Music of the Spheres

I’ve always been a good bit of a space geek. I grew up loving Star Wars and still rank Empire among my favorite films of all time. I think that Battlestar Galactica is one of the greatest shows ever made, save for The Wire. And when Mass Effect 3 comes out this winter I’m probably not going to be sleeping/composing/doing anything else until that I am dead certain that the Reapers won’t be returning.

That said, it’s not just sci-fi that I’m into. Ever since reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything in college I’ve been pretty well hooked on the actual science of space. I think how vast and old it is, and how insignificant we are in its grand scheme, is pretty awe-inspiring, and I think a lot of the images we get back from satellites are beautiful. I even wrote a piece in college called “Under a Neon Sky,” which was all about the different layers of sky that one passes through while leaving the Earth.

When I was driving home listening to NPR one evening quite a while ago and heard a scientist named Sandy Antunes talking about sending up a satellite to translate the electromagnetic waves crashing into the Earth’s ionosphere into MIDI data, I instantly and absolutely wanted to get involved. So I did some googling and found Sandy, and wrote to him, and we corresponded for a little while about music and how to disseminate the MIDI data to musicians and composers and the like, and had some very friendly conversation. He said it would be a while until the music part of it was ready, because, well, he had to build the satellite and send it into space.

Sandy just wrote to me a couple of days ago to say that things are on track, and that he’s fundraising for the final stages of the project, which is called Project Calliope. The project website is projectcalliope.com, and the fundraising page is here.

This is happening, and it is going to be completely awesome.

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Nick Norton in the garden at Lupetti Pizzeria in downtown Los Angeles
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