Shelley’s on Zenn-La by Oliver Coates.
Bandcamp Link: Shelley’s on Zenn-La
I’d read about Oliver Coates in relation to his collaboration with Mica Levi, (of Micachu and the Shapes,) “Remain Calm“. I, however, had not listened to that album, just read about it. Mr Coates is also a part of the London Contemporary Orchestra, who you may remember from the album “Lageos“.
This album caught my eye, because I am an old school nerd who spent many, many Saturday afternoons in the 1980s hanging out in comic book stores, (Capital City Comics in Madison, WI, to be exact). If you are as much of a nerd as I am, you will recognize Zenn-La referred to in the title of this album as the birthplace of the Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd.
Zenn-La was a technologically advanced utopia, whose advances in science had led to the disappearance of crime, war, and disease. A peaceful place where warfare was forgotten. However, one day it caught the eye of Galactus, a giant eternal being who lived by consuming whole planets. Unable to defend itself, one person on that planet traded his freedom for the fate of his planet. Norrin Radd told Galactus that if it spared Zenn-La, he would act as Galactus’ herald, traveling the spaceways in search of planets to feed its never ending hunger. Galactus took Radd up on the offer, infused him with the “Power Cosmic”, and turned him into the Silver Surfer, a being haunted by both his past and his future.
I am unclear who the Shelley of the title is. Perhaps Percy Bysshe Shelley? Would kind of make sense, given the often bombastic, poetic, and tortured pronouncements of the Silver Surfer.
In any case, all that aside, this is a pretty light album.
I kept hoping for something to happen, some small hint of drama or dissonance to crop up. Nothing like a planet eater here.
This is more like a sort of techno version of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
Small toys, wound up and crawling across the room.
It’s not bad, but it’s more, as I once heard someone remark at a concert, “House Cleaning Music”.
#OlvierCoates #ShelleysOnZennLa #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack