I was asked to pitch something for the inaugural Branchage Festival in 2008. Gary had been working with Velofax for a couple of years and recently returned to Jersey. As Bubblebrain we hadn’t performed in almost five years. I invited Gary to join me in writing a new piece to tie in with the screening of a documentary film about the United States’ manned missions to the moon.
I made a poster for the event using collage to form a surreal image: A giant bacteriophage on its spindly legs stands on the grey lunar surface. The phage looks like a moon lander. The lander like the phage contains DNA, in human packages, in search of new sources of energy for its self-replication. It finds only craters of dust, and remains there on the moon a virus in suspension. It is dimly aware every morning of light from Earth warming its exoskeleton. The light reveals its shape to satellite telescopes, and its image is reproduced all around the planet. “It’s watching and waiting for us,” people say, “thank god it’s there where it can do no harm.”
Unfortunately the poster was lost in a hard drive crash shortly after the gig. There were originally three movements to the piece. In the first part, a construction of universal background radiation was used to created an expanding drone studded with bits of discussion between astronauts and mission control. Gary improvised long notes on the bass. There followed an arrangement of cold, instrumental synthetic pop. Finally a slow three-bar bass melody repeats, gathering sparse beats and heavenly choirs as it does. When we’d finished performing the piece I heard a young girl in the front row say, “That was creepy.”