This morning, while taking a look at the just-announced lineup for Wilco’s Solid Sound festival, I came across a unique musical project. Those of you that are intrigued by ambient music, electronic music, synthesizers, outer space, historic audio or Sci-Fi movies will find this project to be a rather special experience. It is called Quindar, and it is the result of the collaboration of Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen, historian and curator James Merle Thomas, and NASA.
Quindar stems from a vast collection of audio recordings belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The recordings span over five decades and contain anything from the sounds of equipment to audio logs of astronauts and the team working from the ground. NASA decided to digitize all of the original reel-to-reel recordings and then made them freely accessible to the public. Anyone can now go over to archive.org (the home of many wonderful free things) and peruse the hours of genuine audio from the historic moments of space travel. When Mikael Jorgensen and James Merle Thomas came across the NASA Audio Archive, they seized the opportunity to turn these sounds into music. Quindar is the remix born of space audio.
The remix feels like the type of thing an astronaut would play at a party. It’s atmospheric, ambient, and ethereal, but upbeat. It can give the listener the feeling of floating out in space or make them want to do some sort of future boogie. It is both a study of human history and a beautiful work of art. While Quindar exists only as an occasional live performance, the guys behind the project have released two full live mixes, which they performed last summer, on their website. I have posted one of the two below. While the two mixes have many similar parts and progress through the same musical sections, there is enough difference to make them both worth your time, though perhaps not back-to-back.
Head over to Quindar’s website to hear it for yourself. As I mentioned above, Quindar will be performing at Solid Sound, and I for one hope very much to be in attendance.