Here for the Ambience: Currently Listening to [Sol System] – Venus (Ambient Mix)

Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.

Currently listening to: Venus, mixed by Alex Hephaestion.

Current: is undergoing a site revision, and downloads are temporarily available only via the forum, which requires a free registration. Don’t let that stop you, this is good stuff!

Post: When I was a kid, I was fascinated with science shows. I was a huge nerd, in a time where nerdiness was much more of a liability, or so it seemed to me. At any rate, one of my favorite shows was a first-year university course in physics called The Mechanical Universe. Much more than a lecture series loaded with equations, it also had cool animations describing the weirdness of things like the effects of near speed-of-light travel, and wonderful ambient music playing throughout. It was like a trip to the planetarium, every time, and I would always come back with a little more understanding of how nature worked, and a ton more questions to go along with it.

One of those frustratingly fuzzy memories I have was of an audio trip through the planets of the Solar System. It may have been called “Music of the Spheres.” At any rate, the idea was that somehow music could be generated, or perhaps interpreted, from the movement of the planets in their orbits, their sizes, their composition. I barely remember the program, only that it sounded a bit strange, not much like music, hypnotic, and was accompanied by a dramatic virtual tour of the planets and each of their individual contributions to the “soundtrack.”

The idea that planets, things you could maybe half-see as flat disks but never touch, could also be experienced in terms of sound, stuck with me. I’m not the only one, however, and apparently the idea is a very old and romantic one. It seems like we humans are always wanting to reach out and define things beyond our grasp. It’s a huge part about what’s great about being human.

It’s also a decent organizational principle. Eight planets, plus one non-planet, equals nine tracks. Or more, if you’re Alex Hephaestion, who just can’t seem to help creating more and more mixes of ambient music, and givin’ ‘em away for free. He’s plumb run out of planets and is now going for moons.

Right now, I’m thinking thoughts, doing work, and cutting along the muggy, clouded atmosphere of Venus, an hour long mix of ambient music It’s a good, thematic mix that neither soars nor throbs, only calmly, thickly, carries you along.

Or something. Album reviews are all terrible. This mix is quite good. Download it for free, right now.

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