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Founded Year



Series A | Alive

Total Raised


Last Raised

$12M | 1 yr ago



About HQ

HQ is an app-based commuting solution that takes the daily commute from stressful to stress-free.

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New York, New York, 10023,

United States

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Quindar’s Hip Mobility space music puts us in orbit

Aug 20, 2017

Tell Pitchfork this is one concept album that delivered and deserved better than 6.8/10. reader comments11 Share this story Meet the band Quindar, made up of art historian Justin Merle Thomas (left) and Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen (right). Jorgensen told NPR he grew up watching 3-2-1 Contact on PBS and had the lunar landing on Betamax. Shawn Brackbill/Courtesy of the artist The archival media inspiring Quindar came from the Skylab and Apollo missions. This image is from Skylab: since those three missions were the longest ever conducted in low Earth orbit, one of the top science priorities was to collect medical data on the effects of long spaceflights on humans. NASA An overhead view of the Skylab space station cluster in Earth orbit as photographed from the Skylab 4 Command and Service Modules (CSM) during the final fly-around by the CSM before returning home. (Easy to see why it might inspire some art...) NASA Apollo 9's Russell L. Schweickart gets name checked on the album directly, and it sounds like you can hear someone call for Rusty on " Twin-Pole Sunshade ." (Here, he suits up to participate in an altitude verification test of the Apollo Portable Life Support System in June 1968.) NASA It has been a great 12 months for space music, but to our ears much of this burgeoning scene doesn't quite sound spacey. The Sufjan Stevens-led  Planetarium is a modern Holst-ian work, more at home in the concert hall than the Milky Way (and we’d take Gustav’s “Mars” over Sufjan’s). Ennio Morricone’s newly reissued  SPACE: 1999 is free-form jazz that sounds appropriate for a sci-fi horror set in the stars, but it doesn’t conjure up images of the galaxy if you close your eyes and listen. And clipping’s Hugo-nominated  Splendor & Misery is already an overlooked artistic masterpiece, but its triumph is in storytelling and not necessarily in being some aural representation of interstellar happenings. Close your eyes and picture “space,” and many of us likely have similar visions. Yet ask what space sounds like, and there’s no such unified response... at least there wasn’t. Last month, the duo Quindar put out its debut album, Hip Mobility , and ever since I can finally point people toward an Exhibit A in astral audio. Made up of Wilco keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen and art historian James Merle Thomas, the duo started with a cosmic mission and definitely achieved it within these eight tracks. Thomas got the idea to explore space music when working as a fellow at the Air and Space Museum embedded in its history division. He told NPR that he came across lots of old 16mm film and audio from seemingly mundane sessions, but this minutiae captivated him. “One of the first conversations was, ‘Maybe we could use this material to take the place of lyrics,’” Jorgensen told reporter Lulu Garcia-Navarro (who called the LP “nerd heaven”). “It would provide a story: some of the more humanizing, smaller moments of what life in space might be like, [such as] looking out the window as you catch a moment between some rigorous note-taking or scientific duties and looking down at the Earth hundreds of miles below.” Listen to “Wembley” from Quindar. Listen to an early album track like “Wembley,” and it’s hard not to envision what Jorgensen’s talking about. A soaring, crescendoing synth line draws itself out underneath these industrial-feeling quarter notes, bringing to mind the manufacturing muscle that goes into reaching the stars. The song has a static-y, more meticulous melody around the 2:15 mark that seems to indicate the scientific rigor referenced above. And the two musical ideas then layer on top of each other in the final third, as a Mission Control countdown enters to unify these parts and launch the song toward its conclusion. The year in space music Quindar aside, the past year has been brimming with space music (don’t believe us? Listen for yourself ). It started back in summer 2016, when Jack White’s Third Man Records label played the first phonographic record in space, fittingly selecting the Carl Sagan “A Glorious Dawn” single that the label created in 2010. That effort appropriately came as the Voyagers—and their Golden Records —prepared to turn 40 years old, and a team led by Boing Boing and Amoeba Music is now set to reissue the famed recording for Earthlings before Christmas 2017. Then this spring, Sufjan Stevens and Bryce Dessner of The National teamed up with composer Nico Muhly for Planetarium , a cosmic concerto with each track named for a celestial body. And last week, the film