Deleted immediately after its initial limited pressing, Wide Open Spaces is a recording of a live performance by a quartet consisting of People Like Us' Vicki Bennett, Wobbly's Jon Leidecker, and Matmos' Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt, which took place in 2002 in the lecture hall at the San Francisco Art Institute. The recording falls somewhere between the KLF's Chill Out and a field recording from Bob's Country Bunker, with all sorts of sources chopped up and spliced during the course of an hour. There are liberal splashes of dialogue from radio, television, and movies; barnyard animals; ghostly evangelist testimonials; blips of notes from country singers; and countless other ingredients. All of these pieces are laid on top of dusty country songs -- and, occasionally, there's the presence of a dance beat. The best moments are to be heard in "Dolly Pardon." For the bulk of the track, an unassuming acoustic guitar plays a sweet melody in the background, and what sounds like a young Dolly Parton gets mangled and spliced into a series of odd snips, "eeps," and "aaaaaps." At one point, an enthusiastic gentleman enters and asks, "Hey Ben, how 'bout 'Ponderosa?!'" Just after that, an older fellow chuckles and proclaims, "Seems every time we get together someone wants to hear 'Ponderosa!'" These two comments are looped a number of times, and if you put your ears up real close, you can, at one point, hear another fellow mummer, "I'd appreciate it if you would perform Ponderosa.'" So what kinda music do we have here? Oh, we've got both kinds: country and plunderphonics.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman