ambient public radio (hearts of space)
June 28, 2003 4:59 AM   Subscribe

hearts of space: since 1983, stephen hill has been producing hearts of space, an hour long show for public radio devoted to ambient music. occasionally new agey but mostly culling brilliantly moody instrumental pieces from traditional, global and cutting edge backgrounds, hearts of space brings brian eno's idea of aural wallpaper into a world that forgets about subtlety.

unfortunately, the entire programme archive requires a subscription, but the playlists are complete and have links where appropriate. otherwise, american listeners can find a local broadcast (or via satellite radio).
posted by myopicman (17 comments total)
[this post brought to you by the wonders of a 6am charlie horse on a saturday and a lucky spin of the dial to wnyc.]
posted by myopicman at 5:00 AM on June 28, 2003

Every public radio station I've ever heard that carried this show chooses to run it at midnight or in the wee small hours. If I can stay up that late (not so easy to do now that I am a geezer), it's great to leave the lights off and listen in the total darkness.

I presume the target audience they imagine are people stoned out of their minds, but being high is not required to enjoy this.
posted by briank at 5:58 AM on June 28, 2003

The best aural wallpaper is silence. (Or, if you must, 4'33", the extended album version)
posted by jfuller at 6:02 AM on June 28, 2003

If it's Hearts of Space, why does their site show a scuba diver?

About a decade ago, KTWV in LA used to play an hour of Hearts of Space in the early evening, and I liked it enough to buy two CD's out of the collection. It's great stuff, and not just aural wallpaper; for artsy electronic sound, much of it comes off as pleasantly tonal and non-dissonant. I thought of it as "funky planetarium tunes."

(This was before "The Wave," once LA's only New Age radio station, turned into just another easy-listening jazz outfit. A painful loss.)
posted by brownpau at 7:28 AM on June 28, 2003

Thanks myopicman. I've been looking for something for quite a while to introduce me to ambient music. My local public radio station doesn't carry this so I'm going to, horrors, put together one of the playlists from a peer to peer file sharing client.
posted by substrate at 7:44 AM on June 28, 2003

Well, I plunked down the very modest subscription fee for access to the archives, and it's been absolute heaven to be able to find shows by theme or artist and tune in to bliss.

Highly recommended buy if you can swing it.
posted by reality at 9:18 AM on June 28, 2003

"Hearts of Space" was used as part of that crazy mocking machine known (and loved) as MST3k when roasting "Pod People" (#303).

Here's a clip.

It's funnier, of course, if you're watching the film.
posted by weston at 9:24 AM on June 28, 2003

(and when I say "used" I mean "sent up along with the show")
posted by weston at 9:25 AM on June 28, 2003

I can only assure you that 'Hearts of Space', a clock radio set to NPR, and a workday that begains at six a.m. is a sure recipe for tardiness. That ambient music will simply not pull you out of bed.
posted by stet at 9:31 AM on June 28, 2003

Also check out Space Night
posted by black8 at 9:46 AM on June 28, 2003

Satie's Musique d'ameublement (Furniture Music) preceded Brian Eno. /nitpick
posted by mblandi at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2003

A few weeks ago I started re-listening to some HoS tapes I made of the show from around '86 or so. Even though some of the new age-y parts are very "ugh!", as a whole I still think it's a great show. The station I used to listen to it on played the show at 11pm on Sunday and I think it helped me smoothly go from the weekend to another set of weekdays.

If anyone has archive access, can you tell me which (if any) of the first few tracks in this show included the sound of cameras clicking? I think it's one of the Jean-Michel Jarre items but I'm not sure (and the CD is links to has different tracks). I have the show recorded on some 8-track tape around here, but it won't be easy to find.
posted by gluechunk at 3:44 PM on June 28, 2003

Loved that clip, weston. HoS is very easily parodied (especially Stephen Hill's intros) but the shows have introduced me to some incredible music. Sadly, quite a bit of the music on the archived shows is out of print, which makes getting ahold of more by these artists somewhat difficult.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:49 PM on June 28, 2003

gluechunk: the camera sounds come from Jean-Michel Jarre's "Souvenir of China" (from "The Concerts in China").
posted by deadcowdan at 8:51 PM on June 28, 2003

"recorded on 8-track tape"

....???? You're kidding, right?
posted by alumshubby at 6:23 AM on June 29, 2003

....???? You're kidding, right?

No, not really. In the '80s stores deeply discounted 8-tracks since no one was buying them. You could go into a department store and find a huge bin of cut-out 8-tracks where each tape was 49 cents or less (19 cents in some cases I think). Sure the tapes were by undesirables like Ringo Starr, but if you picked through the pile you could find lengthy tapes (60+ minutes) and re-recording over them was cheaper than buying cassettes (especially if you didn't have a decent cassette player/recorder).
posted by gluechunk at 11:39 AM on June 29, 2003

Man, I used to LOVE this show as a kid. Growing up in Kalamazoo, MI, there wasn't much in the way of this sort of stuff. My dad and I used to stay up late and listen to all the weird ambient music. True, the new-agey bits suck, as has been pointed out before in this thread...but it's the stuff in between the new-agey bits that make it totally worthwhile.

(Warning: shameless self-promo here) If there's any electronic-music-loving MeFites in the southern end of Chicago, I produce a radio show of ambient and electronic music on Monday mornings from 6-8 AM. (In fact, that's where I'm posting this from right now. :) ) Tune your radio to WHPK, 88.5 FM. No need to stay up to the wee hours of the night...made even more futile by the fact that WBEZ, Chicago's only NPR station, doesn't carry Hearts of Space. >:(
posted by 40 Watt at 5:28 AM on June 30, 2003

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