SONG: My Batteries


“My Batteries” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Jacob Margolis’ Twitter feed, 13 Feb 2019, 3:30 AM “The last message they received…,” as used in the post “A Moment of Silence for Opportunity.”

ABSTRACT: This song was kind of a no-brainer. (I couldn’t afford more, the weekend I’ve had – sick day, plumbing emergency, surprise bulldozers removing part of my back yard….) I mean, it’s not literally a moment of silence. It is using a technique I used more than a decade ago to put a six-word story to music… by turning the words themselves into the music. Pitch shifting and looping, making different patterns collide.

I mean, Opportunity’s last words became such a thing online because they basically work as an eight-word story. Or a poem.

The jingling, hissing pad in the background is made from two samples: a broom sweeping a gong (part of the same gamelan set I used last month) and the audio of another rover, Curiosity, landing on Mars, as shared by the ESA back in 2012. They sped a 20-minute landing sequence into 19 seconds, so I slowed it down by 20 times. The only other sound that’s not my voice is another gamelan-broom, this one striking a rattle in a way that sounds a little like a cicada on a summer afternoon and a little like an outboard engine slowly coming to a stop.

My battery is low and it’s getting dark.