Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Alan Moore: Unearthing

In this universe, as opposed to the proverbial parallel one, a two-hour dramatic reading of a biographical essay written by one comic-book author about another should be the sort of thing that inspires more snoring than awe. Thankfully, the men of Unearthing are only marginally of this plane of existence, and what they’ve created is positively out of this world. Here, Watchmen mastermind Alan Moore narrates his biographical tribute to his mentor/colleague Steve Moore (no relation) over a score by Crook&Flail, a.k.a. Subtle’s Adam “Doseone” Drucker and Fog’s Andrew Broder. The music is Mogwai meets Subtle meets John Zorn: sludgy and percussive; at times ambient, electronic, or piano-based; often epic; and, in short, the perfect atmosphere for the gorgeous mutterings of a mad genius. It takes one to know one, or rather, it takes a handful to soundtrack the biggest of them all. Mike Patton, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Zach Hill of Hella, and Jesu’s Justin Broadrick all stop by to contribute to the post-everything ethereal jambalaya, but the most important presence is Alan Moore himself. He describes his subject with such stunning, artful detail—”Fine wrinkles spreading from the corners of his eyes, curved up around the brow, curved down around the cheekbones, face like a magnetic field”—that it’s easy to get lost in Unearthing’s rarified air almost immediately. Moore’s voice is a form of music, too, a low British growl that hypnotizes with its mastery of cadence, consonance, alliteration, and occasional rhyme, inspiring breathless waiting as he works his way toward the “final panel” in this aural graphic novel. Far more than one man’s history, Unearthing presents a mythology steeped not only in London’s own rich past, but in the two Moores’ fascination with the occult, vividly borne out as a one-of-a-kind document that, lucky for us, is playable through headphones.


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