Seti-X

Scrambles of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record, Remixed By Extraterrestrials

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This album is built on a cute idea. Back in 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 1 & 2 spacecrafts, each of which contained (among other things) recorded examples of music from Planet Earth's various cultures: some Bach, some Delta blues, some ABBA, instrumental performances from China and Japan, Georgian choral music, etc. The idea was that the music would be played into space by these two spacecraft and perhaps would be heard and maybe even responded to by alien beings of some kind. The cute concept behind this album is that aliens have heard the music and responded in the form of remixes, broadcast back through space and picked up by SETI-X (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in Exile, "a dissident offshoot of the better-known Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence"). But if the term "remix" leads you to expect something funky, or coherent, or even consistently interesting, think again: there are some fascinating moments, such as the clever "Psychlo Killer," which combines bits of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" with elements of L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth story) and the conventionally industrial-sounding "Fifth Dysphony" and "The Rites of Mars." But much of the rest of the program sounds randomly thrown together. The problem isn't that it's abrasive or difficult (though at moments it is both), but rather that it doesn't sound as if very much thought or care was invested in it. The album is OK as a passing curiosity, but it's not something you're likely to listen to more than once.

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