Photo illustration by Cyril Rana / Flickr

DJs Are Dropping Beats From Deep Space

28 July, 2016

Interpreting something from the universe awakens a unique inspiration and curiosity,” says the Swiss electronic musician Lucien Nicolet, who goes by Luciano. He wasn’t waxing mystical. That awakening lead to ALMA Sounds, his latest album, released this month, which features audio derived from one of the world’s biggest astronomy telescopes, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Scientists turned their observation data—of the Orion Nebula, some 1,300 light-years away—into sound, says Antonio Hales, an astronomer and member of the telescope’s scientific operations team in Chile. It’s just another way the public, he says, could “feel inspired by what we’re doing.”

The project, like the album, is also called ALMA Sounds, and offers hundreds of high-pitched chirps and low metallic drones, created by the project’s own software, free for anyone to download. Felipe Venegas, a Chilean DJ and producer—also featured on the album with Luciano—calls the opportunity to use sounds derived from deep space “something that any composer from yesteryear, like Beethoven or Mozart, would have loved to have.” (Minimalist composer Terry Riley incorporated sounds collected by NASA spacecraft, including Voyager, Galileo, and Cassini, into his 2002 work, Sun Rings.)

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Photo illustration: Cyril Rana / Flickr

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