NOTE: This blog entry is from July of 2008. And here is a lsightly easier link to the music and sounds included on the Voyager Interstellar Record.
The Voyager Interstellar Record has to be the most romantic idea ever associated with the federal government. I’ve been wanting to do a piece on the record for a long time; I knew it would be a fun one to produce.
When Nick Sagan’s book came across my desk, I remembered that his parents had been involved in the project. Nick put me in touch with his mom, Linda Salzman-Sagan, who had been a co-producer for the record with her then-husband, Carl Sagan. I loved hearing Linda recall stories of the two weeks she and the other collaborators spent working furiously to put the record together. It must have been the ultimate brainstorming session, thinking up the sounds and images that would best represent planet Earth. Check out the final tracklist here (click on “sounds”). I still don’t understand the UN Greetings/Whale Greetings track, but maybe more intelligent life forms would. What would you have included if you had been part of the Voyager Interstellar Record brainstorming session? Personally, I am totally fine with my portion of the world being represented by Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson. I wouldn’t have minded some Dolly Parton to have been thrown in there.
Linda Salzman-Sagan had an earlier dalliance with a NASA mission. She provided the artwork for the Pioneer Plaques, sent up to space in the early 1970s. The image was meant to be a friendly message from humanity, but it created quite a stir – “Smut in Space!” The Chicago Sun-Times went so far as to hide the figures’ genitals when it was published in the paper.