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An original opera by Post Coal Prom Queen

Music for First contact will debut on the closing night of the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh - 18 June 2022. It's the story of humanity's first contact with extraterrestrial intelligence told through the lens of the dark forest theory and Scottish identity.

Throughout the day of the 18th of June attendees at Hidden Door will be able to vote online to decide the issue at hand - will humanity respond to the signal, or stay silent? The result will be announced during the show and influence latter half of the performance.


A prelude to the opera - a single titled Cartoons and Rocket Fumes - was released in May 2022. It's inspired by hauntological notions of retrofuturism and a nostalgia for a future that never happened. The beautiful visions of the future ideated in the first half of the 21st century never came to pass; primarily due to rampant capitalism and neoliberalism. Cartoons and Rocket Fumes - and Music for First Contact as a whole - is a glimpse into what could have been, or what may still be possible. If we're lucky.

In the summer of 2022 Music for First Contact will be released as a double album; the first half being the opera and the second being an album of supplemental tracks called Music for Space Stations.


This project is being supported financially by Creative Scotland and Hidden Door. We're incredibly grateful for their support.

If you would like to get in touch with the band please contact


Music for First Contact takes place 1000 years in the future aboard the space station Sapere Aude orbiting Mars. The inhabitants are descendants of Scottish explorers - the first people to leave the Earth and live permanently off-world, their goal being the terraformation of Mars to make it habitable for human beings. They have long since lost contact with those who remained on the Earth, but their cultural identity persists and influences life aboard the station.

The station receives a signal from outside of the solar system - a clear and deliberate repeating pattern that is unmistakably of intelligent origin. Immediately the debate begins - do they respond to the signal in the spirit of peace and exploration that brought them to Mars in the first place, or do they remain silent and not risk annihilation from the stars?

Society on the station is goverened by direct democracy and so a referendum is called. Will the inhabitants vote yes - to respond to the signal - or no, to remain silent?

The navigator of the ship (Jai Sharma) will guide the inhabitants through the decision making process, taking into account the arguments of the two conflicting sides of the argument (Ashley Crawford and Fraser Mcloughlin). The music represents Jai's thought process - taking the audience on a journey of  indecision, panic, hope, and resolution. The end of the show will be dictated by the result of the public vote.

Will hope or fear win the day? Only the audience can decide.

Meet The CAST

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