Science Fiction you can dance to • An hour-long mixtape of esoteric SF-themed disco/dance music

By Claire Evans

When I'm not writing esoteric science fiction reviews, I'm a singer, writer, performer, and concept-maker for a band called YACHT. Occasionally, these wildly separate spheres of reality do have axes of intersection; now is one of those times.

I've made a continuous mix of music that journeys deep into the musical underbelly of science fiction. Yes, finally! Science fiction you can dance to! Download "Fly On, UFO" to travel to disco dystopias and far-flung cosmic boogies. Visit the hellish world Cerrone's "Supernature," where scientists would do anything to feed the starving masses, including poison the world with chemicals that would create mutants down below. Sidle up next to miss Dee D. Jackson, who, looking at the erotic robot in her bed, polished chrome gleaming under white satin sheets, raises her perfectly glossed lip in a snarl, and utters: "Your body's cold." Raise your fist to the night sky with Chromium, who, seeing a UFO in the sky, beaming with promise, lights in primary colors like an 80s movie, are yelling "Come back later!"

And end your adventure with the impossibly weird folk burner, "In The Year 2525," the musical equivalent of Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, a future history that tells the tale of the next two billion years of time, touching on eighteen distinct versions of the human race, from regular flesh-and-blood people to birdlike creatures living on Neptune (Zager & Evans only go about ten thousand years into the future, but they hit some classic sci-fi themes on the way, like genetic engineering, mechanical automation, and test-tube babies).

DOWNLOAD: Fly On, UFO (111 MB, 48:29)

TRACKLIST
• Message from the Stars - Snob
• Space Disco - Cosmic Hoffmann
• Spacer - Sheila & B. Devotion
• Supernature - Cerrone
• Automatic Lover - Dee D. Jackson
• Spacer Woman - Charlie
• Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix) - Midnight Magic
• Tout Petit La Planete - Plastique Bertrand
• I'm Ready - Kano
• Future World - Ganymed
• Fly On UFO - Chromium
• In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans

The new YACHT album (which comes out in less than a month on DFA Records) SHANGRI-LA, is very much inspired by the discipline of science -- or speculative -- fiction; the idea of "Shangri-La" or "Shambahla" gained traction in the West, like science fiction, in early pulp publishing; its Utopian aspirations strike a similar chord.

After all, Utopia is science fiction, as is its inevitable inverse.

Claire's work can be read at Universe at Science Blogs and at Space Canon, her science fiction blog.

20 Responses to “Science fiction you can dance to”

  1. The Starkiller says:

    I knew that someday BoingBoing would cover space disco!!!

    A long time ago I made a space themed mix called “2010: The Year We Make Space Disco”… 80 minutes packed with ~27 of your favourite space disco tracks, old and new!

    Check it out here http://soundcloud.com/the-starkiller/2010-the-year-we-make-space-disco-1

    Playlist:
    ——
    Hipnosis “Windland”
    Justice “Planisphere Pt. 1″
    B.W.H. “Stop”
    4 M International “Space Operator”
    Starflight “Dance to The Beat”
    B.W.H. “Livin’ Up”
    Magazine 60 “Don Quichotte”
    Boney M “Nightflight to Venus”
    Captain Planet “Lagos Speedway”
    Padded Cell “Signal Failure”
    Automat “Droid (Cecile Edit)”
    Unknown Artist “Pulstar (In The Style of Hipnosis’ Cover of Original by Vangelis)”
    Jackpot “Ragazza”
    Klein & M.B.O. “The M.B.O. Theme”
    Felix Da Housecat “Magic Fly”
    Retro\Grade “Moda (Edit)”
    X-Ray Connection “Get Ready”
    Cyborg Unknown “Year 2001″
    A Number of Names “Sharevari (Vocal Version)”
    Spoonich “Laserdance”
    Tantra “Hills of Katmandu (Patrick Cowley Megamix)”
    Black Devil Disco Club “Follow Me (Instrumental)”
    Sheila & The Black Devotion “Spacer”
    Dharma “Plastic Doll (Club Mix)”
    Cut/Copy “Hearts on Fire (Aeroplane Pop Remix)”
    Sister Sledge “Lost in Music (The Revenge Rework)”
    The KLF “Build A Fire”
    The Voyagers “Distant Planet”

  2. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like a mix played on intergalactic.fm years ago. If you do not know them, check it out!

