Space Meditation Music:
the Past and Future
Not very long ago, I did an article on Space Music and found a lot of really good music that reminded me of the old music from bands like Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream. Music that I think of as space meditation music, because it helps the mind to concentrate, and to fly free.
I decided to dig a little deeper into some of the influences from the 50s and 60s and was surprised at the depth and how complex the early space music really is. The music has continued to evolve and now includes recordings from, yes you guessed it, Space itself. Sometimes standing alone and often included in more conventional ambient music, the sounds of Space are now a part of our music, lending a new meaning to the term “space meditation music” .
As I mentioned before, Space Music is described as “tranquil, hypnotic and moving”. It is derived from ambient music and typically evokes a sense of spatial imagery and emotion or sensations of floating, cruising, and flying. Typical instruments include: computer, drum machine, digital audio workstation, electronic musical instrument, sequencer, and the synthesizer.
In 1956, jazz artist Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, legal name Le Sony’r Ra) used the term to describe his music, when he said that the music allowed him to translate his experience of the void of space into a language people could enjoy and understand. He was known for his experimental music, “cosmic” philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances.
He is widely considered an innovator; known for his pioneering work in free improvisation and modal jazz and the early use of electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
India Super-Sonic Jazz 1957
Karlheinz Stockhausen (22 August 1928 – 5 December 2007) was a German composer, widely recognized as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. He is known for his groundbreaking work in electronic music, for introducing controlled chance into serial composition, and for musical spatialization (composed music that intentionally exploits sound localization).
In 1969, Miles Davis was introduced to the music of Stockhausen, leading to a period of new creative exploration for Davis. Biographer J.K. Chambers wrote that “Davis’s own ‘space music,’ shows Stockhausen’s influence
compositionally.” His recordings and performances during this period were
described as “space music” by fans, by music critic Leonard Feather,
and by Paul Buckmaster who said: “a lot of mood changes – heavy, dark, intense – definitely space music.”
Shhh Peaceful (1/2)
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Grateful Dead developed a new form of improvisational space music in their extended formless jam sessions during live concerts (which their fans referred to as “Space” though the band did not formally assign that title), and their experimental space music albums such as Aoxomoxoa, and later in the 1980s, Infrared Roses, and Grayfolded.
Dupree’s Diamond Blues
The Czech-American composer Václav Nelhýbel, released in 1974 a record named Outer Space: Music by Vaclav Nelybel.
Current space meditation music
Robert Tar is a recent find. His music on YouTube is Trap/New School Beat and is a great example of an artist continuing on with the space music genre. With over 80 videos on his channel, there is a lot to listen to and enjoy.
And of course, I have to include one of the NASA recordings. There is a period of silence at the beginning, with a written introduction. Skip to about 35 seconds into it for the music of Space.
For great ambient music with a live feed from the International Space Station (including a chat area), experience:
From Sun Ra; who claimed to have visited Saturn long before alien’s began taking humans for a ride; to Robert Tar to NASA, the music continues to provide that feeling of flight and freedom. Space meditation music will continue to evolve and I look forward to the first music with alien influences. What a strange trip that will be!
Looking ahead at the future of space music, I think that the early composers would be proud of what they accomplished and at the direction that their music has taken. With the advances in technology and in space exploration, Sun Ra will forever shine as a visionary and leading member of the elite.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at the past and future of space meditation music. I have plans for more articles about this fascinating genre and the musicians who led the way for our modern composers. To steal an old quote about Pink Floyd, you don’t have to get high to listen, you listen to get high!
Remember to share and pass along our music to your friends, nothing like taking the trip to the stars with our own private spaceship, the Earth!
Questions and comments always welcomed and encouraged, let’s discover more space meditation music together!
Walking the Path of Peace,