Cosmos II is the pseudonym of Alan Marscher, a professor of astronomy at Boston University. Usually, he performs alone on guitar and vocals.
The songs are all originals composed and copyrighted by Marscher. Some are "science nerd" songs that Cosmos II performs to science students at B.U. The majority, though, are just general songs about life, love, the pursuit of happiness and meaning, and various other random topics.
Most of the songs are in English, while some are in Russian, the country where Marscher's wife, Svetlana hails from. The style is a mixture of rock, pop, and folk - what is often termed "adult contemporary." Many are humorous - e.g., "Medical Miracle" about how Viagra has revitalized a lot of middle-aged men or "Relatively Weird" about the wonders and perils of traveling around at near-light speeds. Others are philosophical, such as "All from Nothing?" about how the universe came to exist and "Elusive Truth" that asks whether absolute truth can exist. Some are just plain love songs - an example is "Together or Apart" - and others are love-is-difficult songs, like "Winter's Darkness." Laughs and tears for everyone!
Marscher recorded all of the songs himself on a small digital recorder. He doesn't have loads of free time, so he hasn't worked hard enough to remove imperfections, add a drum pattern, etc. But most songs have harmony and are at least at the "demo" level of quality. Friends who have listened to them have neither gone mad nor rushed the CD to the local recycling center. More importantly to Cosmos II, Marscher can listen to them without wretching in horror over the slight mis-timings of the different tracks and other imperfections.
The cosmos started out in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago...
I play mostly in front of my classes, at an annual event + party called "Astronomy Unplugged" that I organize in my department, at the annual B.U. College of Arts and Sciences talent review, and for friends and relatives.
I like good melody, strong lyrics, and a projected voice, so the Beatles, Queen (check out the song '39 written by guitarist Brian May on the "Night at the Opera" album - it's about space travel at very near light speed), and Elvis Costello are among the strongest influences on my style.
I have a Schecter electric guitar and an Ibanez acoustic guitar with pickup. I keep a Yamaha acoustic guitar in St. Petersburg because the airports enroute usually like to keep it an extra day or two when I travel with it, probably thinking that the case could hold some weapon of destruction as well as a guitar.