Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The era that birthed David Bowie and Stanley Kubrick's respective masterpieces had a lasting effect on the bassist and composer — and, Allison says, on the crack team of musicians he currently has backing him up.
"The band has, I guess you could say, a decidedly rock feel, but there's all these other sounds coming out of these guys these days: lots of kind of sci-fi sounds, which is what was happening on the scene at that time," Allison tells NPR's Arun Rath. "Electronics really hit the music scene, and it was a big influence on me, coming up as a young musician."
The Stars Look Very Different Today features drummer Allison Miller, guitarist Steve Cardenas, and guitarist and banjo player Brandon Seabrook, all of whom lead bands of their own. Learn more about the making of the album, including what commonplace object Allison used to play its opening notes, by clicking on the audio link.