I am a long time fan of the music program Hearts of Space. I first went to California in 1973, the same year it was created by Stephen Hill and co-produced by Hill and Anna Turner. It was not until I returned from Korea in 1977 that I first heard the show however, It entered syndication on public radio in January 1983,which was good because in early 1984 I moved back to the east coast. Until April 1, 2010, Hearts of Space show was also broadcast nightly by XM Satellite Radio. Now I get it streaming on my laptop, after all those low income years I am making up for it with a paid subscription.
Episodes, or “transmissions,” are thematic, commencing with a voice-over introduction by Hill, followed by almost an hour of uninterrupted segue-mixed music. The show concludes with back-announced track details. Before she left the program in 1986, co-producer Anna Turner jointly announced the show with Hill. As of June 2009, Hearts of Space is presented by Hill and produced by Hill and Associate Producer Steve Davis.
Why I am I so enamored of this show? It was English musician, sound designer and conceptualist Brian Eno who first officially coined the phrase “ambient”. In the sleeve notes to his 1978 opus Ambient 1: Music For Airports he defines it as music “designed to induce calm and space to think”. Under the umbrella title of ambient music (which Hill also calls space music) is an incredible array of music; vocal, instrumental and electronic.There is something for every mood or activity. When things have been supper stressful and hectic over the years, I have always found a cure for frayed nerves or insomnia. I have found music to alleviate depression and to stimulate creativity. As Stephen Hill intones each time, it’s slow music for fast times. I am not the only fan in the house. The cats really like this music.
With the serious heat lasting well into October, the apple crop somewhat disappointing and no fall color so far, I turned to Hearts of Space to find the mood of fall. You can select music by program, genre, or channel. One channel is Seasonal and is now offering selections of fall programs. There is a series of four different selections called Falling Dark that really helps me get in that mood. Slow pieces with dark tones that hint of mystery seem just right as the October sun sets, even though the dusk comes unnaturally late with Daylight Saving Time in effect.