How a Bell Labs engineer/artist created the sounds of planetary orbits for the Voyager Golden Record

During the 1960s and 1970s at Bell Labs, the intersection of science and art was rightfully recognized as an extremely fertile ground for creative and technological experimentation. New York City's avant-garde artists collaborated with Bell Labs engineers to develop new tools, technologies, and creative practices that continue to shape our digital world today. It was in Bell Labs' hotbed of digital creativity where composer and software engineer Laurie Spiegel helped make the future of electronic music. Waveshaper TV produced a multi-part interview with Spiegel whose seminal works, including The Expanding Universe, are available in stunning editions from the Unseen Worlds label.

I was particularly excited about Part 2 of the interview with Spiegel, released today and seen above, because it focuses on how she came to contribute an audio manifestation of "Kepler's Harmony of the Worlds" ("Music of the Spheres") to the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials attached to the Voyager I and II space probes launched in 1977. The Golden Record tells a story of our planet expressed in sounds, images, and science: Earth’s greatest music from myriad peoples and eras, from Bach to Blind Willie Johnson to Chuck Berry, Benin percussion to Solomon Island panpipes. A short segment of Spiegel's "Music of the Spheres" opens the Voyager Record's "Sounds of Earth" segment, a collage of dozens of recordings that represent our planet, from birds and chimpanzees to thunder, a baby's cry, laughter, and a kiss.

Two years ago, my friends Timothy Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released the Voyager Golden Record on vinyl for the first time as a lavish box set. Read the rest

Thursday 4/5 at San Francisco's Cal Academy of Sciences: Space Age NightLife with the Voyager Golden Record

Please join me this Thursday evening April 5 at San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences NightLife event celebrating the Space Age! At 8:30pm, I'll be speaking about the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials launched into space that my friends Tim Daly, Lawrence Azerrad, and I released on vinyl for the first time here on Earth. I'm honored to be joined in conversation by my friend and mentor Timothy Ferris, the bestselling science author who produced the original Voyager Record back in 1977.

There's a stellar lineup of other presenters and happenings at the museum that night too: NASA astronaut Ed Lu, a workshop with the Vintage Synthesizer Museum, a panel on NASA computing technology, space-themed pinball machines, Vetiver's Andy Cabic and DJ Daniel T on the turntables, plenty of far-out art, and much more. I hope to see you there: California Academy of Sciences NightLife: Space Age

The Voyager Golden Record 3xLP Vinyl Box Set and 2xCD-Book edition will be for sale at the event and also available from OzmaRecords.com.

Here's an audio sampler:

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SF Bay Area on Thursday: Meet Frank Drake, the father of SETI, at Institute for the Future's "Voyager Record" celebration!

A reminder that this Thursday (3/22), Institute for the Future, the nonprofit thinktank where I'm a researcher, is hosting an event celebrating the Voyager Golden Record at our Palo Alto, California offices/gallery! Joining me in conversation will be legendary astronomer Frank Drake, the father of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and technical director of the original Voyager Record in 1977. Tickets are $10 and RSVP is required: "The Voyager Golden Record: Celebrating a Journey Through Space and Time" I hope to see you there!

Image above: Frank and I scrying with the Voyager Record cover.

Here's the full announcement...

IFTF's The Future Presents... "The Voyager Golden Record: Celebrating a Journey Through Space and Time" Thursday, March 22, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30pm 201 Hamilton Ave. Palo Alto, CA RSVP is required.

Please join Institute for the Future for a reception celebrating the Voyager Golden Record, the iconic message for extraterrestrials, launched into space by NASA in 1977 and released on vinyl for the first time in the 2017 Grammy-winning boxed set, “Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition,” created by IFTF researcher David Pescovitz, Timothy Daly, and Lawrence Azerrad. At this special event, Pescovitz, also a co-editor of Boing Boing, will be host a conversation with legendary astronomer Frank Drake, the father of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) and technical director of the original Voyager Record.

Forty years ago, NASA launched two Voyager spacecraft on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space.

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