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).
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.
The Voyager Golden Record was packed off to space with plenty of a cappella, not least this lovely sounding polyphony performed by the Mbuti of the Ituri Rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, circa 1951. I wanted to choose something made solely by human vocal cords, so I picked this minute-and-a-half of goose-bump raising awesome from David Francey.
Artist Jon Lomberg, one of the Voyager Golden Record’s design/image team, suggested that they include some Mozart on the record. He met resistance from Carl Sagan who apparently thought it too ‘lightweight’. In the end they chose ‘Hell’s Vengeance Boils in my Heart‘ from The Magic Flute as it ticked the Mozart and opera boxes, demonstrated the range of the human soprano, and all in a very short space of time. My opera category is satisfied by the twin-attack of Kitty Carlisle and Allan Jones performing ‘Il Miserere’ at the climax of A Night at the Opera.