Comet

by Andrew Huang

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about

On November 11, 2014, the European Space Agency shared a recording of mysterious oscillations coming from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. These were captured by their Rosetta satellite, which after a ten-year journey reached the comet some 510,000,000 kilometres from Earth.

Coming across this recording sent my dual passions of music and outer space into a frenzy that led to the creation of this album in three weeks.

All the tracks on Comet were produced using only samples from the ESA's recording, manipulated to varying degrees. Effects common to all music producers (equalization, compression, reverb, flanging, distortion) were employed to shape the audio aesthetically, but my vocal performances are the only other source of sound added to these songs.

With some pitch shifting (a negligible amount compared to the 10,000x by which the original 40 millihertz oscillation was sped up) I was able to transform the recording into sounds resembling plucked strings, kick drums, and buzzing synthesizers. By subtracting different frequencies I was further able to produce claps, snares, and hi-hats. On some tracks I used more advanced granular synthesis techniques to shape a 1-millisecond sample into rich bass and lead lines. I detail all of my processes in this video: youtu.be/ioAYxC6iqLs

Lyrically, I did choose to deal with the cosmos a bit. “Across The Universe” might be my favorite cover I’ve ever done, and space references abound in many other tracks. But I also wrote about love, sex, motivation, music itself, and a surreal dream of racing spacecraft with David Bowie.

The songs span a patchwork of genres - pop, hip-hop, reggae, and acid house are definitively touched upon - but the limited auditory starting point also forces new forms to be created, and we come to a particular sonic palette: hollow, mellow, spacious, dark, precise.

Much gratitude and respect to the scientists whose work allowed us to hear these strange vibrations. It’s a beautiful cosmic miracle.



Due to the pronounced bass frequencies in many of the album's tracks, laptop speakers are not recommended. Please use higher quality speakers or headphones.

credits

released December 16, 2014

Written, recorded, and produced by Andrew Huang.
"Across the Universe" written by Lennon/McCartney.

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Track Name: Across The Universe
word are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup
they slither wildly as they make their way across the universe
pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my opened mind
possessing and caressing me

jai guru deva om

nothing's gonna change my world

images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes
they call me on and on across the universe
thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox
they tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe

jai guru deva om

nothing's gonna change my world

sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my opened ears
inciting and inviting me
limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns
it calls me on and on across the universe

jai guru deva om

nothing's gonna change my world
Track Name: Flybys
i dream of mad tag team flybys
me and ziggy, freedom 50, sipping mai tais
flip switches, zip figure eights, high five
trick moves on slick moons, the tide’s high

first at the plaza
i could blast a verse like a burst of plasma
a flask of real lungs spitting fire to your asthma
nasa chopper doing jumps off your mazda
i'm properly the captain
dropping these raps like it's astronaut food
sealed packets of prophecy
stardust topography
kill an earth emcee quick
that's terminal velocity

make trails with a comet
ionized particles collide and i’m on it
space bass, bomb it
i liked saturn so i put it through the grommet
now we oscillate
little chirps wrought from waves
always sifting through the millihertz
i’m not your average listener
500 million clicks, i bring it back to the villagers
high-energy and magnetic
comet cosmetic in the bag, get it
you couldn’t touch down, let alone set the tone
i flip scripts on this rock
rosetta stone
Track Name: Keep On
well i never had a reason
and i never had the freedom
i think i fell for the day to day

now i'm looking for a moment
that feels like it’s across an ocean
can’t dream to begin to feel okay

push the thought out your mind
you don’t need it
push the real world away
can’t be what they want you to be

can’t see any other way to live
and i don’t want to be so alone
can’t see any other way to live
but i have to keep on

another day, another dollar
another everest to conquer
well is it harder to leave or stay

i’ve been looking for a diamond
i see it far on the horizon
can’t dream to begin to make my way

push the thought out your mind
you don’t need it
push the real world away
can’t be what they want you to be

can’t see any other way to live
and i don’t want to be so alone
can’t see any other way to live
but i have to keep on

can’t be okay like this
i’m not okay like this
i know it’s dangerous
but i can’t stay like this

can’t be what they want you to be
can’t dream that i’d wait another day

can’t talk about it
and dream about it
and live with out it, yeah

can’t see any other way to live
and i don’t want to be so alone
can’t see any other way to live
‘cause i have to keep on
Track Name: Meteor
girl, you know what i want now
let it out, let it all out

you take me higher, push me higher, my love

you couldn’t make it any easier
i think i’m always getting greedier
but you hit me in the heart, hit me in the
but you hit me in the heart like a meteor

girl, i know what you want now
we can paint the whole damned town

you take me higher, push me higher, my love

you couldn’t make it any easier
i think i’m always getting greedier
but you hit me in the heart, hit me in the
but you hit me in the heart like a meteor

now i’m all zoned out
now i won’t come out
and my head’s so loud
i take everything down
like your notes in class
like a thirteenth glass
now you slide that dress
i lose my mind but i take my time, ooh
yeah you treat me nice
yeah i treat you right
just two stars in the sky
yeah we go all night
now we're all messed up
never down on luck
and they can’t catch up
when you hit me in the heart it’s like a meteor
Track Name: Desolation Diamond
tell me that you feel that
the diamond of my heart
wasting out beyond the last lights
the evening of my scars

my mind is a fallacy
maladies colliding with the coldest reality
you had mastery
picked me up
i felt like i'd never come back to gravity
chased our lucky stars through galaxies
started families, we had fantasies
every ever after was happily
then we hit the apex and the apogee
i built you a palace, you banished me
called you majesty, you gave me amnesty
i was your canopy when the sun rained fire
and you spit my love back to me callously
my tragedy is my safe place
this rhapsody is my gateway
i embrace fate, even if it means catastrophe
and you take away my breath

i atrophy at your feet
your psyche disappears
losing touch behind a rose veil
hurtling through life

you move the stars, you turn my world, you do

organs of succession
dormant by the flame
chasing synapses and meteors
in your barren mind
Track Name: Space Bass
fantastic galactic
autodidactic spaceman
just drifting through the blackness
spastic, stretch this slingshot elastic
sombrero galaxy, shooting star, hat trick
and if gravity’s panic is at the twin seas
and a mask of the deep sleep can spin me
full disclosure: i don’t have it in me
but i can polymath like da vinci
i bring this space bass

she got into a rocketship and took off
in the opposite direction from everyone
'til the fuel ran out

whup
nights from days
braise the atmosphere
slay le soleil

let the black appear
i’m praying for a way we could pass the fear
old solar spoils
that’s what happens here
plunged into darkness
i park this mars rover in carthage
loading another cartridge
let art recommence from the carnage
monoliths rise from the garbage
i bring this space bass
Track Name: I Married The Sea And The Sky
i married the sea and the sky
and i can't believe you were see-through
i carried the wind and the tide
and i can't believe you
we’re see-through see-through

love was never enough
you wanted eternity
heartbeats cut into rock
an ember of you and me
cursive left in the suds
stone is thicker than blood
love was never enough
i can’t believe

i married the sea and the sky
and i can't believe you were see-through
i carried the wind and the tide
and i can't believe you
we’re see-through see-through

love was never enough
you wanted all of me
tendrils freeing the shoots
of sorrow's stolen seeds
washed up under the bluffs
wildflowers ground and crushed
love was never enough
i can't believe that you believed in me

now i feel i’m falling
spend my days just crawling
’til i hear you calling

i married the sea and the sky
and i can't believe you were see-through
i carried the wind and the tide
and i can't believe you
i can’t believe that you believed in me

now i feel i’m falling
spend my days just crawling
’til i hear you calling