Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s New Album

Rock has had many spaced-out characters but only one has actually been to space. Former International Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield–a Canadian, of course–has a major label record deal with Warner Music. Come October 9, he’ll release Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, an 11-track album he managed to record during this 166 day mission aboard the ISS. From Metro:

A veteran of various bands for roughly 25 years, Hadfield decided before his December 2012 mission to the International Space Station that he would like to try to record music while aboard.

He perhaps did not expect that doing so would be, in some ways, an astronomical hassle.

Gravity, or a lack thereof, was the main culprit. To record an early tune, he stuck an iPad on the wall with Velcro and used its ambient microphone to capture the sound.

Eventually, he decided the best place to record was ensconced in his tiny sleep pod, with a microphone plugged into his iPad, floating in front of him. He was thankful to have brought a compact Canadian-made Larrivee Parlor acoustic guitar, because others might not have fit the narrow confines.

Playing that guitar was, however, another matter.

“It’s hard to play guitar on a spaceship, because there’s nothing to hold the guitar stable,” he pointed out. “Almost always, the guitar slips in your hands. If you’re a guitar player, I tell people to try playing while standing on your head.

“The producer who was helping me, Paul Mills, said: ‘Your guitar playing is a little messy,’” he added with a laugh. “I said, yeah, you come up here and play guitar.”

His singing voice mutated too, he explains, because sinuses don’t drain mechanically like they do on Earth.

“There’s no gravity to pull the fluid out of your head,” he said. “So you always have a full head and swollen tongue and vocal cords.”

So is it any good? Judge for yourself from this sample.

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s New Album

  • August 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm
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    We may not have been to space, but my band does have two (and sometimes three) NASA scientists in it – an outer space hydroponics researcher and his interns to be specific – http://www.musicpage.com/swamptroll

    Reply
    • August 10, 2015 at 7:01 pm
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      Edit: We are also Canadian – not sure why we have such an abundance of musical space cadets up here – must be the lack of sunlight

      Reply

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