11 October 2018 Reviews

Voyager/Hello from Planet Earth (CD / DVD set)

ROOM doesn’t often get the opportunity to review relevant CDs or DVDs, but this two-disc set is an exception. The package is a celebration of the long-running Voyager missions to the outer planets comprising an 18-track music CD, a 70-minute-long bonus DVD (which adds visual archive material to the music) and an eight-page booklet to put it all in context.

The Voyager story is interpreted musically and visually by composer/performer Warren Greveson and designer/film-maker Tim Gill. Both the ‘Voyager’ album and the specially-commissioned film – ‘Hello from Planet Earth’ - begin with greetings in different languages from “the people of planet Earth” and conclude with the “sounds of solar wind” transmitted from the spacecraft. Factual captions ensure that this is more than just a music video.

The booklet and sleeve is well-produced and keeps everything together, but space buffs will learn little from the text. Rather than read factoids on the moons of Jupiter, I would have liked to know what motivated the composer to write the music and perhaps a little of his musical background and experience.

The album itself follows the ‘Journey to Jupiter’ (side one) and ‘Saturn and Beyond’ (side two) with track titles such as ‘Inferno at Io’, ‘Shepherd Moons’ and ‘Termination Shock’.

The music is predictably ‘spacey’ and largely synthesiser-generated. The album’s website quotes the genre as “rock/instrumental”, but in an attempt to be more specific I would say it’s a cross between electropop and prog-rock; think Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre with a side order of Camel.

I found the high-pitched synth on side one a bit wearing at times but the syncopated rhythms are engaging and addictive. Side two is a bit more ‘off the wall’ and arguably ‘less accessible’, but music is a highly subjective artform and I will certainly be giving this album a second listen.

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