Making Mickey Hart's new album took rocket science. Literally.
The Grateful Dead drummer and percussion scholar built the 12 songs from "Mysterium Tremendum" using celestial sound waves captured by scientists at Penn State University, the Lawrence Berkeley Labs and Meyer Sound. "This is a mixture of songs from the sound of the universe and the whole Earth, the world's music," Hart, 68 explains. "I mean, the Big Bang, the beginning of everything, that was the first beat, beat one, the downbeat, where everything started.
"So I started to transfer light waves from radio telescopes into sound waves and changing their form from radiation light into sound using a computer alogorhythm, turning it into music and composing with it. I built all the song forms around that."
But the music still played by a the flesh-and-blood musicians who comprise the Mickey Hart Band, which includes Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, longtime Hart cohort Sikiru Adepoju and vocalists Tim Hockenberry and Crystal Monee Hall. Frequent Dead lyricist Robert Hunter also co-wrote seven of the songs on the album.
"I only wanted the willing, people who could take this seriously and could really play and could jam and had a real passion for this project," Hart says. "It wasn't just like hiring musicians; I wanted to find people who really WANTED this, people who were really hungry and skilled.
"I went on a search for them and it took a long time. But it was absolutely worth it."
The Mickey Hart Band performs Monday, July 23, at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 313-833-9700 or visit www.majesticdetroit.com.
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