Release Date: Mar 18, 2016
Record label: Hollywood
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Left-Field Hip-Hop
In April 2015, the emotional juggernaut that was the first two-minute Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer was released online. Drawing heavily on the iconography of the original trilogy—a beached star destroyer, Vader’s crumpled helmet, X-Wings soaring—it played on a few generations' worth of treasured memories, but what sent it over the top were the stirrings of that lovely old John Williams theme: Nostalgia, ultra. Even more than the visuals, the sounds of Star Wars are what evoke the giddy soul of the films.
The Star Wars Headspace compilation, released in 2016 by the Hollywood label, is an odd novelty concept. A rather wide variety of electronic music artists, ranging from commercial EDM producer Kaskade to the genre-boundary-obscuring Flying Lotus, were sought to come up with original productions that incorporate Star Wars sound effects, as supplied by executive producer Rick Rubin. For Star Wars freaks, identifying the sources can be amusing, though not many of the cuts are comparable to the artists' best work.
Insulated by an array of hardware, software, and other DIY machinery, so many DJs and producers happily claim their technologic geekery. And how can one have proper “geek” cred without a sufficient knowledge of the Star Wars universe? Led by executive producer Rick Rubin, Star Wars Headspace offered an eclectic assortment of producers the opportunity to tap into the film’s broad sound library and craft new electronic worlds. In essence, this is musical fan fiction ready for both celestial dance floors and distant forgotten landscapes.
Zen master music producer Rick Rubin has played Yoda to countless musicians over the last decades. So he's the perfect guy to executive produce an album of Star Wars-themed EDM. The possibilities for such a project are pretty limitless, and the best tracks here approach the beloved source material with a sense of humor: Miami duo GTA's trap-step jape "Help Me!" is a frenetic, screw-ball mash-up of triumphal storm trooper-stomp horn flares, Princess Leia distress calls and Darth Vader heavy breathing.
“‘Star Wars’ is probably the most influential film of my generation. It’s the personification of good and evil and the way it opened up the world to space adventure, the way westerns had to our parents’ generations, left an indelible imprint. So, in a way, everything that any of us does is somehow directly or indirectly affected by the experience of seeing those first three films.”— J.J.
If you grew up watching the “Star Wars” trilogy over and over, certain sounds are as memorable and evocative as anything else in the films. If you didn’t, there’s enough in “Star Wars Headspace” to make this compilation more enjoyable than its gimmicky premise suggests. All credit goes to the eye-catching contributors — Flying Lotus,Shlohmo, and A-Trak among them, plus two tracks from executive producer Rick Rubin — who sound amped to play in the “Star Wars” sonic sandbox.