Monday’s Long Song

This Monday’s long song is an seven minute meditation from Newcastle’s Steven Legget, a slow moving, elegiac tribute to a Turkish bath at Newcastle’s City Pool built around cello and waves of electronics. The album this track is from, Bathhouse, also takes field recordings from Crete and uses them to construct luscious ambient music. It has long since sold out on vinyl but is available digitally from Bandcamp. To be honest, at just under seven minutes this track isn’t nearly long enough- it could be twice the length and I’d happily let it wash over me.

French artist Moebius (Jean Giraud) brought a distinctly European sensibility to comics, a semi-surreal style that was a world away from the Wham! Pow! Blam! world of Marvel and D.C. His comic art is wildly imaginative and the colours shimmer, the people seem real but other and the worlds and places he drew became a standard for sci fi films. He grew up watching and reading Westerns and was inspired by the endless skies of the Mexican desert (having lived there briefly with his mother in 1956). Between 1984 and 1986 he drew The Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer for Marvel, bringing his European bandes dessinees style to superheroes. If any Marvel comic was going to fit with Moebius, it was Silver Surfer.

Starwatcher (pictured at the top of this post) was an androgynous stargazer in a trippy, hypnotic world and is Moebius’ career high. Published in French in 1986 and long out of print- a second-hand copy will set you back a couple of hundred quid. Moebius’ Starwatcher and his artwork generally is perfectly suited to today’s ambient sounds.

Second Surfer

A new two track release (digital and 12″) from Toby Tobias, Second Stimulus and Syncro Surfer using up all the S alliteration. Second Stimulation is an eight minute journey through staccato synths and a machine pulse with intermittent bass. Syncro Surfer is a Detroit-esque rush of sirens and hi-hats, clattering percussion and bleepy pulses. This sort of thing is really pushing my buttons right now.

What Manner Of World Have I Found Here?!!

Silver Surfer again, exploding out of deep space and bringing with him Galactus, devourer of worlds. But the Surfer makes his choice, the surfer stands with earth!
More good news for the people of planet earth, there is a new release from Finiflex (some of Finitribe) . This four track release on Bandcamp (digital and yellow vinyl) has four versions of Ta Ta Oo Ha. Origination, the nine minute, full length one is the one I’m going back to most, but the low slung, hypnotic throb of TX20 Agent Of Intelligence is a treat too. I really like this e.p., a blast of modernity with a foot in the early 90s.
And as a bonus, just in case you needed reminding, here is one of 1991’s best releases.
‘Bass, can you hear me? Loud and clear. Crunching through these speakers to you…’

So Shall It Be

A 1971 psychedelic/Norse crossover, this one drawn by John Buscema, from the Third Eye series. Odin resurrects Hela. So shall it be.
This can only go in one direction can’t it? From 2008’s Black Sheep album, some prime recent Julian Cope.
More from the Marvel Third Eye series, these ones are all by Jack Kirby I think, but its the colourist who’s getting most of the fun- The Infinity Man, an acid trip in spandex; the Silver Surfer, freed and unbound; magnificent Medusa.
And because Cope has more than one Marvel link, Spiderman and Daredevil threatened by Submariner- The Teardrop Explodes!
This is their 1979 single (that inspired its own tribute song by Chris Sievey and the Freshies, otherwise known as Timperley’s own Frank Sidebottom).

Such Stars As This Are Not For Me

Silver Surfer was Norrin Radd, the young man from the planet Zenn-La who saved his home world from Galactus, the planet devourer, by agreeing to act as his herald. This resulted in Norrin flying through the cosmos announcing to various planets that they were about to be destroyed. He later turned on his master, defending the earth. Exiled to the blue planet he spent much of his time shaking his head, ruminating on existence and despairing at the inhumanity of mankind.

Silver Surfer first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic in 1966. When drawn by Jack Kirby a completely silver humanoid with no genitals on a surfboard sweeping through the cosmos, his speech coming from Stan Lee’s scripts with him speaking in a kind of Shakespearean English, makes perfect sense.

Here’s some beautiful minimal ambient-techno from Aphex Twin.