Thursday, 26 February 2009

Top 5 Sci-Fi Albums

I associate science-fiction with music quite a lot and, perhaps like other writers, use music as a strong influence when dreaming up thoughts of space and time. I wanted to list for you the top 5 records that influence me. In no particular order:

Vangelis - Direct: This album features the synthesizer sound that he used to such great effect in the compositions that formed the Blade Runner soundtrack, and although that soundtrack is excellent, the sounds in Direct are newer (1988) and are not tied to Ridley Scott's images, allowing the mind to wander in other directions. With track names like Intergalactic Radio Station, The Motion of Stars and First Approach, it really seems like Vangelis had his sci-fi cap on while sitting at the keyboard.

BT - Movement in Still Life: When BT started getting really granular with his music, splicing it and chopping it around and doing genuinely amazing things with sound, it felt like the future of dance music had arrived. With a pair of great headphones on, this album feels like you've plugged your head into a computer and you're listening to every single piece of data flying across the bus. After the hip-hoppy beginning it elevates to the stars and the last track, Satellites, is literally like being in orbit, complete with astronaut radio talk. A beautiful song. An inspiring album. Awesome.

Genesis - Calling All Stations: A lot of people slagged this album off but I really thought it worked, and Ray Wilson's at times tortured voice sounds like a man who's adrift in space (or at sea?) looking for comfort, or something he can tether himself too. The title track embodies this, and it's quite a dark album in places. Great catchy sci-fi songs with soaring instrumentals and some great drumming, especially on One Man's Fool.

Sasha - airdrawndagger: A soundscape unlike anything you'll have ever heard before, but not in an obcsure Tangerine Dreamy mid-seventies experimental, atonal type way. Sasha has drawn from those heady influences but has given rhythmic character to his sounds, shape even. The tunes take a little while to emerge but by then they're under your skin. More inspiring synth work that simply transports you off the planet.

Jean-Michel Jarre - Waiting for Cousteau: My friends and I used to lie on the grass in the garden at Selsey Bill on the south coast of England, looking up at the stars (or down, now that is an idea that can mess with your head!) while the beautiful 46 minute long title-track played. It has a floaty, watery, spaced out feel that is truly meditative. It complemented the stunning vista so well. That track works nicely as an accompaniment to writing too, as it's so unintrusive.

So there you have it. There were a few I left off in favour of these, but these are the holy grail in my eyes. If you're reading this I would really love for you to make suggestions of inspiring sci-fi music that transports you to that other place, as new music is always great to discover.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this list. I think sci-fi themes work brilliantly with music, and I've been looking for some suggestions for a while and I'l definitely check out a couple of these

    For me, Junior Boys - Last Exit, Burial - Untrue, Klaxons - myths of the near future, Bowie - Low, Caribou - Swim, and of course the Bladerunner soundtrack are the best sci fi albums I've heard so far.