Thursday, 2 June 2011

Crisis? What Crisis? Attilio Mineo's Man In Space With Sounds & World's Fair Futurist Utopias

Subliminal having recently issued a limited vinyl version of 'Man In Space With Sounds' I thought it apt to feature this classic recording. As much as the reissue is desirable, unlike their CD from ’98, it doesn’t contain all the versions with spoken word intros that were on one of the two original releases in ’62. I’ve scanned the CD booklet and the text should be readable if you click on it.
   I’ve got a lot of pleasure playing this out as a DJ over the years, and at home, imagining I’m in The Bubbleator for ‘an exciting, truly out-of-this-world tour’ heading ‘straight into the heart of the future’. First stop, the ‘Gayway To Heaven’, where ‘you guide your own rocket’...surely this should be an anthem at a certain London club?
   Anyway, yes, the early 60s, when the monorail was science-fiction made fact! Here also are ‘scientific crossroads that symbolise the international spirit of space age tomorrow’. Right, instead of fierce Cold War conflict and the space race flexing of technological muscle.
   I’d really love to have visited the Boeing Spacearium for a ‘simulated flight through outer space’. It’s all wonderfully optimistic (and naive). Whilst the crowds during the last few days marvelled at the Fair’s vision of a bright and brave new tomorrow, an American U-2 plane was snapping evidence of Russian missile bases being built in Cuba. What ensued almost put an end to everyone’s future.
   Mineo’s music really is something to treasure, being light years away from most space-age pop of the time, not only in its use of electronic sound, but the frequently unsettling atmosphere it creates. Along with that, some of the strings are positively Herrmannesque. At times this sounds more like the soundtrack to sci-fi dystopian vision than a celebration of ‘soaring science’. As such, it’s better suited to the nightmarish realities of Cold War hi-tech rivalry than utopian optimism.

Listen hear - with intros - without.

More World's Fair images from various countries.


A highly recommended book.


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