  3. Anonymous says:

    More suggestions:

    Haujobb – Nature’s Interface [about visiting alien worlds]

    Evil’s Toy – Any song off “Angels Only!” – all songs are about something in the movie “The Abyss”

    Wumpscut – Soylent Green [self-explanatory]

    Informatik – Built for pleasure [about sex and servant robots of the future]

    Covenant – Replicant [self-explanatory]

  4. Anonymous says:

    My suggestions:

    Ray Cathode – Waltz in Orbit
    Laurie Marshall – Disco Spaceship
    Futurecop – NASA
    Fingathing – Walk in Space
    Orbital – Doctor Who Theme
    Air – Surfing on a Rocket
    La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover
    Celebrity Murder Party – Sympathy For the Soul of the Beast
    Neon Neon – I Told Her on Alderaan
    The Normal – Warm Leatherette
    Delia Derbyshire – Ziw Zih Ziw 000000
    Atari Teenage Riot – Cyberpunks Are Dead!
    Black Devil Disco Club – Cosmic Rays

  5. Xeni Jardin says:

    THIS RULES

  6. Anonymous says:

    Benson, Arizona by John Carpenter

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j-MzxDad2c

    A million suns shine down
    But I see only one
    When I think I’m over you
    I find I’ve just begun
    The years move faster than the days
    There’s no warmth in the light
    How I miss those desert skies
    Your cool touch in the night

    Benson, Arizona, the warm wind through your hair
    My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there
    Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
    But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I

    Now the years pull us apart
    I’m young and now you’re old
    But you’re still in my heart
    And the memory won’t grow cold
    I dream of times and spaces
    I left far behind
    Where we spent our last few days
    Benson’s on my mind

    Benson, Arizona, the warm wind through your hair
    My body flies the galaxy, my heart longs to be there
    Benson, Arizona, the same stars in the sky
    But they seemed so much kinder when we watched them, you and I

  7. searconflex says:

    ^_^

  8. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE you for posting this!! :) you really made my Memorial Day and rest of the week in fact!

    have you thought of adding Menage’s 12 inch version of the theme from ALIEN it is just too much fun!

  9. Lot49 says:

    Metal Fingers in my Body by Add N to (X)

    It’s about a robot, and the video ( http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xufcl_add-n-to-x-metal-fingers-in-my-body_music ) is NSFW. You do the maths as to what its subject is.

  10. ManicRaider says:

    That “Message from the Stars” song was pretty good. Would’ve been better without the talking (I like instrumentals).

  11. farrellmcgovern says:

    More:

    Strictly Science

    Klaatu – Little Neutrino
    Rush – Countdown (Shuttle Launch)
    MC Hawking – F*ck the Creationists
    – What We Need More of Is Science
    Kurt Swinghammer – VOSTOK 6 (about the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova)

    Science Fiction

    FM – Aldeberan
    Rush – Cygnus X-1/Hemispheres
    – 2112
    Blue Oyster Cult – Blackblade (About Elric’s sword Stormbringer, co-written with Moorcock)
    Hawkwind – Chronicles of the Black Sword (also about Stormbringer, also partially co-written by Moorcock)
    Hawkwind – Almost every album has Science Fiction Themes
    Klaatu – Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft (Covered by The Carpenters)

  12. Eark_the_Bunny says:

    Not for use at the Jefferson Memorial.

  13. Anonymous says:

    the uber-disco Captain Future german theme:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcjhpETolG0
    ( and so many other anime tunes of that time… )

    and pretty much every song from Space
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV-3Otn_4uQ

  14. Anonymous says:

    This like a playlist of me playing records at work everyday! AWESOME! Go Claire!

  15. zale x says:

    Bif Naked – Spaceman

  16. Gunther says:

    Very amazing – thank you!

  17. PixelFish says:

    I offer up Fad Gadget’s Back to Nature and Fireside Favourite. Also Mr. Bungle’s None of Them Knew They Were Robots. And maybe Covenant’s Leviathan….has that long view feel.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I made a mixtape like this in HS (1990!)… it had Star Wars disco by Meco, the Blade Runner theme, a disco version of Battlestar Galactica (I still have it on 45!)… this is great, thanx! I’ll try and find my mixtape and upload it!

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