Bernard Szajner

Visions of Dune

Bernard SzajnerVisions of Dune
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Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel has played muse to a number of talented individuals since it was first published in 1965. Notable among the book's interpreters is cult Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain), whose failed attempt at creating a Dune film in the mid-1970s was recently explored in the excellent documentary Jodorowsky's Dune. French early electronic musician Bernard Szajner, also known as Z, was similarly inspired by Herbert's sci-fi franchise.

In 1979, the synthesizer maestro crafted an homage to the novel, filled with dense drone fields, cascading arpeggios, sinister atmospherics and futuristic laser effects. Yet Szajner wasn't simply content to use his electronics merely to "fold space," as the novel's Spacing Guild does with the help of a psychedelic spice known as melange. Propulsive rhythms — see the end of the mind-bending "Fremen" or the slinky "Adab" — enhance the overall experience, creating a sense of tension that allows Visions of Dune to be seen as a true soundtrack to the action happening as the narrative unfolds.

David Lynch eventually succeeded at bringing Dune to the silver screen, with Toto providing the music (save for a single piece contributed by Brian Eno). Perhaps (and this is a stretch) if Szajner's epic masterwork was chosen to accompany the film, which Lynch has since disowned, it would have fared better in the eyes of critics. This timely reissue allows one to dream at what could have been. (InFiné Music)
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