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The techno is out there


To celebrate 25 years of cutting edge music, Sonar Festival is compiling 33 pieces of music from 33 artists and blasting them into space. Each track will be 10 seconds long and will be transmitted from EISCAT (European Incoherent SCATter Scientific Association) antenna located in Tromsø, Norway.

The transmissions will be aimed at Luyten's Star, the closest star to our own with a known potentially habitable exoplanet and the place where scientists believe is most likely to house intelligent life.

The first batch of transmissions includes music from Autechre, Modeselektor, Laurent Garnier, Holly Herndon, Matmos, Jean-Michel Jarre, Nina Kraviz, Francisco López, The Black Madonna, Kerri Chandler, Ólafur Arnalds, Kode 9, Laurel Halo, Soichi Terada, Fatima Al Qadiri, Cabo San Roque, BFlecha and Nisennenmondai. A second batch of transmissions is planned for April 2018 when music from Richie Hawtin, Carsten Nicolai, Squarepusher, Kate Tempest, Daito Manabe, Juana Molina, Niño de Elche, Cora Novoa, Lorenzo Senni, Zora Jones, Desert, LCC, Yuzo Koshiro will be sent.

Faced with the unique challenge of communicating with a possible alien intelligence, the participating artists have come up with very distinct and imaginative responses. These range from the poetic to the mathematical - music composed according to mathematical tenets devised to be easily decoded - to the political; both in terms of presenting how humans are as a species and in providing a critique on how we are destroying the planet.

Carsten Nicolai has sent a recording of his unborn daughter’s heartbeat; a composition by Autechre created from the first 449 prime numbers; BFlecha takes inspiration from the cycles of the earths' distinct ecosystems and the elements of life on earth; Jean-Michel Jarre contributes one of his best known works in a nod to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"; The Black Madonna references the modern music industry with an ironic take on how to make a hit record; Nina Kraviz aims for peace with a rumination on the dual meanings of the Russian word ‘Mir’ (Peace, and World) while Laurel Halo presents a poetic lament that doubles as a cry for help - Please Save Us!

Lets hope that if any lifeforms pick up the transmission, they enjoy the tunes as a cherished gift, rather than take it as a declaration of inter-galactic war.

About the author

Matthew Francey

Head of Content

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