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Author: Mahesh Anand

What does Moon music sound like?

Updated Friday, 19 July 2019
Listen to the Earth’s Reflection – a specially commissioned piece of music composed by Yazz Ahmed in collaboration with Dr Mahesh Anand.

In the digital age - art, technology and science are merging together to create an art form known as 'SciArt'. One of the benefits of SciArt is sharing scientific research to a wider audience. 

The Earth’s Reflection is a SciArt collaboration between The Open University’s Dr Mahesh Anand, a Reader in Planetary Science and Exploration and Yazz Ahmed, a trumpet and flugelhorn player of British Bahraini heritage. She seeks to blur the lines between jazz, electronic sound design and the music of her mixed heritage.

Listen to the composition below:

Yazz explains: “The creative process for my composition began after meeting with Dr Mahesh Anand who suggested three themes I might like to explore - the birth of the Moon, the discovery of water and the possibility of living on the Moon in the future. The melody is an emotional response which I arrived at by improvising after meditating on these ideas, particularly the loneliness one might feel while living in such a barren landscape.”

Yazz constructed an accompanying track for the melody to float upon, composing the soundscape in her studio by recording a mixture of percussion instruments, including a dust-bin lid, and non-tonal trumpet sounds, with air pops from the tuning slides and the rattling of the valves. By organising, editing and manipulating these improvisations and using a variety of software as well as the digital equivalent of tape cutting - looping, a narrative began to emerge.

Mahesh has found the collaborative inspiring and educational. “This project has allowed me to achieve my vision of communicating findings from my scientific research to non-specialists using the medium of art.”

The Earth’s Reflection starts with the chaos and violence of the birth of the Moon from the collision of giant heavenly bodies, with the Moon gradually forming from the debris. The calm conclusion of the piece imagines a future moon dweller gazing at the reflection of the Earth in a pool of water.


References and further information

Yazz Ahmed’s music has been described as ‘psychedelic Arabic jazz, intoxicating and compelling’. In recent years she has led her ensembles in concerts in the UK and internationally. Yazz has also recorded and performed with Radiohead, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, amongst others. Her 2017 critically acclaimed album, La Saboteuse (Naim), has brought her to the attention of a global audience. Yazz is supported by PRS For Music Foundation. Yazz is currently working on completing the recording of her third album, Polyhymnia due for release in 2019. 

The Earth’s Reflection is commissioned by The Open University and Sound UK. Supported by Arts Council England.


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