Yuri Gagarin Memorialized in a Funky Music Video

On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin entered the “realm of myth and legend” when he became the first human in space and the first person to orbit the Earth. Now, over 53 years later, Gagarin is memorialized with (among many things) a superhero-esque statue in Moscow, yearly Yuri’s Night celebrations held around the world, a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome…and this music video for a hip new tune titled “Gagarin.”

Oh kids these days.

Created by the two-person London-based band PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING “Gagarin” is the first single released off their new album “The Race for Space.” The music and video, which uses newly-available footage from the Soviet space program, is a “brassy, funk-heavy superhero theme song for the most famous man in the world at the time” and “reveals a new side to the band – not least their considerable dancing skills.”

PSB creator J. Willgoose, Esq. explains the rationale behind the song:
“We didn’t want to be too literal in our interpretation of the material we were given – material that was full of heroic language and a sense of exuberance, with lines like ‘the hero who blazed the trail to the stars’, and ‘the whole world knew him and loved him’. It seemed more appropriate to try and re-create some of that triumphant air with a similarly upbeat song – and when it came to creating the video, the best way we could think of to communicate that sense of joy was to get our dancing shoes on.”

As a fan of Yuri, spaceflight, and brass-band breakdancers in astronaut suits, I give this video two Vostoks up.

You can pre-order PSB’s newest album here, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook, and YouTube.

Video © PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING. HT to Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing.

Brazilian Band Soars to New Heights with a NASA-Inspired Video


Popular Brazilian rock band Fresno recently released a new video for their new song, “Infinito”, and it really rises above the rest — literally!

It’s a story of four guys who take their childhood dream of launching a package up into space and, after years apart, come back together to make it a reality. Along the way we get to see some great views from a camera that the band members actually sent up to the edge of space via weather balloon — an accomplishment that came with its fair share of challenges.

Fresno lead member Lucas Silveira shared some behind-the-scenes info with Universe Today. “We wasted two cameras. One of them landed on a military base — exactly in the middle of a mine field — and the other simply disappeared… completely lost due to the lack of cellular signal on the landing spot.”

And even on a successful third try there were some technical difficulties.

“In our third attempt we used a different balloon, with more capacity, and it managed to fly for over 3.5 hours… but our camera only survived for around 2.5 hours. So we had to send a smaller balloon just to capture the ‘popping up’ moment, and added it to the ‘main balloon ride’ on post production.”

Still, the results — a dizzying view of Earth from 35 km up — are well worth it, and the story is an inspiring one… inspired, in fact, by NASA.

“I wrote this song after watching a video by NASA in which they zoom out from the Himalayas to the edge of the universe, showing the areas that still yet to be mapped. We are so infinitely small in the middle of all this greatness, and suddenly our problems get as tiny in our heads as our lucky existence here. It’s about searching for better days, creating a better future through proactivity and not letting others letting you down.”

When you soar that high it’s hard to feel let down.

Video courtesy of Fresno. Technical and launch assistance provided by ACRUX Aerospace Technologies. Band photo by Gustavo Vara.

Erasure and VLT Team Up for ESO’s 50th Anniversary

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British synthpop band Erasure released a video today featuring lead singer Andy Bell in front of the telescopes of ESO’s Paranal Observatory, located high in the mountains of Chile’s Atacama Desert. The new single “Fill Us With Fire” honors ESO’s 50th anniversary this year. Watch the full video below!

The video features the Very Large Telescope as well as some of ESO’s stunning images of the night sky. This is the third single to be released from their 2011 album Tomorrow’s World.

According to ESO’s press announcement:

Andy spent one day at Paranal in February 2012, during which time footage was shot of him singing Erasure’s latest single. The footage was edited with some of ESO’s best astronomical images. Andy, thrilled with the result, decided to dedicate it to ESO’s 50th Anniversary and make it the exclusive video for the single.

Shooting the Fill Us With Fire video. (F. Huber/Erasure/ESO)

Standing on a 20-foot-high platform in front of the VLT, Andy didn’t have a lot of room to move around during the shooting of the video. Say what you will about the choreography, I think it’s awesome to see the observatory and some of its amazing images featured in a new music video!

Personally, I would have wanted to be standing on top of one of the telescope domes but I’m not sure if that’s allowed.

Credit: Erasure/ESO (S. Lowery)

Directed by: Simon Lowery

Editing: Simon Lowery, Lars Lindberg Christensen & Patrick Geeraert

Music: Erasure/Andy Bell

Footage and photos: ESO, Guillaume Blanchard & Simon Lowery