Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bernard Szajner: Visions of Dune

A very welcome re-issue of the album Visions of Dune by Zed a, very much a forgotten classic of French
electronic music of the late 1970s.

Zed was an alias used by  electronic music pioneer Bernard Szajner, who amongst other things was one of the inventors of the iconic laser harp instrument, popularised by Jean Michel Jarre.

Visions of Dune was released in 1979, a work inspired by the science fiction work of Frank Herbert. It remains a genuinely strange and richly other-worldly work,

It's a more abstract work that much contemporary electronic music, less aimed at the dance floor and more targetted at the darkened room and intense listening experience.

It's east to understand why the album is something of a holy grail for vintage analogue synth fans.

The new release of the album comes out on InFine Music next month, and features two bonus tracks that were recorded at the time of the original album.

Szajner wasn't the only French musician of that era fascinated by Frank Herbert's Dune, with Richard Pinhas, of Heldon a band that were very much at the intersection of science fiction and progressive rock, looked to it for his solo 1978 Chronolyse album.

The re-issue of Visions of Dune is a timely one, as it coincides with the release of the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, a documentary about the poroposed film of the Dune book in the 1970s by visionary French/Chilean director Alexander Jodorowsky.

The unmade 18-hour long film  would have starred David Carradine, Orson Wells, Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger.

While much work was done in pre-production, it never made the screen. However, members of  the production team would later work on films like Star Wars and Alien where some of the ideas that were originally intended for Dune found a new home.

The music for the un-made Dune film would have been by Pink Floyd and Magma. That would certainly have been an interesting prospect.

Magma vocalist Klaus Blasquiz contributes some processed vocals to that track Ibad on Visions of Dune, as well as having designed the sleeve.

Perhaps this album should itself be seen along with the other better known artifacts created in the wake of one of cinema's most ambitious failed projects.

No comments:

Post a Comment