FMD 7-27-2018: Spacious Music

I want to talk about "spacious" music. I don't know if there's a different or better word for it. I'm sure there is, and if anyone wants to share it, I'd be glad to have it. What I mean to describe is that type of music that sounds big, like it is properly heard bouncing off the walls of a giant cavern or played before a tremendous concert hall. It can be instrumental ("Also Spake Zarathustra") or it can have lyrics (Cloud Cult's "There's So Much Energy In Us"). It can be old, it can modern, and it can come from a fair number of genres (I don't think I've ever heard a "spacious" country or hip hop song, but there are a few that come close and I'd have to think on it more. Please direct me if you know of one).

There's something about playing these songs for me, usually at night, usually through headphones with settings that better capture that wide grandeur, that just scratches a particular itch. I freaking love it.

Anyway, I'd love a list of "Spacious" songs, other names for this type of thing, your thoughts, and random 10's if you've got 'em!

16 thoughts on “FMD 7-27-2018: Spacious Music”

  1. 1. Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z “Crazy in Love” Dangerously in Love
    2. Boom Bip & Doneone “Slight” Circle*
    3. Lana Del Rey “Driving in Cars With Boys” [none]*
    4. Eric Copeland “Oopsy Dayzee” Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect
    5. M.I.A. “Boyz” Kala

    6. Seal “Kiss From a Rose” Batman Forever
    7. Michael Jackson “Bad” The Essential Michael Jackson
    8. Jan St. Werner “Molono” Miscontinuum Album
    9. Johnny Cash “I Won't Back Down”* American III: Solitary Man
    T. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition “Just Dropped In” Greatest Hits
    E. DJ QBert “Electric Eye Beam Abduction” Wave Twisters

    That's a lot of pop (or near-pop) for one of my lists!

    2. The album title is actually something like "⤹⤸" or "⤹⤴" or ""⤹)" or "↺" but with two arced arrows making an anticlockwise circuit. Apparently, there's no HTML character for "Right-side Arc Anticlockwise Arrow". (There's also no "Left-side Arc Clockwise Arrow".) Maybe I should say it's like this turned 90 degrees:

    3. Downloaded after the Youtube release of "Video Games" but before the digital single was available. It might have been one of her earlier youtube-available songs (which were basically demos). I'd say it's one of her 5-best songs from her unsigned era, I'm surprised it didn't get re-recorded for Born to Die or Paradise, though I think it'd be too naïve for her newer albums.

    9. Tom Petty cover, with Tom Petty on backing vocals.

  2. I would call "Speed of Light" by Dub Pistols a "spacious" hip hop song. It's completely unlike anything I've heard from them otherwise, but really, it's almost completely unlike anything I've heard from anyone else. It sort of falls on the trip hop side of things, but it definitely has the hip hop vibe.

    1. Abso-freaking-lutely that qualifies. It made me think of Moby at first, but then the lyrics kicked in, and... it was very much its own thing. I'd never heard it before, but loved it. Thanks!

  3. I'm torn on how to answer this question. "Also Sprach Zarathustra" could easily not sound spacious if it was poorly recorded. When I think about this question, it keeps taking me to songs mixed well with a great spatial spread that would sound great on headphones. While it isn't what you're looking for, something like Ozric Tentacles' "Plowm" comes to mind. Otherwise, something like Smetana's "Moldau"would work, maybe, unless it's bombast you're looking for.

    1. I absolutely should have qualified that the recording matters. It matters a lot sometimes.

    2. First, "Plowm" sounded awesome on headphones. "Moldau" was close to spacious - or maybe it was at a lot of points - but there were a number of parts that were very airy (flutes, etc.). I think this is making me refine my "spacious" idea because I think it usually has a (paradoxically?) rooted depth too?

      1. You certainly spurred the thinking though, so, good one!

        "Die Moldau" always makes me visualize rain, which is what got me thinking open spaces. One other is Tomita's "The Mind of the Universe" CD, which is an amazingly good recording of a live performance in Europe in 1984 -- a concert I would have loved to have seen. Accompanying his electronics were performers on a barge on the river, a helicopter carrying speakers, lasers, a huge choir and orchestra, all while he was mixing and directing the entire thing from a clear pyramid suspended from a crane. The recording has a very spatial feel to it, whether it's the quiet parts or "Ode to Joy" ending.

  4. * Riot Rhythm - Sleigh Bells - Treats
    * Nothing Feels Natural - Priests - Nothing Feels Natural
    * Kicking a Can of Worms - Metz - II
    * Cowboys - Portishead - (self-titled)
    * When You Sleep - My Bloody Valentine - Loveless***
    * Serve the Servants - Nirvana - In Utero
    * Always Bleeds - EMA - Exile in the Outer Ring
    * X-Static - Foo Fighters - (self-titled)
    * I Saw My Twin - Hop Along - Painted Shut
    * Basket Case - Green Day - Dookie

    *** - Headed to the MBV concert tomorrow night. Been gazing at my shoes all week in preparation.

    1. I'm kicking myself that I didn't go to MBV's show here this past Wednesday but that mid-week show would have been a killer to my schedule. Bring earplugs! Bring 2 pair just to be safe.

    1. That was pretty cool. But I kept getting distracted by a voice that sounded like it was Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies.

  5. When I think of “spacious” music, I immediately think of the album Wide Angle by Hybrid. They are not usually the type of music that I get into, but that album is great.

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