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Friday Five: 5 Tunes for Time-Travellers

Ade Spink previously directed us to five songs (some ... barely qualifying as such) with bad science. This time he returns with science even more dubious - five songs all about time travel! Did he miss a classic? Let him know at @AdeSpink

Did Doc and Marty McFly inadvertently make 2015 a landmark year in time travel culture, or did they somehow know back in 1985 that this was going to happen? Why not enjoy five time-traveller based songs while you unravel that paradox.

Moog Indigo"Passport To The Future" – Jean-Jacques Perrey

“What the MOOG SYNTHESISER opens up for the future of music is beyond dreams” reads the hyperbole on the sleeve for Moog Indigo from 1970. Perrey was the archetypical out-of time genius, a synthesiser pioneer who sequenced his music by hand, meticulously cutting tape into tiny fragments and splicing it back together.

"Passport To The Future" closes the Moog Indigo album, arguably the pinnacle of Perrey’s output. This particular track is a hopeful jaunty vision of what he saw music would eventually become; a clean electronic sound eschewing such prosaic concerns as bands and instruments. Thinking multi-dimensionally, maybe there exists a world where people took notice of this track, and now we all travel to work by jet pack in our gleaming silver cities?

Sheldon Allman"Girl in the 4th Dimension" – Sheldon Allman

One of the main arguments against the possibility of time travel is the lack of future time travellers visiting our world of today, and observing us in our daily lives. This song posits one meeting, and a subsequent romantic obsession with a 4th dimensional traveller.  You would be unable to resist her charms, because as the song says:

Other girls have height and width and breadth but that is all

After gaining fame as the singing voice of a talking horse, Mr Ed, Sheldon Allman made several albums of kitschy novelty songs.  His Folk Songs for the 21st Century remains perhaps the best example of 1960s science fiction themed folk music. An album which is also notable for its treatment of robotics, post apocalyptic earth and space travel.

"The Moebius" - Orbital

There is the theory of the Moebius
A twist in the fabric of space, where time becomes a loop
Whatever happens will happen again!

This unlikely mash-up of time travel theory, Star Trek, and rave culture considers the implications of discovering a localised area where time doesn’t pass in a linear fashion. Worf describes the theory while the track clicks and booms irrepressibly forwards.

And it did happen again, when Orbital chose to start their following album off with exactly the same sample in Time Becomes, a Steve Reich tribute in phase shifting.  As both albums were simply called “Orbital”, this tactic was apparently an elaborate joke in order to fool people into believing they had bought the same record again by mistake.

"Requiem for a TomorrowMan" - The TomorrowMen

The TomorrowMen claim to be time travellers from the year 3000AD, who started the band after making an in-depth study of all of the music that the earth has ever or will ever have produced. From this, they have decided to write and release music of the highest cultural form possible. This is (naturally) surf guitar music. This track is from their debut CD It’s About Time – and a new album is due out soon.

Elvis"I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago" - Elvis Presley

The concept of someone living outside of time, an immortal who is present for all of earth’s major events, and who can objectively consider our past and future has been considered many times in literature.  Pervading the legend of the Wandering Jew, via Italho Calvino’s Cosmicomics narrator Qfwfq, through to Captain Jack Harkness. For this critic, the definitive view is Elvis’s take. Elvis tells us:

I was there when old Noah built the ark.
And I crawled in the window after dark
I saw Jonah eat the whale and dance with the lion's tale
And I crossed over Canaan on a log

With a force of nature like Elvis, this seems plausible enough. He can only be telling us that he is the ultimate time traveller, the one who knows he will outlast us all, present throughout all temporal possibilities and dimensions. My conclusion being – you can only understand the quantum mechanical concepts necessary for time travel, if you listen to a lot of Elvis records.