February 19, 2010

Exogazing: A New Music Genre that FITS!

In a fit of joy and delight, I've just learned that the band called A New Silent Corporation (ANSC) has picked up on "exogazing music". This is what they posted,

"Apparently there's a new name for our music genre, it's called exogazing. Like watching out to other worlds. Which kind of fits."

This is the first time that a musical artist has expressed approval for the name of their new genre. And I'm very happy to hear it from this exogazing band. What is even more amazing to me is the last word of their quoted statement, "fits". Yes, it truly fits! Because aside from the semantic meaning of that word, there is also a technical match that truly puts their words in perfect context! It amuses me because "FITS" is a kind of file format used by planet-hunters to transfer lightcurve data. FITS has "an extraordinarily effective form of compression(!)" as Greg Laughlin says from his blog at oklo.org. In a broader context, FITS is actually the standard data format used in Astronomy.

As everyone knows, the etymology of exogazing comes from an exogazer's musical preference when gazing at the stars. “Exo” means “out”. Thus, to Exogaze simply means to “gaze out”. The term originated from a hobby of exoplanet enthusiasts called "Exogazing" which simply means “looking up in the starry night sky and pondering other worlds.” Exogaze music is the type of music recommended while stargazing and exogazing, and thinking of otherworldy stuff. Shoegazing (another genre) is looking down, while Exogazing is looking up.

The absence of lyrics prevents exogazers from being distracted by words. The melodic and atmospheric quality of exogazing music complements the mysterious expanse of space. And the almost-depressing and uplifting aura matches that lonely feeling that one gets when staring out into the night sky--where the feeling of insignificance, and appreciation of a fleeting chance at life, is entwined in an inexplicable mood.

In a nutshell, exogazing music is marked by these general characteristics: it has no lyrics, instrumental, and moody. It intersects with the post-rock genre and involves psychedelic plus ambient overtones. The songs are mostly a mixture of electronic and guitar-driven compositions, and typically uses computers and gadgets to make. Some examples of artists that create exogazing songs are: Caspian, Moonlit Sailor, Pelican, Lymbyc Systym, The American Dollar, Mooncake, Metavari, Glowworm and so on. See more from this list of artists that belong to this new genre here.

It's worth saying that discovery and exploration also occurs even in the field of music. And I am very excited about the unexpected musical discovery that has sprouted from the exploration of this new field of exoplanet science.