enthusiasts at Mondo put the score from cult film/series SPACE: 1999 , created by famed Western composer Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly), to vinyl for the first time. But perhaps most notably, clipping—the LA rap group featuring Daveed Diggs of Hamilton fame—is the first Hugo sci-fi/fantasy award nominee for a work of music since 1971 with its album Splendor & Misery (take that, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars or The ArchAndroid). The album’s narrative “revolves around a mutineer among a starship’s slave population” in some dystopian future, according to Pitchfork . So it’s certainly as epic as its competition:  Doctor Who , Game of Thrones , and The Expanse . (The awards happened this month , and The Expanse prevented clipping becoming the first musical work to win the Hugo’s Dramatic Presentation category.) Hip Mobility is filled with this stuff, as Thomas and Jorgensen mined archival sound recordings from the Apollo and Skylab eras for both inspiration and direct usage. That footage is part of the national archives for those wondering about clearing these unusual samples. “As a researcher who has been affiliated with the National Air and Space Museum (NASM), I’ve benefitted from what probably passes as ‘enhanced’ access,” Thomas clarified via e-mail. “I’ve been able to access some files and databases that aren’t / weren’t yet digitized or made publicly searchable, but neither I, nor Quindar, are speaking on behalf of either NASA or NASM. NASA's material, including audio files, are generally not copyrighted, with a few specific exceptions: we can't use their logos and imply endorsement; we can’t use the likeness of an astronaut without their permission... In short, we’ve worked with both the Smithsonian and the National Archives—which any researcher can do.” The album’s nods to NASA go beyond the obvious clips, too. The names of both the band and the album come from NASA. The band told that “Hip Mobility” was the title of part of an industrial film about prototype spacesuit flexibility. And those famous beeps we’ve all heard during the space program’s radio signals? They’re called Quindar Tones, and the duo manipulated recordings of them to use as found sound even on tracks that lack NASA vocals. The Quindar Tones also reminded Jorgensen of a drummer clicking off a beat pre-song for a rock band (which is why that very usage found its way into “Honeysuckle, this is Houston,” one of the first songs Quindar wrote). Other tracks namecheck former astronaut Rusty Schweickart while sounding like a score PBS might place underneath a documentary on some corner of the solar system. And the album as a whole never loses its sense of the Universe despite subtly shifting between electronic influences. “Choch Hilton” sounds like it could be a Zero 7 b-side on the Garden State soundtrack; “Honeysuckle, this is Houston” would be at home on an N.E.R.D or electronic-era Beastie Boys LP. Hip Mobility came out in mid-July, and when Quindar talked with NPR at the end of the month, the duo mentioned an overall warm reception that still lacked word from one vital critic—NASA itself. “We’re waiting,” Jorgensen said. “But my colleagues at the Air & Space museum are certainly pleased to know this is probably the first gatefold LP to come out of a fellowship from the space history department,” Thomas countered. There’s good news and bad news on that front. While outlets like our Condé brethren at Pitchfork  have long weighed in, none of us will ever know how NASA publicly feels about this unusual homage. When we asked our contacts at the Johnson Space Center about Hip Mobility, they reminded us that, as a US government agency, NASA is not allowed to “offer any opinions on products or services, whether they are commercial or non-profit efforts to develop or build hardware, provide services, or in this case relate to artistic activities.” Even a casual review could be seen as violating the NASA Employee Standards of Conduct. So instead, the JSC press office told us to wish the band luck... and to encourage them to possibly get in touch for a visit. Judging by how past pop culture trips  to JSC have gone, that’d be far cooler than anything-out-of-10. The Martian’s Mackenzie Davis and Sebastian Stan once drove around an MRV for crying out loud. Quindar's Hip Mobility is out now and available for digital download on iTunes and Amazon , on vinyl , and on streaming services such as Spotify. The band currently doesn't have future tour dates available, so keep an eye out on their official site  if interested in live shows. This post originated on Ars Technica Listing image by NASA

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HQ Rank

  • When was HQ founded?

    HQ was founded in 2018.

  • Where is HQ's headquarters?

    HQ's headquarters is located at New York.

  • What is HQ's latest funding round?

    HQ's latest funding round is Series A.

  • How much did HQ raise?

    HQ raised a total of $20M.

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