angles

Cosmic Sounds!: Music To Write SF Blogs By

That Weren’t No DJ, That Was Hazy Cosmic Jive!

starman_picked_on_you_300k

“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Friedrich Nietzsche. 

When blogging, usually through the night, it is customary for the compilation of these Posts to be accompanied by music. Now, some writers prefer to work in quiet conditions: not me. At university, music on the radio, or tapes, became imperative to convey me through some particularly troublesome essays.

And so the tradition has continued, with some pumping, pounding beats to carry me to deadline, or some suitably spaced-out melodies to help me through the night. Some of your fave Posts on this site were concocted with the aid of these audio additives.

Wherever possible, appropriate spacey vids have been found to maximize your sensory pleasure! Hopefully, this fine collection will inspire you in your own blogging endeavours…

Oh my god! Youtube is full of 2001: A Space Odyssey videos! Actually, this Post could have consisted of videos with montages of scenes from this single cinematic masterpiece, but variety is indeed the spice of life, so this compendium has dared to forage for more diverse matter. 

Luke Slater, a British DJ, has been producing stellar grooves for over twenty years. His Wireless album was particularly good, and this track: Weave Your Web works well when placed over 2001’s climactic trippy viz.

Richie Hawtin is an innovative Canadian techno producer. This track: The Tunnel makes for a perfect sci-fi number, with its weird bleeping and whirring effects. And this is one of the most simple – yet striking – vids seen by these bleary eyes in a long time. 

“Sternklang is the expression of the intimate encounter with the whole, the direct connection with the stars and the vast universe…” – hookback.  

“Awesome!” is a phrase too readily bandied about these days, but this next piece unconditionally deserves that tag. Tholen’s Sternklang is an epic – seventy-one minutes to be exact! – dark and dissonant soundscape, and should only be savoured during the darkest hours (with the best quality Stereo headphones of course).

The video contains suitably majestic cosmic graphics. It can be viewed in its entirety, or in five easily-digestible segments. Part 2 is my particular fave, with the three-note drone which, commencing at 1:44, hits right to the core, while the space station which materialises at around 2:34 is particularly impressive; the moment at 9:48 is quite special too…

Wow, just as you’re recovering from that stunning experience, so it’s followed by another grand opus. Steve Roach is one of the leading ambient composers working today. Again, it is on the darkest, silent nights that his pieces are replayed over and over for inspiration.

“Darkest Before Dawn” is a deep and goose pimple-inducing masterpiece, especially in its seventy-four minute entirety, but for this Post, here is Drift, because the animation here is absolutely mesmerising. Enjoy! 

“…On my planet, we have a legend… called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people, with sticks up their butts, that dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is” – Peter Quill (Starlord). 

Yeah! Time to boogie! Karl O’Connor (aka Regis) is one of the most captivating DJs on the current scene. With Peter Sutton (aka Female) he formed Sandwell District, and reinvigorated a stagnant techno landscape.

Not only was Hunting Lodge the best techno track of 2011, but someone went to the trouble of putting it to images from 1984 (1954). Peter Cushing in a techno vid: sci-fi paradise!

This next track is a phenomenal late-night mind-blaster. The accompanying vid is equally staggering, “Gas 0095” was the debut album of electronic musician Mat Jarvis, otherwise known as Gas. Its classic track: Microscopic is overlaid to powerful effect on a short scientific film called: “The Power of Ten,” which explores both outer and inner space. These fantastic sights and sounds blew me away when first viewed five years ago.

Please be advised: take a deep breath…

“I think, therefore I ambient” – Mixmaster Morris.  

Finally, we come to Geir Jenssen, the Norwegian electronic producer, better known under the moniker: Biosphere. His music has been labelled: “arctic ambient,” supposedly because it induces a glacial atmosphere, rather than being a tad chilly. Any track from the stupendous Substrata album (2009) would have sufficed, but this track incorporates samples of Russian cosmonaut radio transmissions and skillful sprinklings of The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss to blissful effect.

There is just a still image here, but this is not important. What matters is that within the next fifteen minutes, you may most likely drift into the Land of Nod, pleasantly dreaming of gliding among the stars…

groovy

Groovy!