Whether you call it psychedelia, psych rock, or even just ‘stoner music,’ a genre defined by lengthy tracks, flanged-out guitars, and groovy rhythm sections has gone hand-in-hand with cannabis culture since the first summer of love. This week, we’re turning our attention to space rock – psychedelia’s heavier, weirder offshoot.
Space rock experienced a resurgence in the early ’90s, so we’re going to start there. Opening the playlist is Loop’s ‘From Centre to Wave.’ With the shadow of the nascent shoegaze scene hanging over it, the tune features pummeling drums and a circular guitar melody, drawing a fascinating influence from krautrock. ‘From Centre’ is simultaneously inward-looking and star-gazing, perfect for head-highs.
We’ll also jump back in time to the ’70s with Hawkwind’s ‘Silver Machine.’ It smashes together a mind-boggling amount of styles, pitting a glam-rock stomp against whirring synthesizers and solo galore — a real journey to a faraway cosmic body (in an appropriately shaky vessel).
Leaping forward in time, we close with Spiritualized’s ‘Out of Sigh.’ Best known for their tragic yet epic 1997 album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, the band also put out Let it Come Down in 2001. It slices between expansive orchestral sounds and a slew of damaged gospel proclamations (from an aptly named frontman, J Spaceman). Crescendos bubble constantly under the surface, upsetting one another as they arise and blast off.
Load up the shuttle and the pipe… and happy toking!
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