Our clear, shiny blue orb hangs haphazardly in the black of the cosmos, connecting everyone and everything within it to larger swathes of space; beyond the solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy. Every single thing, even the colossal planets, pale into tiny, ill-lit beacons. The Planetary OST is a fragile reminder of our own highly unstable place in a universe crafted out of chaos and charisma. It’s a stellar voyage; the ambient blast off is more like a serene lift as it takes us high above the world. Astonishing altitudes lie in wait. The launch pad sends us up softly, floating instead of rocketing. The space shuttle’s boosters made for a rough ascent, but this is ambient music, and the music will always ensure that we’re well looked after. With Planetary, we are all astronauts.
Spacy, ambient synths and classical instruments glint as they unravel the glorious spectacle. Far beyond the blue orb, vast, sweeping panoramas and other, distant worlds come into view. It leaves the listener breathless. The music is literally out of this world and it’s the perfect musical score to accompany the film. Human Suits (Justin Radford, Maximilian Fyfe and Jerome Alexander – who also records music under the name Message To Bears) have absolutely nailed the dazed serenity of life in space. Space isn’t exactly a comforting notion, though; potential dangers and threats to life are without number, with asteroids, comet strikes and distant, alien planets that could possibly harbor a malevolent species. Some highly reputable scientists have warned that broadcasting our position might not be such a good idea.
The golden, washed harmony of ‘Earth’ sings with life and vitality. Like the layer of the ozone that protects the Earth, the ambient-tinged bass softens the music, blocking the harsher rays. Mother Earth looks after us as we stand under her orb. And so, the music wrangles with intimacy and infinity. As a soft piano plays, the teary eyes of ‘Mass Extinction’ fall slowly through the chasms, wearing the black dress of melancholia. The mournful bells of sadness ring out, and on ‘Disconnection’, stability hangs in the balance. Delicate strings and a softly plucked guitar coalesce in fleeting unity. Ambient synths fade in and out, perfectly shaped, like that of a planet’s sphere. The meditative drone of ‘Seeing’ reflects the cosmic beauty and the inherent spirituality of the stars. Shafts of sunlight wink out from behind distant moons, illuminating the synths with an increasing pool of light. At eleven minutes, ‘Meditation’ is the longest piece. This is the song of the universe, sitting like a satellite above the sky. This is universal music