Conductor Murry Sidlin was the man who suggested the sacrificial dance segment of Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring for the Golden Record. His arguments were that it had an interesting, complex and very striking structure. As does Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood‘.
The longest piece of music on the Voyager Golden Record is a chin-stroke inducing 8-minute guqin masterclass by Guan Pinghu. However, I need to save space. So I’m sacrificing Caravan’s ‘The Dog, The Dog, He’s at it Again’ (which is awesome, but 6 minutes long) in favour of Caravan’s ‘Love To Love You‘ (which is awesome, but just 3 minutes long).
I love The Cardiacs, if only for the polarising effect they seem to have on listeners. While ‘Tarred and Feathered‘ is quite unpleasant, I can imagine it might appeal to extra terrestrial beings with no common cultural reference points. Indeed, when we finally make contact with an alien race, I suspect their music will sound like this.
I think ET will begin to experience goosebumps around 50 seconds in.
Monkey Swallows the Universe arrived way too late to contribute to the Voyager Golden Record. ‘Gravestones’ was the highlight of their set at the 2007 Green Man Festival, which took place almost exactly three decades after the launch of Voyager 2. It’s a lament from a ghost who can’t figure out what he’s done to deserve limbo. This makes it the perfect song for a disc sent to drift in deep space forever.
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti, aliens will love ‘Africa’ by Toto.
Around the time Voyager 2 left Earth, Carl Sagan and the Golden Record team took part in a chaotic press launch at a Florida motel, hampered by sound pollution from a Polish wedding. Afterwards, Timothy Ferris, the record’s producer, remembers receiving flak from a NASA staffer, angry there was no Irish music on the record. Let’s right the wrong here and now with The Dubliners’ 1976 performance of ‘The Auld Triangle‘ on German TV show Liedercircus.