Alien Air Music balances deep space music with upbeat sequencer pieces, ranging from slow to fast with moods varying from dark to light
Highlight traditional and new electronic music forms from international sources that range from well established names to unknown internet talents. Empahsis also on live in-studio performances by synth musicians on the local scene in Southern California.
Electronic music has grown tremendously in popularity since 1984 when the program began. Many innnovative electronic shows are now on KXLU and college radio has also generally expanded its acceptance of synth music. The internet has revolutionized music with electronic composers and their fans among the more notable beneficiaries. Artists empowered by computer technology and the digital transfer of music have created a new day that's overtaking the old ways.
The goal of Alien Air Music is to hold a responsible position in broadcast media:
be informative on what's going on in the synth music field
share that music with fans
have two-way communication with those fans and learn from them
give equal footing to all artists, regardless of history or status
showcase both older established artists and their work with newer ones
reflect the diverse genres found throughout electronic music
Conventional radio highlights small pockets of limited electronic music while most internet radio stations are very specialized and offer only single formats. What makes Alien Air Music stand out is the variety of styles featured, from mid era (post experimental and pre new age) to IDM, DnB, Clicks & Cuts and more.
Alien Air Music also reflects how the local environment of a particular musician can add unique flavors to their compositions. The mix of indigenous cultural influences like vocals and traditional instruments mixed with modern styles of electronic music can be heard frequently.
Vocals are loathed by some and required by others to complete a song, but the show views the voice simply as another instrument.
In addition, special mix sets heard only on Alien Air Music include the marriage of completely different genres together for a truly unique aural experience, such as opera mixed with DnB and Hindu prayer voices with ambient music. It is a program of music through time and culture.
The debut of Alien Air Music was on Tuesday morning, July 3, 1984 and the first broadcast included Jean-Michel Jarre, Neuronium and Tangerine Dream. It was a real honor to have Steve Roach call the station during the 3rd show. He remarked about how nice it was to hear Edgar Froese's "Stuntman" on the radio.
The program grew tremendously in popularity, despite its original Midnight to 1:00am timeslot, and by February 10, 1985 was promoted to its current slot of Sunday night at 9:00pm. Including wide support from local and international arenas, Alien Air Music rates among the top programs on KXLU for yearly pledge dollars received.
Electronic and Progressive Rock were the main formats when Alien Air Music began, and while symphonic bands can occasionally be heard, the emphasis has moved to many sub-genres that have since become part of the electronic music scene. The emergence of IDM, ambient, DnB, Clicks & Cuts and other genres have wide followings and pockets throught the globe. The show has expanded with the times to include these styles.
San Luis Obispo's KZOZ FM had a program called Alien Ear Music that aired 10-11pm Sunday nights from 1979 to 1981. The show offered a wide variety of electronic music that included melodic and experimental artists along with symphonic rock bands. Host "Art Decode" (Jim Moyer) typified the 1970s professional FM broadcaster: knowledgeable and very laid back in his presentation. With co-producer "Del Mar Blargo" (Jim Haigh), they purchased the weekly timeslot to promote their local endeavor, a store called Audio Ecstacy, which is still in business today and deals in high-end audiofile equipment, in addtition to selling import music.
Jim Moyer showing his undying love for vinyl records
Moyer, Haig and their radio show were big influences for the origin of Alien Air Music, which has greatly expanded from its original synth music mission. They were extremely helpful in setting up what eventually became Alien Air Music's library, introducing worldwide Prog bands and electronic artists beyond Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, Synergy and a few others contained in the original collection.
The material found on Alien Ear Music and even KZOZ's daily format exemplified the free form radio atmosphere found throughout FM but since absorbed by the pre-programed monotony of big corporate radio. When new owners bought station KZOZ in 1982, they changed its Progressive Rock format to Top 40 and replaced the music library, sealing all the symphonic and electronic records behind locked doors. DJs pleaded to buy the music for themselves, but the owners insisted that all those records be destroyed. Sadly this happened throughout most radio stations in small towns. The homoginization by Top 40 and the quarter-hour push for News/Weather/Sports has destroyed much of the creative freedom that used to be part of many commercial stations.
In spite of this mass media consolidation, KXLU has been a shining beacon in radio that allows programs like Alien Air Music to grow and flourish.