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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy


By Phil Plait

I’ve been listening to electronica music for a long time (like, a really long time; as in I have Isao Tomita albums), and it’s interesting to me that variations of it are still popular. I can’t keep up with kids these days (STAY OFF MY ELECTRONS), so when a publicist sent me a note about Jamie XX, well, I’d never heard of him.

But she said the video for his new song “Gosh” has cool planetary visuals, so I figured what the heck. I clicked the link, and I have to admit: Yeah, the video has stunning visuals. It starts slow, so give it a chance.

I have to admit to chuckling when the rotating arm of the spaceship swings into view fully a minute into the video, after the very long approach sequence to Mars. That was well done. And the parts with spaceships and space stations set against the planet’s limb are really beautiful. Not to mention looking down on the dunes, craters, and other landscapes. The bits at the end with water-filled craters are really, really nice, jumping into the future after the planet is terraformed. That was pretty cool.

The music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but after listening to it a couple of times it grew on me. I have pretty eclectic taste (I’ll listen to the Captain America 2 soundtrack then ABBA then Shostakovich all without a break), but this was still something of a stretch. But I do kinda like it.

And I like that the video is slow, languid, letting you linger over each scene. It’s nice to know that some people making visual art still appreciate simple beauty and give you a chance to soak it in.

And who knows? What’s art today may very well be fact in a century or two. That’s the point.

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