Space age pop  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Space age pop or space age bachelor pad music is a general and loosely based term for a music genre associated with certain American composers and songwriters in the Space Age of the 1950s and 1960s - hence the name. Although there's no specific album, date or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as "roughly 1954 to 1964--from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles." The music is not limited to a single style, and it is not always easily categorized. There are several styles that can be recognized as an influence; classical composers like Ravel and Debussy; the big bands of the 40's, and different exotic styles, such as samba, latin, and calypso jazz. Some of the music in this genre is also known as lounge music or exotica.


Genre and style

Even though the space age pop-music takes on a variety of approaches in style, rhythm, composition and arrangement, it also shows some similarities. For instance, many of the composers associated with the genre used a string orchestra for applying warmth and color to the sound, often combined with a latin percussion section. A variety of keyboard instruments, from piano to marimbas, are frequently used, and occasionally even a theremin for that out-of-this-world sound. The arrangements of the instruments tend to be highly original, conveying a sense of humor and playful charm. Even the album covers often have space or modernist themes.

It is also common for composers to use well-known jazz standards as a basis for their own work and recordings, such as Harlem Nocturne, Caravan and Autumn Leaves. Classical pieces are also popular among space age composers, but almost always arranged in a lighter way than the original.

Composers associated with the genre

CD compilations

  • Melodies and Mischief: The History of Space Age Pop Vol. 1, RCA 07863 66645-2
  • Mallets in Wonderland: The History of Space Age Pop Vol. 2, RCA 07863 66646-2
  • The Stereo Action Dimension: History of Space Age Pop Vol. 3, RCA 07863 66647-2
  • Ultra-Lounge, Vol. 3: Space Capades, Capitol 7 2438-35176-2

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Space age pop" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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