An Auditory Film

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More musicians should do figurative soundtracks to books. Wist Rec. did their beautiful Book Report series, where musicians such as Loscil and Christina Carter make 3″ CDs that fit inside the dust jackets of books by MR James, EM Forster and Malcolm Lowery.

Back in 1979, electronic instrument building genius and lighting engineer Bernard Szajner scored Dune. Not David Lynch’s film Dune, which came out in 1984 and is our Dan’s favorite ever movie, and sadly not even Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune – which the director had recently stalled work on. Nope, the Dune Szajner – under the name ‘Z’ – scored was Frank Herbert’s Dune. Dune: The Book.

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Jodorowsky approached various European proggers – Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd, and Szajner’s lighting clients Magma and Gong – for his prospective Dune soundworld, but if he’d managed to hang on to the project for just a little bit longer, Z’s Dune soundtrack could have been the definitive aural description of Arrakis and Dune’s “Proustian” (according to Jodorowsky) narrative.

Hell, maybe it already is.

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Szajner brewed up Visions of Dune while looking after his friend’s Oberheim sequencer and a two-track tape recorder for eight days. He set about making hundreds of loops, which he would apply to “mental impressions” of a character or scene from the book.

He describes the process as making “an auditory film” and of his role as “a musical illustrator.” Of course, like any beautiful illustration (the gorgeous concept art for Jodorowsky’s Dune from Moebius, Giger and Chris Foss included) the sound works well on its own.

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But it was designed to be functional, and frankly we feel we’d be doing a grave disservice to both the Szajner and Herbert if we didn’t tell you to purchase the LP (newly-reissued on vinyl with long-lost never-before-heard tracks deemed “too futuristic” for its original release) and dust off that old car boot sale paper book of Dune you’ve got lying around, and soak up Szajner’s synaesthesia while acquainting or reacquainting yourself with Herbert’s biblical space saga.

Z – Dune

Buy Visions of Dune

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Bonus 1973 track from one of the prog bands who nearly got the Dune gig!

Gong – I Never Glid Before