Universalise that human experience

Editor Jon Sutton reviews a new album from Roger Goula, titled 'Overview effect'.

The ‘overview effect’ is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often when viewing the earth from orbit. The term, coined by Frank White in 1987, has inspired psychologists such as Nick Kanas. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Roger Goula’s Overview Effect is a debut release on Cognitive Shift Recordings

The album bridges modern classical and electronic music, with swelling strings offset by disquieting scratches and stabs of noise that evoke the eerie void of space. Titles such as ‘Awe’, ‘Looking back to self awareness’ and ‘Something about silence’ reflect the centrality of the psychological, and Goula tells me: ‘Unconsciously I always relate my music to a psychological experience by trying to universalise that human experience. Somehow it is like if both magnitudes, the universal and the inner human one, are so far away that they meet again at the other side of each end, and so, very close together.’

Goula also says that he initially wanted to focus the album on recordings of events that changed us as humans, and he came across one of Gagarin on his first trip around earth. Listen to his album alongside Public Service Broadcasting’s Race for Space, which takes a similar approach, and you can see where Goula is coming from when he says ‘the subjective human experience of the cosmos answers me many questions and of course, opens new ones.’

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