Outer Space Field Recordings

Perhaps all too often, the sounds of outer space serve as a weak metaphor for electronic music. It’s why “space music” is virtually a genre name for all manner of headphones-only listening, despite the fact that, as we all learned in grade school, space is a vacuum. Well, here’s some real sound from the heavens: the European Space Agency has posted recordings from the audio sensors on the HASI probe (Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument) as it descended to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, this past Friday, January 14. There are currently two HASI MP3s on the esa.int website: (1) a sequence of radar echoes as the Huygens approached the moon’s surface (download MP3), (2) a “laboratory reconstruction” of what the Huygens’ microphones witnessed (download MP3), sewn together from multiple recordings, not unlike the mosaic panorama images of Titan’s surface that were reprinted in newspapers across our planet this past weekend. The former sounds like a whirlybird that’s about to spin out of control, and the latter has a harsh, mechanical feel. Together, they’re one giant step for humankind, and one contextually rich sample source for remixers. More info on the esa.int webpage, “Sounds of Titan.” (Link via boingboing.net, here.)

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