The Seattle World's Fair of 1962 was the last fair to look into the future with a straight face. From the confident thrust of the space-wasting Space Needle to the mile-a-minute glide of the Monorail, the Future was serious business. Forget Star Wars camp and cyberpunk hip: At the Century 21 Exposition, the New Millennium and the Space Age met for the first time, and visitors forgot the Bomb and experienced big-time awe at tomorrow's possibilities.
And the Future had a soundtrack. Long before 2001 and Strauss there was Attilio Mineo, a still-living Tacoma composer who created Man in Space with Sounds. Rediscovered and reissued for the first time since the fair by Subliminal Sounds, Mineo's mix of orchestration with electronic sound effects is both a delightful artifact of a bygone era and a pioneering precursor of today's electronica, something that marries the fascination with space exotica and the popularity of Prodigy. Cuts like "Soaring Science" and "Man Seeks the Future" once provided background music for those who rode the glass globe Bubbleator elevator to the "World of Tomorrow" exhibit. Here, uniformed guides steered you through an austere world of silver cubes that suggested "tomorrow" wasn't so much a playground as a high-tech temple. The music on this CD is suitably reverent, combining Stravinsky-inspired violins and woodwinds with the sounds of satellites to create a music as majestic as Space itself—or the B-movie version of it.