Unearthing Unearthing

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Alan Moore Alan MooreUnearthing

7.9 / 10

Alan Moore Unearthing LEX

We readers of comics who grew up with “Miracleman”, “Swamp Thing”, “V for Vendetta” and, of course, “Watchmen”, venerate Alan Moore as if he were a Spanish conquistador on horseback. In spite of his unsociable nature, his disturbing appearance, and his scrutinising gaze, the British writer has changed the lives of many people, yours truly included, and even though with the passing of time his genius may have weakened a bit, some of us would still be capable of selling our own mothers in exchange for Moore being able to live 50 years longer and keep giving us legendary comics to pass our time at home. In this situation of almost irrational idolatry, I know that his most ardent fans, those of us who would be capable of eating spaghetti from his luxuriant beard, have received this extravagant item as if it were the Tablets of the Law recently handed down from Mount Sinai.

I can’t avoid thinking, in any case, about people outside of the Alan Moore universe, and I must warn them, of course, that if they wish to be initiated in this religion, or if they simply aren’t interested at all in this Victorian schoolmaster, then this is not for them. We are looking at one of those far-out things that the Brit likes to do to go against the grain. At a time when no one would bet on a combination of literature, imagery and experimental music, Moore pops his pimple and squirts it in our faces with a box-set that stands out like a strange island in the ocean of mediocrity and idiocy that is flooding current counterculture. The formula is simple: the magician reads a long text-reflection in his cavernous voice, the main character of which is Steve Moore, a pioneer of British comics who was something like his mentor, both in the art of comics and in the field of psychomagic. The text, which was originally supposed to be included in the anthology by Iain Sinclair, London: City of Disappearances ”, also serves as an entryway into the curious autobiographical terrain of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and to chew on the disturbing literature of our dark hero, a literature charged with a very particular, dizzying and apocalyptic static electricity.

In the background, as a sweet white noise, there are passages of ambient, cloudy sound captures in which guitar distortions, electronic abstractions, para-dimensional scores, ectoplasm and psychophony become supporting actors. In the musical band, the list of collaborators is no joke: Adam Drucker ( Doseone), Andy Broder ( Fog), Mike Patton, Stuart Braithwaite ( Mogwai), Zach Hill ( Hella) and Justin K. Broadrick ( Jesu). It keeps you awake at night, really. Paranoia, digital rustlings, black snow, acid rain: the musical curtains creep along at low volume, almost like piped music, locating themselves like a transparent carpet under Moore’s reading, which proceeds at its own pace, marking beats that evoke a strange, gloomy, dreamy London, a city devouring its children like a Neptune of cement and stone. It’s not easy to digest: the eleven passages that make up the story are an incessant vomiting of mercurial literature, poisonous, and as harmful to the lungs as asbestos. In this terrain it’s Moore who sets the pace, and the different musicians follow the rhythm of his literary apocalypse. He is the star. Only him. And his diction is intoxicating.

Apart from the double CD with the text and the music –two hours of reading– the box that Lex offers us also contains magnificent pictures of Moore taken by photographer Mitch Jenkins (the co-instigator of the project, so to speak), the vinyl version of the material, and an EP with the music for those who can’t meet his gaze and who feel a feverish trembling every time that the Great Magician opens his mouth and spits fire. It’s my favourite spoken word CD since the already-distant “Spare Ass Annie & Other Tales” (1993) by William Burroughs. It was worth waiting 17 years for.

Óscar Broc

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