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"Sea Of Monsters"

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The "Sea Of Monsters" — as anyone who has made the passage from Liverpool to Target P will know — forms the continuation of the "Sea Of Time" and the Sea Of Science (but that's "Only A Northern Song"). On the LP, however, we sail into it a little later.

It's the longest leg of the voyage, given the sheer quantity of surreal sub-aquatic species there are to be seen. Entering its waters with understandable uneasiness, echoed by the nervy bass strings, rasping brass and electronic eeriness (and a warm current from the Indian Ocean), they narrowly escape the vacuum cleaner monster: "what a sucker!" The sub then passes the benign two-eyed bicyclops and steers clear of the University of Whales to a reprise of the "Pepperland" main theme.

Those cellos don't let up, though: there's a pair of kinky-boot beasts to be contended with, and — one of the best audio-visual gags in the movie — an extract from Air On A G String breathes in to see the sub turn into a lighter and feed the boxing beast an exploding cigar. The music was inextricably linked (in the UK, at least) to a series of cigar adverts: no wonder it's followed by a snigger from the fiddles! Originally composed by JS Bach, and 'adapted' by a composer called Wilhelmj, it just goes to show that musical plagiarism is nothing new. In the rock world, it's better known as "A Whiter Shade Of Pale".

And, of course, Ringo had to go and press that button, didn't he? A snatch of cowboy film music signals his abduction by a four-legged 'sea horse'. But not to worry: The Seventh Cavalry's on hand to save from his "'arrowing" experience. No sooner is he safely back aboard than Vacman returns, threatening to suck them all "into oblivion — or even further!"

"I felt, naturally," said GM, "that that scene required special 'sucking-up' music — the question was how to do it with an orchestra.

"Suddenly, I hit upon the obvious — backwards music. Music played backwards sounds very odd anyway, and a trombone or cymbal played backwards sounds just like a sucking-in noise!"

The sucker suckers himself, freeing the sub: but there's worse to come, both on celluloid and vinyl...

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