Those of you that are intrigued by ambient music, electronic music, synthesizers, outer space, historic audio or Sci-Fi movies will find this project to be a rather special experience. It is called Quindar, and it is the result of the collaboration of Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen, historian and curator James Merle Thomas, and NASA. It’s atmospheric, ambient, and ethereal, but upbeat.
Quindar’s material comes from a vast collection of NASA audio recordings that contain anything from the sounds of equipment to audio logs of astronauts and the team working from the ground. NASA decided to digitize all of the original reel-to-reel recordings and then made them freely accessible to the public.
Quindar tones are the beeps heard in recordings of communications with early manned NASA space missions. These beeps let both astronauts and mission control that they were still in contact with each other. If the beeps went away, that meant that something was wrong with the radio and it would need to be addressed or fixed. These beeps were generated by a very simple, rudimentary synthesizer.