Fireworks in my head!
January 28, 2012 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Music nerds! I'm looking for recommendations for songs that have synesthetic effects- music that makes you see colors, feel cold, et cetera when you listen to it. Suggestions?

Songs that do this for me:

Gui Boratto - "Beautiful Life"
Boards of Canada - "The Beach at Redpoint"
Shit Robot - Take 'Em Up
Alexander Robotnick - Les Grands Voyages de l'Amour

Is there some commonality here? I've checked for other stuff, but the "Synesthesia" tag seems to be largely my doing.
posted by dunkadunc to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's more specific to the listener, rather than any particular property of the song.
(not a synesthete myself)
posted by spbmp at 6:35 PM on January 28, 2012

I'm not really a synesthete (and I know some wouldn't necessarily classify this as music), but Hafler Trio's "Bang! An Open Letter" has induced mystical states for me. The whole album. I'm not overly familiar with the rest of Hafler Trio's incredibly huge output, but the other stuff I've heard was mostly fairly standard electronica to my ear.

I don't know why i ever owned that album, but i don't any more. i once found one track from it on an extremely sketchy site, so if it can be found on the internet I'd like to know about it.
posted by cmoj at 7:14 PM on January 28, 2012

Donnacha Costello's Colorseries sounds/looks right up your alley. Had fun on playing this on a long car ride and having the occupants guess the colors.
posted by bendybendy at 9:21 PM on January 28, 2012

Seconding the idea that the experience of synesthesia is specific to the listener. But maybe try Messaien's Quartet for the End of Time? I once saw it performed in front of a projection of coloured kaleidoscope like images... I think the composer was a synesthete.
posted by costanza at 11:27 PM on January 28, 2012

I myself experience visions, with the right music. The original experience came from listening to none other than Pink Floyd's "Echoes", from the Meddle album. It was a very complex, well-developed vision. No drugs were involved, this happened when I was about 14 years old, before I'd had any drugs.

Later, the fantastic interpretations of DeBussy, by Isao Tomita, had lovely visions. Mostly of alpine environments, but without the developed story line of the earlier, Pink Floyd experience.

Now I'm over 50, and don't get visual experiences, but I do get something. Enigma (no surprise) is a good choice, as are Prem Joshua and Karunesh. But those later 2 are heavily eastern influenced, and Indian tablas and sitars always invoke a certain state of mind for me.
posted by Goofyy at 2:41 AM on January 29, 2012

Arthur Russell comes to mind. Try these:

This is How We Walk on the Moon

That's Us/Wild Combination

A Little Lost

Also, you may like Film by Aphex Twin
posted by seriousmoonlight at 1:46 PM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think I know what you're talking about, or at least there are some tracks (and sounds in general) for me that have a strong colourfield / shape & form / temperature / texture connection, rather than being lyrical / emotional / intellectual / funky.

For example:
Bang On A Can's version of Eno's Music for Airports 2/2 (The whole CD is great by the way).

Compare with Brian Eno's original. For me they have a different, erm "feel", even though the Bang on a Can version is a note-for-note cover version. Bang on a Can's feels white, unified like huge cotton sheet, and something like a cool breeze. Eno's feels more like pastel coloured pebbles (pastel green, yellow, purple), and slightly warm to the touch. So for me at least, I'd say any synthestic effects relate to the timbre of sound as much as melodic content (although obviously that plays a part too).

So I don't have any recommendations for specific tunes, but if I think about the music that's been the most richly evocative in this regard, it's usually instrumental electronica / minimal techno where timbral sound design plays an important part. So I'd say the Pop Ambient and Total series of compilations from Kompakt are well worth checking out, if you haven't already.

And for similar stuff to Bang On A Can (textural, acoustic ambient), this Ask Metafilter thread on "drone classical" was a relevation.
posted by iivix at 2:55 AM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've noticed recently that the music of Jonsi and Sigur Ros have a physical effect on me. We were at a showing of "We Bought a Zoo," and I noticed a change come over me anytime the score kicked in - it was a physical sensation of happiness and lightness. Might be specific to me, but there's something in their sound that flips a switch.
posted by jbickers at 10:38 AM on January 30, 2012

« Older How has the internet changed the newsroom?   |   Are the books outside the bookstore too cheap to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.