Imagine being able to listen to the music of the ringed planet Saturn. Now you can! Musician Jeff Oster has turned the eerie sounds coming from the Cassini spacecraft into “Saturn Calling,” a beautiful ambient new age jazz piece. “Saturn Calling” won the 2007 Independent Music Award for Best New Age Song and is the first song heard on Oster’s latest album, “True.”
Like all planets in our Solar System, Saturn “sings” with powerful radio signals. The Cassini space used its Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) instrument to capture some of Saturn’s music and broadcast it home to Earth. When Musician and space enthusiast Jeff Oster listened to some of this Saturn song, he felt that it belonged in a piece that he was working on at the time. The first sounds that you hear when listening to Oster’s latest album “True” are the sounds of Saturn aurora as recorded by Cassini.
“When I tell [listeners] that it’s the actual sounds of the planet – it adds an incredibly new and important dimension to the music,” Oster explains. “It’s Saturn calling out into space with the unique radio waves that it generates – and it’s true – it’s what’s really happening.”
In April 2002, when the Cassini spacecraft was 2.5 astronomical units away from Saturn, the RPWS instrument began to listen to the radio signals of Saturn’s auroras. Scientists believe that the complicated patterns (similar to those of the Earth’s Northern and Southern auroral lights) are made by many small radio sources dancing along magnetic field lines in the areas where auroras form. These radio signals sound like an eerie wind.
Fifty-year-old Oster, who has been playing the trumpet since age 8, became a limo driver and later a financial planner, but always kept his dream of being a professional musician. Oster explains that he is, “more of a musician than [a financial planner], but hey, someone has to pay the bills...” Eventually he made enough money to afford to follow his passion full time.
Oster explains that he makes music that he likes and hopes that others like it too. “Saturn Calling,” like all his music, wasn’t created for the commercial music industry. It simply sounds good to Oster; it feels the way he wants it to feel. He then “throws it out into the world” and sees what happens.
On “Saturn Calling,” Oster explains, he played the flugelhorn because his, “soul gravitates towards the warmer, darker sound.”
Oster hopes that one day his piece and other sounds of Saturn can be used in a larger forum, “I envision this music with a symphony orchestra playing – it really lends itself to that sort of a vibe for me.”
Oster hopes “Saturn Calling” will make listeners want to learn more about Saturn and the Cassini mission.
“I’m so happy to be even a little bitty part of this,” he explains. “The song is very majestic, and so is [the Cassini] program. So is space. So are the planets. It’s really come together in a very powerful and beautiful way.”
To listen to “Saturn Calling” click here http://www.retsorecords.com/music-19.html
Click here to listen to more sounds from the Cassini mission http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/features/feature20060424.cfm
Learn about the Cassini-Huygens http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov mission exploring Saturn and its moons.
For more information: www.jefffoster.com