Underwater Idylls

Regular listeners of Inter-Dimensional Music will be familiar with the music of Lieven Martens, a Belgian fellow who records under the name Dolphins into the Future. His 2009 album … On Seafaring Isolation now canonized in the expanding genre of Cetacean mind-jams. It’s just been reissued on the Fonal label, and as we were skimming through the press release the closing line caught our attention:

But if Martens taps into a pool of tropical references (as he undoubtedly does), such influences are relayed from an unashamedly outside perspective – a deliberate refraction of nature, a re-imagined idyll, that shows him to be as close in spirit to the Romantics, or perhaps even filmmaker Jean Painlevé’s surreal take on aquatic life.

A few keystrokes later and we were lost in the surreal “scientific-poetic cinema” of Painlevé’s films on YouTube. Two of our favorites from the French anarcho-biologist are below: The Love Life of the Octopus (1967), scored by Pierre Henry, and Sea Urchins (1954) with original music by Yo La Tengo from the eight-film cycle they scored as part of Science is Fiction, a 3-disc survey of Painlevé’s films from Criterion.

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