If Spirographs and Kaleidescopes Made Sound
March 14, 2017 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm particularly moved by pieces of music that feel like they're blooming. It's that feeling of exuberance, exhortation, and exhilaration; it's a blossoming, a groundswell, an unpacking of meaning: it's an full-circled evolution on an earnestly beautiful theme. They'll have lots of harmonic interplay, elements of overlap and repetition, and will vamp and grow in layers, typically culminating in a grand fulfillment. Would you happen to know any like these?

My prime examples are Max Richter's reconstruction of Vivaldi's 'Spring 1,' Jon Hopkins' "Light Through The Veins," and Sigur Rós' "Með Blóðnasir."

Secondary inspirations: Washed Out's "Paracosm," Mogwai's "Auto Rock," Tycho's "Awake," BadBadNotGood's "Hedron," Radiohead's "Separator."

The songs that I am thinking of are typically instrumental, but don't have to be. If the songs feel like they're 'breathing,' great; if they are related to feelings of transcendence, or leaving one's body, or feeling like you're sunlit or glowing, even better. So...! What do I need to listen to that I'm not already?
posted by a good beginning to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
I'm surely gonna get run out of town for this but the first thing that comes to mind is You Enjoy Myself by Phish, or really most of the stuff off their first studio album, Junta. Stick with studio versions for now. Live Phish is... well... let's just not talk about live Phish right now.

"Yes, yes, I know you hate Phish, but if you just hear this one two minute clip from 47 minutes into this one jam from back in in October of 1998 you were surely change your mind..."
posted by bondcliff at 11:34 AM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Tortoise made a career out of this style of song. Try the album It's All Around You.
posted by mannequito at 11:56 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]

Ravel's Bolero
posted by Diddly at 12:08 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]

Pink Floyd's Echoes
posted by vacapinta at 12:11 PM on March 14

I'd recommend checking out Zoe Keating. She plays cello and uses a loop pedal and it's absolutely amazing. Because it's looped from a single performer, all of her songs have this great building/unfurling feeling.
posted by duien at 12:21 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]

Boards of Canada; Juliana Barwick.
posted by matildaben at 12:24 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]

Many things by Vaughan Williams but probably Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:38 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

I am also biased because my choir just did this, but Bach's Magnificat is just stunning. Probably best seen live.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:40 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Oops! Apologies for linking to the Cramp's Route 66 by mistake there! Still it's never a bad thing. Too late to edit so please accept this correct link to the very mighty Rez and as a bonus I just remembered the Sabres of Paradise epic Smokebelch .
posted by tardigrade at 1:28 PM on March 14

First Circle.
posted by clavicle at 1:34 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

See if you like any of these:
Bracken - Slow Release
Cabaret Contemporain - Une Des Deux
Parra for Cuva & Senjoy - Sacred Feathers
Petar Dundov - Before It All Ends
Eat Lights Become Lights - 13th Looking South
Gel-Sol - Montauk
John Beltran - Clouds Pull
KRTS - Outside Your Arms
Michna - Increasing Ambition
posted by aubilenon at 1:48 PM on March 14

I'm not familiar with any of the new stuff mentioned here but my first reaction to your question was Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.
posted by Rash at 2:36 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Thomas Tallis, Spem in Alium. Eight choirs, 40 voices, each singing a different line. Renaissance polyphony at its finest. Definitely has that breathing/cycling/expanding thing you're talking about.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:38 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Offered in the spirit of bondcliff's comment: Close to the Edge.

It been a good 35+ years since I last listened to the entire album, but when I read "It's that feeling of exuberance, exhortation, and exhilaration; it's a blossoming, a groundswell, an unpacking of meaning: it's an full-circled evolution on an earnestly beautiful theme", it's the first thing that came to mind. (Achieving full-effects might be drug-dependent.)
posted by she's not there at 2:43 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Mozart's Requiem Mass in D Minor is one of my favourite pieces of music. I recommend it in its entirety, but specifically it ends with Lux Aetaerna, which might fit your requirements.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 3:32 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

harmonic interplay, elements of overlap and repetition

Two ideas:
1. Bach conterpoint, try Glenn Gould (you will either love or hate)
2. Theme and variations, try some Brahms
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 4:57 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Mendelssohn's Octet, particularly the finale.
posted by Lotto at 5:08 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

This may seem lame at first, but Hall & Oates' I can't Go For That sort of blossoms as they add tracks across the intro. It requires headphones for the full effect.

Also, the entirety of Jeff Buckley's album Grace.

Absolutely seconding at least the title track to Yes' Close To The Edge. Be sure to buy the Steven Wilson remix if you get it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:02 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Handel's Messiah (with a TWIST) is my default go-to when I want/need to be filled with precisely the emotions and sensations you described. Never, ever fails.

I know, I know... "Who hasn't heard that old chestnut eleventy-billion times, already?" The 'twist' here, is this particular selection was performed by a food court flash mob, about seven years ago. When I tell you I find their version more rousing than even The Mormon Tabernacle Choir could muster (heresy?), I mean to stress this is by far the most transcendent and beautifully sung interpretation I've found to date. That a performance of such quality happened in the most mundane place, only adds to how impressive I find it to be, overall. They sound like a choir of angels might, at least in my imagination.

That I am able to hear my hands-down favorite musical piece performed to the calibre they managed to pull off, always makes me irrationally ebullient. Or, perhaps I am just easily amused. You'd have to be the judge of that. ;)
posted by Amor Bellator at 8:39 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Thank you all for your suggestions. I wasn't expecting such a nice response to my thread! I'm working my way through your recommendations, and will favorite and mark my best answers as it makes sense to my ears to do so. :) There's a lot to go on!

Early nailed-it's for me are Zoe Keating's "Sun Will Set," Rhian Sheehan's "Little Sines," and that Tortoise album's title track. Guess when it comes right down to it, I'm kind of a pop-eared guy, but I'm adoring this classical music... I was brought up in it. While the Bolero fit the bill, I found plenty of territory to explore with Ravel and went searching. "Une barque sur l'océan," for example, at least in its opening. But, uhh, wow. Blown away by each piece of music I've heard regardless. Thanks all. So much.

I'll be proud to give everything in this thread its due respect, so if you have other songs that come to mind... please feel free!
posted by a good beginning at 7:59 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]

You might like Summer '68 by Pink Floyd.
posted by Rash at 3:15 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

John Luther Adams - Become Ocean (youtube link of it performed by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra)
posted by noneuclidean at 5:50 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

* Colleen - The Golden Morning Breaks
* Lullatone - little songs about raindrops & computer recital
* Basically anything by Wooden Spoon
* Debussy's Arabesque no. 1 - especially this gorgeous E flat harp version by Sato Tomoko
* Grouper's song Follow In Our Dreams
* Fujita Masayoshi - Stories: particularly this song, Snow Storm

posted by the north sea at 7:19 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]

ahh forget to mention: ENO, though i'm sure you're already well aware. i keep thinking about this one from apollo: atmospheres and soundtracks, but if you want music that is quite literally unfolding and spiralling out, try seeking out his generative music works.

also i probably can't let this post finish without a mention of basinski's disintegration loops
posted by the north sea at 7:28 AM on March 19 [1 favorite]

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