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Mort Garson - Signs of the Zodiac: Pisces CD (album) cover


Mort Garson

Progressive Electronic

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3 stars This is my first rendez-vous with the music of MORT GARSON (1924-2008), a classically trained musician and electronic researcher who was among the first persons to make music with the Moog synthesizer. Several of his albums have been reviewed here, even one album from the 12-part series "Signs of the Zodiac" that was entirely released in 1969. Just for the heck of it, I too choose my own sign, without being interested in astrology per se.

Like seemingly each album in the Zodiac series, Pisces features three actors (Nancy Priddy, John Erwin and Michael Bell) reading in brief turns some astrological text about the sign in question, backed by Garson's cosmic Moog music. The album is about 28 minutes long, containing six tracks of varied length. It's rather pointless trying to follow or analyse the album track by track instead of just taking it as one continuity, as it certainly feels like. In other words, the textual level seems to be the primary thing, not the background music, so it wouldn't make much sense to talk of musical compositions or "songs" that one could tell from one another. But occasionally, for example in 'Pisces - Numbers, Gems and Colors', the synthesizer is a bit more up front, making me think of early VANGELIS -- who also used narration on tracks such as 'Albedo 0.39' and on some tracks of Aphrodite Child's classic album 666.

For non-native English speakers, these albums could be used as a listening practice. Of course it would help if the listener was sincerely interested in astrology. I'm an avid reader of fiction mainly, but not at all into audio books that have nowadays become more and more popular. If I was to choose whether to listen to an audio novel, ie. some brief book I'd like to read, or to this album, I would certainly choose this (well, I just did), merely for sonic reasons. Because this actually sounds quite fascinating, and I don't even need to fully concentrate on the text. The actors are very good in their task, they are not merely reading the text, and I simply like their voices, especially the female one. Those slightly echoed voices combined with Mort Garson's elegant and spacey use of Moog gives the whole a charming feel of an old (late 50's, 60's or 70's) science fiction movie.

Warmly recommended for a) Moog enthusiasts, b) people keen on astrology, and c) people enjoying hearplays and audio books. If you fill out each of these, just make the Youtube search and enjoy.

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Posted Thursday, January 19, 2023 | Review Permalink

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