Sound science for singer

Thu, Sep 29, 2011, 01:00

SMALL PRINT:SO YOU think making a record is not rocket science? Well, think again.

With help from Nasa technology, Dublin singer Luke Slott has recorded a new song that may just help his career achieve lift-off. No, it’s not Fly Me to The Moon. The song, A Few Honest Words, has been produced by US astrophysicist Kelly Snook, who has developed lunar and Mars exploration initiatives at Nasa’s research labs in Washington DC.

But Slott didn’t need Nasa clearance to create his new song. Dr Snook is also a multi-instrumentalist and music engineer, and the Dubliner simply had to drop by her recording studio in downtown Washington DC, aptly named It’s Not Rocket Science.

“Surrounded by her endless collection of musical instruments, studio gadgets, toy spaceships and books on astrophysics, I sat and played Kelly a few of my songs,” wrote Slott on his website.

The result can be heard on Slott’s fine new EP, A Few Honest Words, available through his website, lukeslott.com. “She brings a huge amount of science into her studio work,” Slott tells me. “Recording with her is like studying physics, she is the most meticulous producer I’ve ever worked with, and she has a great understanding of the physics of sound.”

Influenced by Copernicus, Kepler and Pythagoras, Snook has also been working on a “sonification” project for Nasa: making sound maps of outer space. “I think Kelly sees sound and music and science as the same thing,” says Slott.

Slott, also a multi-instrumentalist, grew up in a family of musicians, actors and writers. He studied classical piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, and at 18 was in a rock band, Melaton, and signed to a major label. When that deal fell through, he concentrated making his own music, releasing a CD of solo piano music.

Expect to hear more music of the spheres from the rock singer and the rocket scientist. Snook has quit her job at Nasa to be a full-time sound engineer – her most famous client is Grammy award-winning English electronica artist Imogen Heap, and Slott has laid down a few tracks at Heap’s Essex studio – with Snook at the controls. Watch the skies.