The album makes a loose and oblique reference to Miles Davis, but it is by no means an influence, and is rather more of a pun. I was also particularly interested in the idea of travel to Mars, a planet so close and yet so far away.
The image of the face on Mars also informed my conceptual thinking at the time, i.e. the patternicity of what appears to be some kind of monument constructed by beings that had once inhabited the planet.
Even more interesting and ironic is Japanese sculptor Isamu Naguchi's 1947 work Sculpture to be Seen from Mars that featured a "face"--as viewed from Mars (not Earth), created thirty years before the 1976 Viking mission on which the "face" was first recognized.
MISC SONG INFO
Approach to Ganymede: Initially I had the idea to produce a dynamic, slowly evolving piece with a long crescendo, depicting a journey through a long tunnel (like the path to Shangri-La). I used an exotic Tibetan tuning to give it a regional sound, but it wasn't until I started to compose the other pieces on the album that I discovered that the song also fit well in the overall space theme.
Splat: A quirky piece inspired by Stravinsky and Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab.
Miles From Mars: This started out as neither space nor jazz, but evolved into both. The seed idea was the "boinky" percussion sound in the background that can be an irritant if you listen to it alone, but it seems to work with the piece as a whole.
Hot Blues Star: Inspired by car commercials and random words from an astronomy textbook a la Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine.
Amnesia: The phrases, "I forget" and "I can't remember anything" were broken and divided over multiple tracks and layered over one another. I like to manipulate language in this way, such that the woven words trick the brain into hearing various other words and phrases.
Io: A very flat plateau of sound made by looping four phrases/sounds of different lengths, drifting out of sync, eventually coming back into sync at bar 567,840.