David Bowie already captured the ideal, studio sound for “Space Oddity”. My version is quite different.
His original recording has the slick, studio mixing of the vocals and the instruments. The original gives all of the cool, background sound effects that give the impression of space travel. Bowie’s “Space Oddity“ is arguably a masterpiece.
Any attempt to re-create that would be an exercise in vanity, and one which is bound to end in failure and disappointment.
If it did somehow succeed, it would still be nothing more than a staid rehash of something that was already done and done incredibly well. So, I went the opposite way with this.
I think it’s safe to say that astronauts don’t get to take their guitars (if they have them) on space flights. But if they did… that’s what I wanted this to sound like.
I wanted to give the auditory impression of a lonely space traveler, Sitting inside a little capsule, out there, in the unknown. Therefore, The audio is nothing more than a guitar and vocal track.
It’s mixed in such a way as to sound small, like it’s being played from inside the rocket. It’s supposed to sound like it’s being transmitted on a frequency that the space traveler isn’t the least bit certain will ever be heard.
Much like the plaque that American astronauts placed on the Moon, all those years ago, it’s a statement to some thing, anything, that may be out there. It’s an isolated signal, announcing “I am here”, even if no one else ever knows that I was here. It’s the tree falling in the woods, with no one around to hear it.
The video attempts to capture what I can only imagine are the two predominant emotions astronauts must feel. One is the giddy, childlike exhilaration of exploring uncharted territory… “We’re going into space! We’re going to the Moon!”
The other is the dread, mortal fear of something going horribly, horribly wrong. When things go wrong in space, it’s no small matter. Errors in space often result in immediate, violent death.
Perhaps even worse, is the possibility of becoming stranded. It’s the fear of being all alone, with no possibility of rescue. It’s the real and present danger of being doomed to endless wandering, sitting and waiting to run out of oxygen, to run out of food and water… waiting to run out of hope.
I hope that you enjoy watching and listening to this as much as I enjoyed making it for you. If Mr. Bowie happens to be listening, on any frequency, then I sincerely hope that he enjoys it, as well. It’s also fitting that today, NASA set a new record for space exploration, with their helicopter on Mars.
My grateful thanks go to the following people, for providing the images that I used to (hopefully) convey these ideas. The musical performance will likely fall short of even the sparsest expectations. Yet, I believe that the visual imagery is more than enough to make it worth the four and a half minutes of your time. This is a credit which goes entirely to the photographers and videographers. The honor is all theirs.
Support the creation of more music, poetry and general madness by Trent Boswell at:
There are multiple levels and benefits available, to suit any budget, starting at just $3 a month.