Nostalgia for the Future

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“Space music can […] be best regarded as an outgrowth of easy-listening that is even further removed from the musical foreground. Beautiful music supplies ghost tunes of the originals, whereas space music distills the ghost tune’s mood, its sound, and a smidgen of its style and reprocesses it into an “original” composition once again, this time unanchored to any distinct emotional or historical context. It avoids nostalgia mainly because its uncertainties force us to look back and ahead simultaneously. It derives power from the clash between the musician’s emotions and the space station granduer of high-tech gadgets and computer wizardry. Some of its best examples suggest science-fiction fantasies rooted in comic books and optimistic space tales. Space music thus celebrates a nostalgia for the future as it paradoxically looks ahead toward unsolved childhood mysteries…”

Joseph Lanza. “Violins From Space”. Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak, Easy Listening and Other Moodsong. [Revised and Expanded Edition]. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 2004. pp 189-90.

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