PMT Guide To... Space, Music & Far-Out Gear


Ahead of Jack White's Third Man Records launching the first ever record to be played in space (tomorrow, Saturday 30th July) we ask: why does space seem to fascinate musicians so much? Check our Top 10 best "space" songs, plus the most far-out gear here at PMT Online and at our stores!

Space blog

Space has fascinated mankind since the dawn of time. We stare at the starry sky and wonder, "What does it all mean? Why are we here?" That kind of stuff. Some people become scientists, and try to find new planets, study the movement of stars, etc... but the musician stare at the sky and thinks, "Hell, now here's a subject better than just another 'My baby left me' song!" And then, there we have it - before long, pop culture had a long list of songs about space... from Gustav Holst to Babylon Zoo!

Babylon Zoo Fear not: Babylon Zoo didn't make our Top 10...

On Saturday, 30th July 2016, a new chapter in space music will begin: Jack White's Third Man Records will attempt to launch the first ever record to be actually played in space! The Icarus project will send a Carl Sagan record into space, inside a custom-made record player.

Third Man Record's space record Third Man Record's space record...

According to their press release:

"On July 30th, in celebration of our 7th anniversary, Third Man Records will reveal our attempt to play the first phonographic record in space — a gold-plated 12” master of Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn” (a moving arrangement of Sagan’s sagacious words culled from his magnificent Cosmos series, previously pressed and distributed as a 7” in their first year of operation, 2009). "

This feat will be a fitting tribute to Sagan, the famous scientist who fronted the popular Cosmos TV series and who chaired the committee who selected the sounds and created the legendary Voyager Golden Record, sent into space in the Seventies.  But unlike the Third Man project, the Voyager Golden Record has actually never been played in space!

Carl Sagan said that "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space."

PMT's Top 10 Space Songs

Sit back, fasten your belts and prepare for the launch! Here's our picks of best "space songs"!

1) 'Space Oddity', David Bowie

Bowie's first hit and the song that perfectly launched him as an "other worldly" pop star.

2) 'Astronomy Dominee', Pink Floyd

The first song on Pink Floyd's debut album, and a perfect showcase to Syd Barrett's out-there creativity.

3) 'Ladies and Gentlemen... We Are Floating In Space", Spiritualized

Needless to say, Jason Spaceman has a long connection with far-out sounds, since his Spacemen 3 days. This is still his finest moment, from one of the best albums in the 90s.

4) 'Space Is The Place', Sun Ra Arkestra

Sun Ra was an experimental jazz genius, Moog synths pioneer, "cosmic philosopher" and an alien from Saturn (allegedly). Obviously, he had to be on our list...

5) 'Intergalactic', Beastie Boys

For a time, in the 90's, you could search through the whole universe and not find anything as cool as the Beastie Boys. Word!

6) 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', Richard Strauss

Ok, so it's not a "space" song, but will be forever associated with Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, '2001: A Space Odyssey' - to the point it's almost impossible to listen to this piece and not think of space!

7) 'Girl From Mars', Ash

In an era so full of upbeat Britpop hits, Ash's single still stands out as one of the most fun, innocent and rockiest songs of that time.

8) 'Mr. Spaceman', The Byrds

One of the greatest American bands from the Sixties, the Byrds were as fascinated by the "space age" as anyone else at the time... and this song was a hit.

9) 'Supermassive Black Hole', Muse

One of Muse's finest moments. It sounds... supermassive!

10) 'D'Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?', Oasis

This fine b-side is one of Noel Gallagher's most earnest moments. For most of us, space is just a dream...


Make Sounds From Outer Space!

Ok! So you've heard some space songs... in case you now feel inspired to create some interstellar masterpieces yourself, here's our choice of the Top 5 best gear to make some far-out sounds!

1) Boss RE-20 Space Echo Tape Delay / Reverb

Boss RE-20 Roland Space Echo Tape Delay / Reverb Pedal This pedal helps you to create some delicious, vintage-style tape delay sounds as well as immense reverbs. Perfect for the most psychedelic space trips, man! VIEW MORE

2) Moog Theremini Theremin

Moog Theremini Theremin Synthesizer This is an updated , more compact and more affordable version of the legendary instrument, which was used in countless sci-fi film soundtracks in the '50s. Perfect! VIEW MORE

3) Moog Minimoog Model D

The new Minimoog Model D The new and improved Minimoog Model D! The original was one of the most innovative and far-out instruments ever created, and this reissue proves it still is! No wonder Sun Ra was one of its first users... VIEW MORE

4) Roland GR-S V-Guitar Space Effects Pedal

Roland GR-S V-Guitar Space Effects Pedal When it comes to creating spacey, far-out sounds, this relatively obscure pedal does justice to its name and won't disappoint! A very fun tool for the creative, experimental guitarists out there! VIEW MORE

5) Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing Ring Modulator

Electro Harmonix Ring Thing Modulation Guitar Effects Pedal If a ring modulator is good enough for the Daleks, then it must surely be good enough for your far-out, crazy space sounds, right? The EHX Ring Thing is one of the best and most versatile models available. You won't hear anything weirder in Roswell... VIEW MORE

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