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Various Artists - Fly Rocket Fly - From The Jungle To The Stars

by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2018-09-07
Various Artists - Fly Rocket Fly - From The Jungle To The Stars
Various Artists - Fly Rocket Fly - From The Jungle To The Stars

Fly Rocket Fly is a documentary that reads in the available synopsis like some b-grade espionage film. A rocket scientist, Lutz Kayser establishes an aerospace company called OSTRAG (Orbital Transport and Rockets) in 1975 as a commercial rather than government sponsored venture. He enlists the aid of the military dictator, Mobutu See Seko (Democratic Republic of Congo) to realise his dream of propelling his weapons-capable rockets into space. Hey, what could go wrong ? 100,000 square kilometres of remote jungle should be easy to monitor, right? Two of the guys Lutz Kayser worked with could be traced back to the Nazi regime. They were instrumental in the development of the V-2 flying bomb. Cool. No reason for paranoia surely. The world watched, aghast at the potential for calamity.

Sounds like a fascinating documentary, one you might imagine Werner Herzog to produce.  

The soundtrack to Fly Rocket Fly swithers between the unlikely marriage of motoric rock and jungle rhythms. Aided by the connected tissue of composer, Heiko Maile, whose compositions bind the surprisingly subtle components together with sangfroid professionalism, the music on the soundtrack so brilliantly evokes the story’s journey, as to almost obviate the need to watch it at all. Imagination required, to be sure, but being appraised of the above outline, the music will give you more than a sense of tempo for the film, it will also build a picture of Kayser's dreams and unalterable path. Take for instance the wonderful track by Die Wilde Jagd ‘Austerlitz’. The repetitive electro-grooves and unabated drive are metaphors for the evocation of a period of industry and achievement. Or ‘Plateau Kapani Tono’ by the composer, Maile which masterfully introduces you to the alien jungles of the Congo. The best musical comparison is probably Peter Gabriel’s work on his fourth album where he merges African rhythms with western pop-rock in a way that didn’t condescend either species of music. Moebius Neumeier Engler likewise produces excellent compound results on the haunting percussion and synthesiser mischief of ‘De Nama’.

Camera provide the Neu-styled power train rock of ‘From the Outside’. Vague psychedelic shadings and a sure-footed beat.

The composer, Mailes’s portentous ‘Luvua River’ surely casts a suspicious eye over Kayser’s moral ambiguity, but any sense that the Director is leading you to judgement is accounted for in the final track ‘Landing On The Moon’, a clear meditation on Wagner’s Prelude to Das Rheingold, a utopian idealism absent the moral question.


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