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Rock and roll came to the forefront of the music world about the same time as earthlings started the exploration of space so it’s no surprise that some rock music reflected the space race. Back then, the sounds we heard transmitted from space were electronic beeps or voices phase shifted from traveling long distances. The first significant rock song to make music of those sounds was Telestar by the Tornadoes in 1962. It was an instrumental but I would call it the first real spacerock song. Others followed and by 1967, Pink Floyd was expanding the spacerock style with longer jams like astronomy domonie, Interstellar Overdrive and, in 1968, Set the Controls For the Heart Of the Sun. They departed from spacerock for a while around 1970 and a band called Hawkwind picked up the torch and ran with it. Their first album was advertised as “spacerock” and over the next few years, their music redefined the genre. The lyrics were not just space related, but included science fiction literature, speculative fiction, as Harlan Ellison would say and SF poetry. Their albums and live shows had a story arc as well. In the mid 70’s the Los Angeles band Zolar X took a playful approach, so it wasn’t all just dystopian futures. It could be fun too.

Technology changed spacerock once musicians were more easily able to get their hands on synthesizers. The moogs and VCS3s could make sounds that were not heard in nature on earth. Great new tool! The music evolved with the technology and the creative contributions of new generations of musicians, but the overall concept remained the same: a musical interpretation of the concepts and experiences of space exploration enhanced by the themes of science fiction literature.

The “Escape Velocity” episode of the Blacklight Basement show is merely a “tip of the hat” to spacerock (I realize the choices may be questioned by spacerock fans) and I encourage anyone who likes what they hear to make an effort to discover more. There’s a lot of good music out there and fortunately more is being created every day!

For those unfamiliar with "Spacerock" Music:

© 2015 Rob Jacobs