May 29, 2008

Bombastic Very Fantastic [Spiritualized]

"Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To"

As noted in Matt's posting below on the "takeaway show," certain artists revel in intimacy. While the acoustics of the backseat of a car are certainly enchanting and, what some might call, "rustic," nothin' beats bombast, baby!

Case in point: Spiritualized. I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing Jason Pierce, a.k.a. J. Spaceman, and his band Spiritualized, twice in concert, and if there is one thing that this group doesn't shun its layers upon layers of instrumentation. Pierce has been called by some as a "post-modern" conductor of sorts, backing the group's distinct blend of blues rock, soul, shoegaze and drone with full piece orchestras. Hell...their 2001 album Let it Come Down had over 110 session musicians. Man...that must have been one cramped up studio!

While each Spiritualized album has their own unique sound, there are two standouts that everyone must pick up: there 1997 breakthrough Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space and their subsequent live album, Live at Royal Albert Hall. Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space is an absolute tour de force, taking the drone and shoegazing elements of Spiritualized's first two albums, Lazer Guided Melodies and Pure Phase and combining them with blue-eyed soul, british rock and beautiful orchestrations. Live at Royal Albert Hall is a perfect companion piece and has stood the test of time as what I think is the best live album ever recorded. Spiritualized thrive in the live environment, and, for them, bigger is always better.

Here's their video for "Stop Your Crying" from Let It Come Down, which features a bunch of tuxedo-clad orchestra members actin' like rock stars. Classical music is the new punk!

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