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Thread: Where did the "space ambient" sound come from?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Being in SMAL doesn't help me, I'm afraid. Despite all the varied suggestions and examples given here, I still don't know what specific "sound" the OP is asking about.

    Grant Hutchison



    Me neither. Apparently something the OP thinks should be familiar.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #32
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    Quindar beeps would be a good space “sound.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Ouch. I actually write, and play that kind of music on synthesizers. To me it’s not old-fashioned.
    HOS.COM had some very nice space music in recent weeks.
    Steve Roach and Patrick O’Hearn are my favorites.

    Sadly, Harold Budd—who worked with Eno—passed away recently.

    “ENO—His Music and the Vertical Color of Sound” is a good book which points the way towards ambient...
    Last edited by publiusr; 2021-Jan-10 at 09:13 AM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Sadly, Harold Budd—who worked with Eno—passed away recently.
    Oh, no! I am a huge Harold Budd fan, too, and Brian Eno!
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  4. #34
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    The more I think about it, the first "real" space music was from the 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey", with scenes like the following.

    Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite Part I (2001: A Space Odyssey)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imbxqv_5TJU

    2001: A Space Odyssey Ending With Interstellar Music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fczY_FCOLME
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  5. #35
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    Kubrick's use of Ligeti's music was inspired, of course, particularly the distorted version of Aventures in the finale, but I don't believe Ligeti set out to write "space music"--he had a completely different agenda. Of course, we could then have a debate about the importance (or otherwise) of authorial intention.

    By the way, the Wikipedia entry on "space music" seems to suggest it is not particularly related to "outer space", but to "spaciousness" and "spaciality", which chimes with my feeling that composers actually use lots of different kinds of music to conjure up lots of different emotional responses to "outer space". And there are parts of Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite which are "space music" under the terms of the Wikipedia article but which are, by definition, unrelated to outer space or space travel.

    Grant Hutchison

  6. #36
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    A lot of the SF movie conventions trace back to (or at least through) Bebe and Richard Barron's electronic sound work for Forbidden Planet. When somebody hums a generic spacey music snippet, it often follows their conventions of sweeping low-high-low in pitch, plus the characteristic vibrato of a theremin player. (I only lately learned that the Forbidden Planet soundtrack used custom circuitry rather than a theremin, although Day the Earth Stood Still did employ one).

    Every time theremins come up, I have to remark that every time I think I've had a bad day at work, I try to remember the time Leon Theremin's boss Beria asked Theremin to come up with a device to spy on Beria's boss, Stalin.

  7. #37
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    Jesus Theremin worked for Beria? Just reading up on him. Poor guy. Fled for tax reasons, ended up in the gulag. Still, managed to die of old age, so there's that.

    But yeah, I think the theremin probably had a lot to do with how we recognise space music today.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  8. #38
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    "from Legeti to Ligotti to Cormac McCarthy...to Kali to Karswell to Kurzweil..."

    There's a song in there somewhere...

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    A lot of the SF movie conventions trace back to (or at least through) Bebe and Richard Barron's electronic sound work for Forbidden Planet. When somebody hums a generic spacey music snippet, it often follows their conventions of sweeping low-high-low in pitch, plus the characteristic vibrato of a theremin player. (I only lately learned that the Forbidden Planet soundtrack used custom circuitry rather than a theremin, although Day the Earth Stood Still did employ one).

    Every time theremins come up, I have to remark that every time I think I've had a bad day at work, I try to remember the time Leon Theremin's boss Beria asked Theremin to come up with a device to spy on Beria's boss, Stalin.
    Here are some samples from the soundtrack of "Forbidden Planet". Yes, excellent space music.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR-M...7zJCE3EyJ0_ijV
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  10. #40
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    There seems to be some effort in here to try to find a way to take a music genre's name too literally.

    "Rock" and "rock & roll" don't require anybody to be rocking or rolling. "Classical" is often used to include music that wasn't written in the Classical Era. "Hip hop" doesn't require that you hop or do anything in particular with your hips. "Country" can be played anywhere. "Folk" is no more "by the people" than any other genre is. "The Blues" not only can be done while wearing any color in a place of any color with instruments of any color, but also, even if you go with the original metaphor of "having the blues" for feeling sad/depressed, the music often doesn't sound sad/depressed, so it's a whole second level of derivation off. "Rhythm & Blues" isn't particularly more rhythmical or blues-like than most other genres are. "Metal" is not the only genre to use instruments made of metal, and "heavy metal" isn't its heaviest-sounding subgenre (nevermind that sound has no weight anyway). "Trance" doesn't actually cause trances. "Jazz" is simply gibberish.

    There's a genre called "ambient". A genre within that genre apparently is called "space ambient". There are reasons why those words got chosen to be those genres' names, just as there are reasons why all of the above names got chosen (although in these cases they do seem a bit more transparent than some of the above to me, more like "techno" & "electronica" & "Gospel"). But objections about space-ambient not really sounding like space or not having been the only kind of music ever used in a space movie make about as much sense as objecting that nobody is actually killed in the making of "death metal" (or "death ambient" either).

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    ...the time Leon Theremin's boss Beria asked Theremin to come up with a device to spy on Beria's boss, Stalin.
    I imagine Stalin walking up and down in his office, trying to figure out where the space music was coming from.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    There seems to be some effort in here to try to find a way to take a music genre's name too literally.

    ...There's a genre called "ambient". A genre within that genre apparently is called "space ambient". There are reasons why those words got chosen to be those genres' names, just as there are reasons why all of the above names got chosen (although in these cases they do seem a bit more transparent than some of the above to me, more like "techno" & "electronica" & "Gospel"). But objections about space-ambient not really sounding like space or not having been the only kind of music ever used in a space movie make about as much sense as objecting that nobody is actually killed in the making of "death metal" (or "death ambient" either).
    I think of non-outer space ambient music as Harold Budd's "The Room", which does not sound like outer space ambient music. I know space ambient is called that because it relates to the sensation of open spaces, but when I use that phrase in this thread I cannot help but think of outer space music.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I imagine Stalin walking up and down in his office, trying to figure out where the space music was coming from.
    That sounds worth doing, too.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  14. #44
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    Outer-space ambient music accompanies these videos of the Moon passing below you. Fantastic imagery.

    Artist Converts Lunar Photos into 4-Hour Real-Time Orbit Around the Moon.

    https://petapixel.com/2021/02/01/art...ound-the-moon/
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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