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Metroid Sonifying Space

from PASTE

Space Is the Place: How Metroid’s Music Captures the Essence of Space

By Dia Lacina

When the Challenger exploded, my parents tried to hide it from me. They did okay for a few days. But it was inevitable. They knew how fixated I was on space, how I wanted to be an astronaut, and they didn’t want to take that away from me.

Turns out you have to be a die-hard nerd, a low-key jock, AND have led an unimpeachable boring public life to be an astronaut. I talk too much shit for NASA.

But space still rules. Planets are cool.

One of the ways we “see” space and celestial phenomena is through sound. Radio waves turned into data, meaning applied to it. You can also get sick album art for sick albums out of it

I think a lot about how we sonify space. How we communicate emptiness, fullness, and the truly “alien.” Mapping sound to soundless vacuum to express cosmic immensity, like Priscilla Snow does in Voyageur. There’s Kubrick’s usage of classic music—expressive, expansive, cost-effective. Or James Horner’s James Horner-ness. For every vision of space, there is a score. Jack de Quidt has managed no less than threedistinctvisions for the Milky Way.

How we turn the space of space into place, pressing our apprehensions and exhilarations onto the dreams of life off-world is fascinating. Militant or gentle. Banal fantasy. A corporate nightmare. Or the unquestioning delight of “discovery.” 

We are made of stars, we live among them. It’s fitting that our relationships to the heavens should be as complicated and diverse as the ones to ourselves.

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Posted on July 10, 2020 by Editor

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