Auto-tune. The mere mention of it conjures horrific, tortuous images of Cher and Auto-Tune the News. That god-fucking-awful new* Black Eyed Peas tune is a hate crime with lyrics. I’m not the only one with this take on auto-tune, or who thinks that the Black Eyed Peas have written the worst song ever (that’s saying something, given the empirical shittiness of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion).

All that petty bitching aside, though, someone has found a legitimate use of auto-tune. John Boswell’s ambitious Symphony of Science project takes the voice talents of some of the greatest science communicators of recent times and pimps them up with the auto-tune, matching up their awe-inspiring words with melody and song.

Symphony of Science – Our Place in the Cosmos

There are several great scientists represented in the Symphony: Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking (not MC Hawking, unfortunately) Bill Nye and others. Carl Sagan seems to have the voice most well-suited to this treatment – or it could just be that his dialogue is the shiz-nizzle, motherfutons!

Carl Sagan – Cosmos (Intro)

Musically speaking, the Symphony of Science stuff is a bit limp for my tastes. I prefer my tunes to have bigger balls, or if they’re on the light side I need some kind of hook (I’m looking at you Brian Eno. Mmm. Brian Eno.  Mmmgrrblrgrbl. More on him some day.).  I’m not going to run out and buy the Symphony of Science vinyl, but I’ll give it a few listens, and so should you if you’re up for something a little bit different.  Dude gets points for beating me to sampling the shit out of Sagan.  It’s been on my to-do list for years. Oh well.

I give the symphony 8/10 for creativity, 5/10 for making me want to ‘bang me head’ and 10/10 for giving us a new spin on science communication:

* What the in the name of the Flying Spaghetti Monster happened to the Black Eyed Peas of the pre-Fergie days? Seriously, Bridging the Gap is a fantastic album, so don’t think I’m just hating for the sake of hating – once upon a time I really dug this crew.