Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Zodiac, "Cosmic Sounds" (1967)
From the 1970s through to the mid '80s, Zodiac signs were mainly referenced in music in order to help you decide whether you were sexually compatible with the featured musicians. For a time it was rife, but ultimately the death knell rang for astrology in 1986 when Prince announced that he didn't care about it. These days, astrology is half-remembered only as an antique barbarism, alongside such questionable practices as horse-riding, phrenology, and suicide by asp.
This album, conversely, dates from the glory days of hippiedom and celebrates the Zodiac purely for its own sake. It consists of 12 tracks dedicated to each star sign, each with overblown poetry spookily intoned over a psychedelic arrangement. Each of the poems is careful to reference a significant planet, number, colour and gemstone for the sign in question, e.g.
nine times the colour red explodes like heated blood
the battle is on!
Mars, the master matchmaker, sulphurizes the sky
incendiary diamonds scorch the earth
Probably a bit embarassing in hindsight, and not much help in picking your lottery numbers either. But the creative and varied arrangements do stand up well, being performed by talented sessioners and featuring excellent use of the Moog synthesizer (which in 1967 was about the size of a two or three large wardrobes). I have linked to my two favorite tracks from the album below, and as a monument to my immaturity, I include as a bonus "Aquarius, the Lover of Life" since it includes the passage:
in the friendly opal light of Uranus,
all men can blend
yet still be what they are
The Zodiac - Aries, the Firefighter
The Zodiac - Taurus, the Voluptuary
The Zodaic - Aquarius, the Lover of Life
I expect full compliance with the instructions on the back of the sleeve - "MUST BE PLAYED IN THE DARK"