I don’t normally listen to music while I read. Mostly because I have trouble concentrating. So, when I do, it’s usually something without words like jazz or instrumental rock and roll (Joe Satriani’s Surfing With The Alien, John Paul Jones’ Zooma, that kind of thing). Back when I was working at Wizard I got my hands on a copy of Scott McCloud’s Zot! The Complete Black And White Collection 1987-1991 from Harper Collins. It had been sitting in the to read long boxes in my closet since then and I recently picked it up to see how it is. And it’s great. I’m only 336 into the 576 page book, but I feel like I’m enjoying it along with the commentary that McCloud gives after each story arc.
The real point of this post though, is to talk about music accentuating the reading material. I was sitting in bed one night, reading this volume when it popped into my head that the brightness and sci-fi leanings of Zot’s earth would go really well with my favorite modern surf rock band Man Or Astro-man? (for what it’s worth, my all time favorite surf rock group is The Ventures). I went out into the living room, popped a reading light on, turned my iPod to the correct Artist and read for quite a while.
And I gotta say, it was a near perfect fit. It was kind of eerie actually. When the story slowed down, the record did so too. Kind of like discovering that Wizard Of Oz and Darkside Of The Moon fit together, but of course, dependent on the speed with which the reader can read. I first listened to EEVIAC Operational Index and Reference Guide, Including Other Modern Computational Devices (1999) and then Project Infinity (1995) because that’s the order they’re in on my iPod. The mix of surf rock and old sci-fi movies was like whatever kind of wine goes with whatever kind of steak, it just happened to work.
My experience with Man or Astro-man? goes back a while. I happened to see the following video for “Theme From Eeviac” along with the video for “Denise” by Fountains of Wayne on 120 Minutes and I was sold (on both bands). I would go on to purchase both Project Infinity and A Spectrum Of Infinite Scale (2000) at my beloved Boogie Records (used and new respectively). Soon after they broke up, which is a bummer, but I’ve still got a few other albums to check out if I ever get the urge. Anyway, here’s the first video I ever saw, along with a few others I found on YouTube that show off their goodness and weirdness.
I highly recommend checking them out if you have even a remote inkling that you might like surf rock or are a big fan of old sci-fi movies or if you just like to read a lot of sci-fi. I used to actually turn Man or Astro-man? on when I played video games. This was back in the PS1 days, before games scores and dialogue were important. Do yourself a favor and check them out!