5/4: A Spaceship Powered by Natural Sounds

taken January 16, 1958, off Trinidade Island

Last week’s show had a loose theme: songs, bands, albums, or lyrics that refer to science, science fiction, monsters, and various other unexplained or mythological phenomena, especially UFO sightings. I’ve been obsessed with UFOs since I was a little kid and after watching some movies about aliens and alien abductions in the last couple of weeks (Fire in the Sky is awesome), I felt compelled to compile some tunes centered around the subject. I say loose theme because some of the selections really stretch it. You know, Brian Eno’s “King’s Lead Hat” because it’s on an album with the word “science” in the title. Or an Orbital song because… well, because Orbital’s name suggests space? After finding out I didn’t have quite enough UFO music to complete the show, I decided to expand my criteria a little bit.

In any case, it was a good chance to throw some unusual music together and to play cuts from bands I don’t normally put on the show, including Electric Wizard and Ufomammut. There are lots of other, maybe more obvious songs I could have made a part of the show, but Halloween music and soundtracks weren’t exactly what I had in mind when I started making my list. Some obvious stuff went missing, so I thought I’d include a few videos here to help round out the show. I realize most of Man Or Astro-Man’s discography could fit in here, so I’ll just skip over them.

And then there’s this:

“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” was originally written and recorded by Klaatu in 1976. The Carpenters of all people recorded their own version in 1977 and it actually became a hit for them. The song claims to be the official anthem of World Contact Day, which is a bizarre enough thing in its own right. In 1953 an organization calling itself the International Flying Saucer Bureau attempted to organize a kind of group meditation in which a collective telepathic message would be sent to inhabitants of other worlds. This was to take place on March 15th, though I can’t find out if the group published any material about the outcome of their efforts (the IFSB was essentially a one man group, but it’s history is kind of legendary/infamous among UFO nerds; check the link above). The message they intended to send began with the words, “Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.” The Langley Schools Music Project features a version of this song, which is a thousand times less cheesy than either the original or the Carpenters’ version. You can hear it right here:

I’d love to hear about other alien/monster/UFO songs from anybody that reads this blog, so please send suggestions my way. Doesn’t matter if they’re serious or funny or anything else for that matter. I hope to eventually put together a semi-comprehensive mix for the site.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the music and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!



01. Coil “Sex with Sun Ra (Part 1 – Saturnalia)” from Black Antlers (2004) on Threshold House

02. Sun Ra “Message to Earthman #1” from Rocket Ship Rock (2009) on Norton Records — vocals by Yochanan

03. Hawkwind “The Awakening / Lord of Light” from Space Ritual (Remastered) (1996) on EMI — released 1973

04. Ufomammut “Lacrimosa” from Snailking (2004) on The Music Cartel

05. Photek “UFO” from Form & Function (1998) on Astralwerks

06. Pixies “The Happening” from Bossanova (1990) on 4AD/Elektra

07. Spacemen 3 “When Tomorrow Hits” from Recurring (1990) on Fire

08. Misfits “I Turned Into a Martian” from Collection (1986) on Plan 9

09. The Clean “Stars” from Getaway (2009) on Merge

10. Devo “Planet Earth” from Freedom of Choice (1980) on Warner Bros.

11. Kraftwerk “Spacelab” from The Man-Machine (1978) on EMI / Kling Klang

12. Spiritualized “Lay Back In the Sun” from Pure Phase (1995) on Dedicated

13. Songs: Ohia “This Time Anything Finite At All” from Impala (1998) on Secretly Canadian

14. Guitar Wolf “Teenage U.F.O.” from Jet Generation (1999) on Matador

15. Orbital “P.E.T.R.O.L.” from In Sides (1996) on FFRR

16. David Bowie “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” from Scary Monsters (1980) on RCA

17. Lamb “Alien” from Fear of Fours (1999) on Fontana

18. Peter Schilling “Major Tom (Coming Home)” from Error in the System (1983) on Elektra

19. Brian Eno “King’s Lead Hat” from Before and After Science (1977) on Island

20. Wooden Shjips “Vampire Blues” from Vol. 2 (2010) on Holy Mountain — original by Neil Young

21. Electric Wizard “Dunwich” from Witchcult Today (2007) on Candlelight

22. The Orb “U.F. Orb” from U.F. Orb (1992) on Big Life / Wau! Mr. Modo


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