Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born the 16th of December in 1917. During his life he served in the Royal Air Force and was a radar operator, inventor, science fiction author, candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Literature Prize, conservationist, and television host. In 1964 a director by the name of Stanley Kubrick contacted Sir Clarke expressing an interest in making a film about extraterrestrials. In 1968 that film about extraterrestrials was released as 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are many films and records that I may call my “favorites,” but 2001 is not only a favorite, it changed the way I looked at everything. It’s a cinematic masterpiece and a work of art that has exerted an influence on me that I won’t even try to describe in full.
Since 1968 it has been universally recognized as one of the best science fiction movies ever made and has received accolades from almost everyone, including the Vatican (and how often have you heard of that?). And it couldn’t have happened without Clarke’s brilliance.
Since first watching 2001 with my father when I was very young it has only become more meaningful to me and I have developed a number of interpretations of what it all might mean… but I won’t bore you with that. News of Clarke’s death and a recent viewing of the film inspired me to pay tribute to both the man and the film.
The second hour of the show is me taking a shot at the soundtrack to the final portion of the film, where Dave Bowman is transported through the cosmos by the giant black monolith and then aged before being reborn as a “star child.” Realistically I should have attempted to do this over the course of 20 minutes instead of an hour. As it stands the music drifts a bit too much and isn’t nearly as frightening or intense as I would have liked it to be at certain points. There is an appropriate emphasis on silence (or near silence, anyways), however. When I most recently watched the film the thing that stood out most in my mind was how awfully quiet it is at points. These moments of silence contrast frightfully with the eruptions of sound that Kubrick employed during parts of the film and I wanted to find a way to incorporate that into this tribute. I think I at least partially succeeded.
As far as the eruptions of sounds go, the compositions by György Ligeti that are used in the film have always had a particularly strong effect on me; they frightened me as a child and honestly still do to some extent. I’m not sure I’ve heard anything that could recreate the effect that music had on me and short of using it during the show, I wasn’t sure how to recreate the anxiety that music manifests.
A funny little bit of information: someone also managed to send me an instant message online while I was using the computer to play Strauss’ “At the Beautiful Blue Danube.” As a result an obscene little computer beep pops up right at the end of the show. So it goes.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke passed away on the 19th of March, 2008. May he rest in peace.
In addition to the Clarke tribute, I would like to point all of you in the direction of one Robert A. Lowe. Otherwise known as Lichens, he has a couple of records available on Kranky and he has appeared on a couple of compilations and splits, one of which was featured at the end of today’s show. I’ll post my reviews of both of his records on this site, soon, but I thought perhaps some people may be interested in this video of Lowe performing in Paris. It’s a fine performance on the whole, but around the ten minute mark things become especially interesting and strange. I’ve seem some theatrical rock or noise performances that have flirted with ritual and mysticism, but the expressions on Mr. Lowe’s face tell me that there’s nothing theatrical about this. It’s work a look.
I hope you all enjoyed today’s show. If you have any comments or requests, please feel free to leave them here or to email at the address in the About/Contact link. A couple of individuals have contacted me by mail and informed me that they have difficulty leaving comments at this site. I am currently looking into that problem and hope to have it solved soon.
Thanks for listening and enjoy…
note: some track numbers are listed twice – this represents that multiple songs were being played simultaneously.
01. György Ligeti “Atmospheres” from Nouvelles Aventures / Atmospheres / Volumina (1992) on Wergo — originally released 1962
02. The The “Flesh and Bones” from If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t Please Your Soul (1985) on EMI
03. Mark Kozelek “What’s Next to the Moon” from What’s Next to the Moon (2001) on Badman — original by AC/DC
04. Bonnie “Prince” Billy “Agnes, Queen of Sorrow” from Greatest Palace Music (2004) on Drag City
05. Boduf Songs “Puke a Pitch Black Rainbow to the Sun” from Boduf Songs (2005) on Kranky
06. James Blackshaw “Lost Prayers and Motionless Dances (Excerpt)” from Lost Prayers and Motionless Dances (2008) on Tompkins Square — originally released in 2004
07. Loscil “Zephyr” from Plume (2006) on Kranky
08. Orbital “Lush 3-1” from Orbital 2 (1993) on FFRR
09. Orbital “Lush 3-2” from Orbital 2 (1993) on FFRR
10. All Sides “They Come By Night” from Dedalus (2008) on make mine music
11. V/VM “Must Do (Be-Dash Original)” from Sabam (2006) on V/VM Test — The Belgian New Beat Sound of 1989
12. Comet III “Astral Voyager” from Astral Voyager (2007) on Fire Museum Records
13. Hive Mind “Sand Beasts (Excerpt)” from Sand Beasts (2004) on Chondritic Sound
14. Vidna Obmana and Willem Tanke “Canon IV” from Variations for Organ, Keyboard, and Processors (2000) on Mutltimood/Staaplaat
15. Andrew Chalk “Blue Eyes of the March (Excerpt)” from Blue Eyes of the March (2006) on Faraway Press
15. Oren Ambarchi and Z’ev “Bet (Excerpt)” from Spirit Transform Me (2008) on Tzadik
15/16. Organum “Veil of Tears (Part I)” from Veil of Tears (1994) on Matchless
16. Christoph Heemann “A Shellweed Dream” from X Section (1993) on Extreme
17. Deathprod “Towboat” from Treetop Drive (2004) on Rune Grammofon
18. Cloudland Canyon / Lichens “Exterminating Angel (Excerpt)” from Exterminating Angel (2007) on Holy Mountain
19. Johann Strauss II “At the Beautiful Blue Danube”