EDL: An External Point of View

Cast as a soundtrack set to Curiosity’s decent to Mars, lietoofine from Padova, Italy has recorded an album entitled Entry, Descent and Landing that’s sure to give us a reason to feeling emotional about humanity’s mission to Mars.

​Some context filled my mind as I listened to this record. Oftentimes when we think of Mars we grasp at it from both popular sentiments and specific industry familiarity. For example, many know that it’s red, which is pretty cool, and it’s bigger than earth, which is kind of neat in a scary way for planet that’s all desert. Individuals as well as nations have long dreamt of visiting it since the space race of the ‘60s brought us back images of a human being first setting foot on the single moon that orbits our own local spaceship earth. And in the years to come many more people will join those who already survey the latest news about the various nations all gearing up with practical plans to colonize Mars.

If the future is for all of us, and many of us will live on Mars, let us experience this musical interpretation of what it felt like to be a lone, brave robot named after one of our greatest virtues, Curiosity, destined to take humans once more further than we have ever gone before.

Entry, Descent and Landing captures space lightning in a camera lens. From the spacious, rapidly percussive, opening moments of the first track, those who enjoy cinematic qualities in instrumental electronic music will find much to feed their imagination. Notes blare out as if they were sonar detecting the approaching planet that loomed before it out somewhere in the dark of space. Minor and major tones play out and around each other building up in a wavering chord that just as soon evolves into a stunning and exhilarating synth arpeggiation that gave me visions of Mars rotating in all its potential 2020 8K NASA live feed glory. Moments like these portray the intentionality of creating an imaginative space for our minds by the craft and creativity of lietoofine in producing this work.

“Parachute Descent” moves just as slowly, fluidly, and courageously as one would predict. “Powered Descent” following next, builds on top of the previous track to show how that same process of descent may feel when utilizing powerful thrusters to maneuver with the red planet’s heavy gravity. “Sky Crane” then sounds both like a national geographic documentary description of rover related technology as well as a death dirge for Curiosity itself who we know will never return from its decent to compete its purpose and mission.

“Back Shell” continues to give us reason to empathize with the little robot. We can feel, through the music, if we wish, stirrings of admiring Curiosity for human like determination; there’s also an anthropomorphic consciousness to be found to suggest we were the rover aware of itself; and also you can locate a sense of the frightening yet glorious promise of having an armored shell ready to face the harsh conditions of crossing the desert of the fourth planet from the sun on wheels, robotics and human computer science alone.

The remaining tracks continue to paint images for us of what it feels like and means to be and live in a world where these events have actually occurred. “Crash Site,” “Gale Crate” and “Heat Shield” all sound as if they were named to accompany an actual visual documentary about Curiosity and its adventures. “Heat Shield” in particular, has a funny way of applying lietoofine’s signature fizzy space guitar and spacious synths to illustrate an epic space battle between the human made shield and its arch nemesis, blasts from the radioactive ultra violent rays lashing out from our all mighty sun.

​Listening to this album is a joy. It refuses to negate itself by giving a definitive statement on Martian aesthetic by leaving that conversation up to hip earthlings looking to leveraging their design sensibilities to navigate mutually harsh social space and cultural white noise. Instead lietoofine shows us their narrative rich feelings expressed for this historical event in much the way a creative non-fiction writing author may pen this very same story in a book or a long form article. By releasing the work under a creative common licensing each of us as listeners can also remix and reinterpret this album to show our own perspective of the event. In much the way decentralization has become a buzz word through the internet of this planet, we can only imagination what structures of human creativity and collaboration will come to us thanks in origins to a brave little rover named Curiosity.

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