An Intergalactic Mix Tape

4 September 2015

SKTM 1977

This weekend marks the 38th anniversary of Voyager 1 leaving Earth on its interstellar expedition, with prize cargo the Golden Record on board. Adelaide Film Festival Investment Fund film Sam Klemke’s Time Machine riffs on Voyager’s escapades, so we asked director Matthew Bate to whip up a mix tape in honour of everyone’s favourite space probe.

Don your headphones, dim the lights, and turn the volume up to 11 for an Intergalactic Mix Tape from 1977. Over to you, Matt.

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1977 was a landmark year. In Chester, England, I was 4 years old, wearing a Steve Austin Bionic Man t-shirt and still eating my crayons. Down the road in London, kids were wearing bin bags and pogoing to the new sound of punk.

Across the pond in Denver Colorado, Sam Klemke began his life-long project to film an annual yearly summary of his life; while in Florida, NASA attached a Golden Record filled with humanity’s dopest jams onto the Voyager Space Craft, and sent it towards an alien disco in a galaxy far, far away.

This mix tape is a soundtrack to these intertwined events.     

The Damned – New Rose
In the same year that Elvis died, The Damned penned their greatest track, which heralded punk. It’s short ‘n’ snotty and perfect. They have the best names in music and the title New Rose might mean the flowering of this new music that changed everything forever, or it might not.  

Igor Stravinsky – Rites of Spring 
When this was debuted, its sound was so radical that factions of the audience attacked each other, missiles were thrown at the orchestra and the police were called. I think of ‘punk’ as being less about safety pins and more about this kind of artistic revolution – making Iggy Stravinsky a punk pioneer, and this track the most radical on the Voyager Golden Record.   

The Cramps – Domino
A cover of a fantastic early Sun Records jam from my all time hero Roy Orbison – taken to punk heights by the greatest band ever. What more can I say, other than wait for my feature documentary dream project about this band that may or may not ever happen. 

Lorenzo Barcelata – El Cascabel
This might be my favourite track on the Voyager Record. It’s a crazy Mariachi song that has an unearthly sound. It rollicks along and makes you want to eat nachos every day for a year. 

Donna Summer – I Feel Love 
I remember hearing this on the radio at the time it came out and being mesmerised by the hypnotic conveyer-belt Giorgio Moroder sound, and Donna’s incredible voice and ecstatic lyrics. Little did I know it would plant the seeds of raver-dom in my 4-year-old mind, and many moons later I would dance to the same tune at Le Rox Light Square wearing purple cords and a Gilligan hat, while sniffing amyl nitrate.         

Louis Armstrong – Melancholy Blues 
This captures melancholy better than any other piece of music. It’s not entirely sad and it’s not entirely happy. It’s sloppy. It sounds like Sunday dinner at Billie Holiday’s house. It’s Satchmo singing the blues through his horn. It’s nice to think this is echoing human angst into eternity on board the VGR.      

The Stranglers – Peaches    
By one of my fave bands, this song has been a family favourite at our house forever. First as the hit song, then as the soundtrack to Keith Floyd’s drunken cooking shows, and then as the opening scene soundtrack in Sexy Beast. It also rhymes ‘sewer’ with ‘skewer’.      

Georgian Choir – Tchakrulo
This Georgian Choir blows every other choir out the water. It’s epic. It’s manly. It’s a belter. It’s currently a billion light years from Earth moving towards AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis, which is heading toward the constellation Ophiuchus.


Langley Schools Music Project – Desperado 
This final cut is a version of Desperado that is so far superior to the original it’s not funny. The Langley Schools Music Project is about as punk as you can get – a DIY classic by a bunch of Canadian school kids, led by a teacher who traded Puff the Magic Dragon for contemp-pop classics. The grade 4 girl sounds like some haunted ghost-child who has looked into her future and doesn’t like what she’s seen, all the while the teacher’s piano hits these perfect bum notes. I’m crying just thinking about it. 

Sam Klemke’s Time Machine makes its Australian debut at ADL Film Fest on Wed 21 Oct at 7pm. More info and tickets here.

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