Web Billiards: Music Video-Skydive History Edition

A couple weeks ago, I happened across a nice time lapse of San Francisco scenes titled "The City." This is it:

The City from WTK Photography on Vimeo.

I duly shared the above via some social media platform or another. One of the things I really liked about the video is the music that accompanies it, "Dayvan Cowboy" by Boards of Canada. I didn't know from BoC, but I would characterize this as a jangly folk-rocky indie-esque electro-introspective piece.

About the same time, I got involved in a discussion about high-altitude parachute jumps. I remembered hearing or reading that sometime in the 1950s or '60s, someone had jumped from above 100,000 feet and that someone was planning to try to improve on that record. One thing always linking to another as it does out here, I found the man who made the famous skydive was Joe Kittinger, who was involved in Project Excelsior, a research program designed to develop high-altitude escape systems for the first astronauts. On August 16, 1960, he rode a balloon-lifted gondola to 102,800 feet–nearly 20 miles–above the New Mexico desert, then stepped off into the void and commenced a descent that lasted more than 13 minutes. He reached a top speed of 614 mph on the way down.

I promptly went on to other things, but the Boards of Canada music was stuck in my head. In looking for it online a couple days ago, I found an "official" video for "Dayvan Cowboy." The first segment of the video features Kittinger's Project Excelsior mission. Here:

I could hardly stop there. I figured there must be more extensive video of Kittinger's flight out there. Well, there is plenty, including several musical tributes to the flight (just Google "Joseph Kittinger" and "music"). Here's one that combines snippets of the flight video with a musical number ("Colonel Joe," by Alphaspin).

And here's one more, with a different soundtrack ("GW," by Pelican), that tech media guy Tim O'Reilly references in a blog post from a few years ago:

1 Comment

Filed under Current Affairs, History, Music

One Response to Web Billiards: Music Video-Skydive History Edition

  1. I like Boards of Canada too 😉 Best regards from Poland!

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