Video Savant: Deodato's “Also Sprach Zarathustra”

Welcome to Heard Mentality's newest regular feature, Video Savant.

It will appear every Tuesday, if all goes according to plan and YouTube keeps delivering the audio/visual goods.

Video Savant's concept is simple: I scour the vast cyber tundra (mostly the beneficent expanses of YouTube) for unusual and excellent music-oriented videos and then comment on them, for your edification and entertainment. The goal is to expand your musical horizons in weekly increments, so that in good time you can smugly pontificate about obscure bands/solo artists/DJs to your peers and thus raise your esteem among them. Or alienate yourself from everyone. Depends on how much charm and charisma you possess, really. So, as Marvin Gaye crooned, let's get it on.

We'll start with “Also Sprach Zarathustra.” This track by Brazilian keyboardist/composer/arranger Eumir Deodato was a hit in 1972 and won a Grammy in 1973 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. This song would not be a hit in 2008. This song would not even be considered for commercial radio airplay in 2008.

If you want a succinct metaphor for declining aesthetics in America, this scenario will do nicely. A jazz-funked-up rendition of an 1896 Richard Strauss tone poem that was inspired by a philosophical tome by Friedrich Nietzsche charted in the early '70s and earned a major industry award; now it would be laughed out of the boardroom. [Record-company mogul: "Too pretentious! And where are the goddamned vocals?!?! Shit, maybe we can salvage a ringtone out of it…"]

Concert footage version

Bonus 2001: A Space Odyssey footage version


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