Space Music: The 'Dune' Music of Grimes


Grimes performs in Berlin. Photo by Stefan Hoederath/Redferns

Following our previous "Science of Dune" podcast episodes, I shared a few different musical selections inspired by Frank Herbert's "Dune." Since that time, I've embraced the synth-pop styling of Grimes -- particularly her albums "Art Angels" (2015) and "Visions" (2011) -- and was delighted to discover her Dune-inspired 2010 debut album "Geidi Primes."

You may remember Giedi Prime as the Harkonen home world and, indeed, one of the album's standout tracks bears the title "Feyd Rautha Dark Heart."

The whole album revolves the Dune universe, though don't expect a lot of overt references to the Butlerian Jihad or anything. The first track, "Caladan" is the only one that seems to make a strong, lyrical connection to the book.

"Under a sea of clouds I fly Would the wind fly round as she tumbles? Something fell from the blue-white snow Bright light grew and string my bow The wind shall seek with the sailor and me"

It's wonderful album and the abstraction makes it all the more engaging. Grimes spoke with Bullett back in 2011 and shared the following about the "Dune" references in the album:

"Geidi Primes is quite nightmarish to me.. I think it's quite a bit how Dune is ... kind of scary and caustic but beautiful and sad at the same time.. and like, super escapist, super otherworldly... I like to think of it as a sci-fi record a bit. It's funny to answer questions like this because when I initially made the record I never thought anyone would hear it. If I'd known that it would actually have an audience I might have been a bit more subtle with the references haha, although Dune is really one of the most aesthetically influential pieces of art I've ever experienced... It's extremely close to my heart and soul, if I could enter into any alternate reality it would be that one for sure."

So consider a Grimes album the next time you dose up on Semuta. You can acquire "Geidi Primes" on BandCamp, Spotify or wherever you get your music.

Space Music is a continuous exploration of our expanding cosmos of sound, with a semi-firm emphasis on electronic music. Explore years of posts right here, and sample a little of everything at the Space Music Sampler playlist on Spotify.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.