Music for Aliens

The composer Laurie Spiegel on what it’s like to have a work of hers wending its way into deep space:

“I often think of those craft as sad and lonely, so very far from home, moving ever farther into the cold and the dark, sensing more and more hungrily for the slight, fading, low-level warmth of the increasingly dim sun. Yes, it is an amazing accomplishment for us humans, but it can also generate a feeling that a small part of us, the accumulated living habitation of this planet, has been propelled farther away from its home than anything ever should be. The rational part of my mind knows that I shouldn’t anthropomorphize, and see the Voyager as a being in exile or even as an extension of our own organic sensory systems. Possibly, my doing so is a carryover reaction from my horror and sadness when I learned of the Soviet dog, Laika, who died on the Muttnik (Sputnik 2) space mission that launched when I was 12. We know all too well what a double-edged sword our technological and information-structuring brilliance can be.”

the golden record

—Via The New Yorker and here to sample an excerpt of Spiegel’s “Harmonices Mundi,” her contribution to the golden record attached to the NASA Voyagers.