Space Rock Star: Astronaut Chris Hadfield Launches First Album [Videos]

The world’s first music album, almost completely recorded in space, is about to be released thanks to Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and it could, quite literally, be out of this world.

Most people will remember Commander Chris Hadfield, who taught us so much about what it’s like to live up in space. He even made a pretty impressive cover of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while he was up there on the International Space Station (ISS).

Chris Hadfield

That cover is included above for your listening pleasure, but it seems Hadfield is taking things a whole lot further. The off-time the 55-year-old had while floating around in space was apparently very well utilized.

In two month’s time, he will be releasing his debut album, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can. On Tuesday, Warner Music Canada announced the unique album will be released on October 9.

According to Hadfield, he reckons he can claim that this album will be literally “out of this world” as a large amount of the work was performed and/or written up in space. The album will comprise 11 songs, including the famous Bowie cover.

However, Chris says he doesn’t want to become a rock star, and this is not intended to rocket him to musical stardom.

Chris Hadfield
Hadfield's view from the ISS

Rather, as he told the Star in a telephone interview Thursday, this is a just a continuation of Hadfield’s multimedia efforts to inform the public about the joys of space travel.

“To me, this is a continuation of my best efforts to share the experience, to the best of my ability.

“I am just as delighted with this as I am with any photograph I took or any other verbal description I’ve ever had of that magnificent experience.”

It turns out Chris Hadfield is not unknown in musical circles, however, as he spent around 25 years playing in various bands. As soon as Chris knew he was going to be spending time aboard the ISS in December 2012, he decided he was going to do his best to record music up in space, and naturally he took his guitar along with him.

Admittedly, he found it wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. The lack of gravity didn’t make things easy for him. He found ways around this, however. He stuck an iPad to the wall of the ISS using Velcro and used its ambient microphone to capture the sound.

Chris Hadfield
Trying to keep the guitar under control in a weightless environment

He did eventually find that the best place for recording was his tiny sleep pod on the ISS. Hadfield plugged a microphone into his iPad and had it floating weightlessly in front of him while he sang.

Chris Hadfield
Hadfield, singing in his sleep pod on the ISS

Playing his compact Canadian-made Larrivée Parlor acoustic guitar proved to be a good choice, as he says other instruments might not have fit well into the narrow confines of the ISS. However, he did say it was pretty darn difficult to play it.

“It’s hard to play guitar on a spaceship, because there’s nothing to hold the guitar stable.

“Almost always, the guitar slips in your hands. If you’re a guitar player, I tell people to try playing while standing on your head.

“The producer who was helping me, Paul Mills, said: ‘Your guitar playing is a little messy.’

“I said, yeah, you come up here and play guitar.”

Chris Hadfield also said his singing voice was a little mutated, as sinuses don’t drain automatically like they do when down on the planet, hence his rather nasal sound.

“There’s no gravity to pull the fluid out of your head.

“So you always have a full head and swollen tongue and vocal cords.”

Despite the problems, the recordings Hadfield made in space ended up being the basis for the songs in the new album, Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can.

According to an article in the Globe and Mail, once he was back on terra firma, he worked with Juno-winning producer Robbie Lackritz and several other professional musicians to put the album together.

Chris Hadfield
Chris Hadfield's view from the ISS

When asked to describe the album’s sound, he quoted a list of mainly Canadian influences, including Leonard Cohen, Ian and Silvia, Gordon Lightfoot, the Kingston Trio, and Great Big Sea.

Some of the songs were taken up with Hadfield from Earth, while others were completely written up in the ISS, thus making the title of the album totally appropriate.

Keeping it in the family, Chris Hadfield also collaborated with his brother Dave, and he co-wrote the song “Beyond the Terra” with his son, Evan.

Naturally, the incredible environment he found himself in was a constant inspiration for the music. He said the 166 days up in space never got old. Chris described the feeling as “a magic trick that never ends.”

Speaking of several of the songs on the album, Hadfield said “Window of My Mind” was written while he crossed the width of Canada up in space in just a few minutes.

“Feet Up” came to mind when Chris Hadfield recalled the initial rigors of liftoff and his first true experience of being weightless in space — the lyrics version is included below.

He wrote “Space Lullaby” as a way to connect with his three children on the Earth down below. Hadfield said that the music “just brings a smile to my face,” speaking of everything that the music meant to him, how he created it and what it means to his life.

“For me, it was a lovely part of the entire experience.”

For anyone interested in buying it, the album is already up for pre-order on the following website. The CD and 180 Gram Vinyl editions, including exclusive bundles, are also up for pre-order here.

Possibly inspired by Chris Hadfield, in recent news, the Inquisitr reported on how Pornhub want to make the first porno in space. It is unknown whether that particular project will ever have lift-off.

[Images: Screengrabs from YouTube video]