June 12, 2012

Snowflakes Are Dancing

First, the Wikipedia remix:
Considered by Space Music fans as the Ultimate Space Music Experience. Isao Tomita's electronic rendition of Claude Debussy's Arabesque No. 1, from Tomita's album Snowflakes Are Dancing was used as the theme music for the PBS astronomy-based program Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer from its debut in 1976 until October 2011. According to the former Star Gazer website, this is the most frequently asked question the producers receive. From its inception until 1997, the show was named Jack Horkheimer: Star Hustler. With the rise of the Internet, however, viewers let the show's producers and WPBT know that, instead of the program's web site showing up at the top of search results, search engines were giving results for the Hustler adult magazine. As a result, the producers renamed the show Star Gazer to avert any confusion, accidental or purposeful.
Tomorrow I turn 44. Today I celebrated, because I have to work day after tomorrow. My wife and I drove to the big city for a record binge. In the store my wife flipped through the "UNCATEGORIZED" bin and pulled out this record because it looked weird. Four dollars. She typed it into her phone and read the Internet. On the long drive back she asked me, Do you think we could maybe listen to it a little later?

As soon as I heard the part they used for the theme to Star Gazer it all came back to me. The show aired in the middle of the night in Denver in the late 90s. I had my folks' old Curtis Mathis console in my bedroom back then. I worked nights typesetting adds at the Rocky Mountain News. I'd come home at two in the morning and drink a couple beers and cook a bowl and PBS was one of the only stations I could get, so I'd watch it until I'd pass out, and Star Gazer would come on, and that music would weave into my dreams.

My wife is asleep now on the couch. I know that a gazillion people have heard this album and owned it, or they know about it, and they know it's common and not worth much. But it eluded me for forty-four years, and now I know it's essential. I organize our records chronologically and this record connects much and many. Another Green World came two years later, for instance; Seastones one year later. I don't have either of those on vinyl yet. Some parts of this Tomita are funny, like cartoon sound effects, and others are cheesy, but quite a few are totally far out.

These orbiters are plentiful in cyberspace, and cheap, so there's no excuse for not having one.

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