Big with VALIS


Craig Leon was and is a record producer, composer, classically trained musician and all round talented guy.  He co-produced this:

Well the one on the record anyway.  He also worked with these guys.

In 1973, the Brooklyn Museum hosted a comprehensive collection of sculptures by the Dogon of the Republic of Mali, a tribe whose religion is based in reveries and recollections of a visit from an extraterrestrial species they named Nommos. Years after experiencing the exhibit, Leon remained fascinated by the idea of alien visitors sharing not just stories of their home-planet, but musical traditions as well. For the classically trained Leon, a puzzle was presented and a challenge in place: what would music sound like if handed down from an ancient alien species? And how best to imagine it?

RVNG really do do the best press releases.  I’m not going to even pretend to rewrite that.

So, Leon goes and records two albums using a load of new synth equipment he was dying to try out.  And what we got first was Nommos.  A reissue was floating around on Superior Viaduct last year but there seems to be a fair amount of confusion over whether the original masters were/weren’t lost, what’s an official reissue and all that stuff 20JFG doesn’t generally deal with.  What I do know is that below we have a re-created track from the original studio notes.


Craig Leon – Nommo

Nommo ends the A-side on the album.  It’s an almost impossibly beautiful dance of synth loops, drones and percussion.  It’s an image of ancient, life supporting plains, rendered in electricity and chrome.  It’s an oddly Industrial sort of Primitivism; harsh percussion made comforting by its low key surroundings; the press of keys, painting in ancient skies.

Through space and time the Nommos seem to have visited Leon’s contemporaries.  So we hear This Heat’s Loops, the synth-poppier side of Severed Heads and even a bit of Codek.

This is taken from RVNG’s re-release of Craig Leon’s Nommos and Visiting LPs, packaged together as Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol 1. (which will hopefully be the name of a blog in 10 years). Anyway, it’s out on June 24th and you should really, really pre-order it because it’s magnificent. Get it from the source, right here.