One shouldn’t stop travelers – especially not if their landing site has been programmed for the home record collection. A few days ago, mail from the US spacecraft Voyager landed in my inbox: “The Voyager Golden Record Vinyl Box Set“.
The noble box contains the message of the earthlings that NASA launched into space more than 40 years ago:
Space, endless expanses. It is the year 1977. These are the adventures of the Voyager spacecraft, which has been on the Golden Record for many years to explore foreign galaxies, new life and new civilizations. Many light years away from Earth, Voyager penetrates into galaxies that no human has ever seen before.
Baroque and classic sounds, rock and pop, ethnic and all kinds of spoken, painted and photographed were pressed onto a gold-plated disc and sent on a long journey with two Voyager probes. In 55 languages, mankind greets strange intelligent beings, those of the distant day the probes and with them the valuable Vinyl records like to recover and decipher.
Sounds of Earth – the highlight of the Voyager Golden Record
In a sound collage entitled “Sounds of Earth”, birdsong, baby cries and a smacking kiss were immortalized. After a speech by the then UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim (you don’t have to hear it), whales (you have to hear it) sing highly polyphonically. And last but not least, high-quality concert recordings are intended to give foreign intelligentsia an impression of human culture and music creation: Bach has the Allegro from the second Brandenburg Concerto (Karl Richter with the Munich Bach Orchestra), the violin solo in E major BWV 1006 (Arthur Grumians) and the Prelude with Fugue in C Minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier (from the Groundhog Glenn Gould). Wolfgang Sawalisch conducts in front of the orchestra and choir of the Bavarian State Opera Mozart’s Magic Flute, Otto Klemperer and the Budapest String Quartet give Beethoven. But also Louis (not Neil!) Armstrong blows the melancholy blues, Chuck Berry blasts Johnny B. Good and the fabulous blind Willie Johnson gives the blues “Dark was the night, cold was the ground” with an earthy voice.
Last but not least, folk musicians from all continents ensure that the aliens are introduced to the image of an earth people who are constantly singing and making music. If you then admire the more than 100 beautiful photographs, which are also immortalized on the plate, you will probably book the next trip to Earth, solar system Sol, medium-sized Milky Way in the big travel agency at the end of the universe with joy: people at the hut and Building houses, contemporary architecture from New York to the Sydney Opera House, modern technologies from the railways to medical and satellite technology to space travel, happy people at work, playing music, doing sports and dancing convey a picture of a peaceful and happy earth community.
The Voyager Golden Record – a call of hope and departure
1977 was also a year of racial unrest in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, war in Somalia and Ethiopia, social unrest in New York and a devastating oil spill in the North Sea. Despite everything, the then US President Jimmy Carter added a hopeful greeting to the Golden Record: “We human beings are still divided into nation states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization. “ But that was the 70s: full of hope and confidence in the future – also shaped by the joy of contact with foreign civilizations.
We can now bring some of this joy into the house and onto the turntable – in the form of exciting music and exciting insights into foreign cultures of our home planet. The box contains
- all sound recordings of the Voyager Golden Record on three vinyl records
- Access data for downloading the audio content (MP3 or FLAC)
- a 96-page English softcover book with background information and all pictures of the Voyager Golden Record
- a valuable reprint of the Voyager Golden Record on archive paper
- a turntable mat
The box costs around 100 euros in more or less well-stocked specialist shops.
The earth will understand its recipients as little as the universe. But maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. As Woody Allan once said so aptly: “I am amazed at people who want to understand the universe, where it is difficult enough to cope in Chinatown.” Dear extraterrestrials and earthly people: what Woody says also applies to this planet Earth. You won’t understand him with the Voyager Golden Record either. But the record is still fun. Now on vinyl instead of gold.
Author: Author Michael
Date: April 14, 2019