Ghosts of Jupiter team up with MoS for special show
Local institution and Boston-bred rockers join forces for a show that's out of this world
Some people go to Boston’s Museum of Science on field trips, others on hot summer days. No matter what brings them there, few expect to find local Boston rock pumping through the speakers. Thanks to partnership between Boston natives Ghosts of Jupiter and the Charles Hayden Planetarium staff, however, that’s exactly what they’ll find.
The concept of a planetarium show set to rock music isn’t a exactly new one. “There’s a tradition of doing laser rock shows in planetariums going back to the 70’s, so we’ve been doing it here for over 30 years,” says David Rabkin, director of the Boston Museum of Science planetarium.
As for picking a local band this time around, according to Rabkin, it was fate. “It was the right band in the right place at the right time,” he says. “We had a band that we really liked, we like their music, we thought their music would lend itself to a planetarium show, and we had a sense that they would be easy to work with.”
For Ghosts of Jupiter founder Nate Wilson, the process of seeing his work translated into a completely different medium was fascinating. “They have a team of five animators who they just let loose on the music. Each one of them chose a song from the album and just did their own thing with it,” explains Wilson. “It was really interesting to see how each one of these artists interpreted my music visually; beyond that I just kept out of the way and let them do their thing.”
The visual music experience is entitled Ghosts of Jupiter, in honor of the band and its self-titled debut. of course, the group name’s planetary connection certainly didn’t hurt when it came to the partnership.
“Its another one of those happy coincidences with this project. We started playing gigs as the Nate Wilson Group a few years back and had every intention of coming up with a band name but had an excruciating time of it,” says Wilson. “We finally settled on Ghosts of Jupiter which is the title of one of our songs, and not long after that the Planetarium opportunity came about. I don’t think it’s the only reason they liked us so much over there but I definitely don’t think it hurt our cause!”
“Video production on steroids,” as Rabkin put it, is perhaps the best way to describe the show as a whole. Definitely not for those who tend to get woozy at such images, it’s a visual masterpiece of computer animation that zigs, zags, and zooms the audience around. However, the different animators are clear from song to song; there is no cohesive journey. One minute, its like being sucked inside a classic computer screensaver, the next it’s an acid with the music setting the trippy mood. At times, the music is simply there to create atmosphere. At others, it synchronizes to a certain extent with what it happening on the screen above. The best moments are when the planetarium does what it does best: the universe. From thousands of stars to, of course, Jupiter, to following some alien-like creatures around their world, those moments feel the most authentic and story-like.
For both the Museum and the band, however, this is just another step is a greater journey. When asked if the Museum would ever consider partnering with a local group again, Rabkin tells BMS, “We might if it was the right band, but it’s also important to recognize that we have limited capacity to create new shows. We’re also interested in bands that have a national appeal.”
As for Ghosts of Jupiter, according to Wilson, “We’re currently working on a new record to follow up this one and we’re hoping to have something we can release early next year. We’ll be on the road a bit this summer and then we’re back in Boston at the beginning September for a show at the Brighton Music Hall.”
Ghosts of Jupiter will be playing every night at the Museum of Science Boston planetarium from July 5 through the end of the month. The full schedule can be found here. Admission is $10. For a preview of the show, watch the trailer below.