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This Music Simulates the Awe-Inspiring Feeling of Seeing Earth From Space

Motherboard exclusively premieres Roger Goula's new single from Overview Effect-inspired album.

by Ben Sullivan
Oct 4 2016, 9:00am

Image: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

"There was a startling recognition that the nature of the universe was not as I had been taught… I not only saw the connectedness, I felt it…I was overwhelmed with the sensation of physically and mentally extending out into the cosmos."

These are the words of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the Lunar module pilot on the Apollo 14 mission to the Moon in 1971. Although Mitchell—the sixth man on the Moon—passed away in February of 2016, his words live on among countless other testimonies from fellow astronauts and cosmonauts describing a profound psychological experience that overwhelms the mind and body when viewing our Earth from space: the Overview Effect.

For most of us, the chance of ever experiencing the Overview Effect is slim, but contemporary classical composer and multi-instrumentalist Roger Goula attempts to bring listeners, and himself, a step closer to the experience with his new album—simply titled Overview Effect.

"I have always been fascinated by space, the universe and the physics of it. How our condition is directly connected to the physical world, and by that also our aural experiences," Goula told Motherboard. "I want the listeners to find themselves in that other state of mind without knowing how they got there. The experience should be transcendent and unique for everyone."

Read more: The Moon-Walking, Alien-Hunting, Psychic Astronaut Who Got Sued By NASA

Motherboard is exclusively premiering the first single taken from Goula's new album, "Pale Blue Dot," which explores a relationship between swells of warm strings and synthesizers—melodic, haunting, and eerie—a musical soundscape that paints a vivid picture of the void of space.

"I want the musical material I am generating to take me to unknown places. There's some knowledge theory that says we can't invent the unknown, or that we only know what actually exists," said Goula. "In other words, what we discover is what we create, so the universe generates while we discover it. In that sense the 'universe' becomes a metaphor for our inner psychological space. The Overview Effect is after all a psychological condition."

Overview Effect, Goula's debut, is released on November 4 via Cognitive Shift Recordings—a collaboration between One Little Indian and Manners McDade Music Publishing.

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