Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Conspiracy Music (Part 5)

Let’s jump backwards once again, this time to 1985 and the release of Kate Bush’s song “Cloudbusting” from her album The Hounds of Love.  Bush has written several songs with cryptoscatological overtones:  “Strange Phenomena” (an ode to Forteana) from The Kick Inside, “Hammer Horror” (British cult horror films) from Lionheart, “The Dreaming” (the Aboriginal Dreamtime) and “Houdini” (life after death) from The Dreaming, “Experiment IV” (covert sonic weapons) from The Whole Story, and “Lily” (ceremonial magic and the Order of the Golden Dawn) from The Red Shoes.  “Cloudbusting” was inspired by the work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich who, late in his life, claimed he’d invented a “cloudbusting” machine that not only had the ability to control the weather, but to destroy UFOs as well.  Reich documented this research in CONTACT WITH SPACE, the last book he wrote before his premature death in Federal prison in 1957.  According to some conspiracy theorists, Dr. Reich was incarcerated because of the breakthroughs he had been making in cancer research (i.e., his invention of the “Orgone Box” which he claimed was capable of curing various terminal illnesses) as well as his weather control/UFO research.  “Cloudbusting” was inspired by this conspiracy theory as well as A Book of Dreams, a memoir written by Peter Reich, Dr. Reich’s son.   

In collaboration with film directors Terry Gilliam and Julian Doyle, Bush produced a music video to showcase the song.  Not only does this video include a Cloudbusting machine designed by the Swiss surrealist painter H.R. Giger, but also features the actor David Sutherland as Wilhelm Reich.  (This role prefigures similar conspiracy-themed parts that Sutherland would later play such as “Mr. X” in Oliver Stone’s JFK and “Andrew Nivens” in Stuart Orme’s The Puppet Masters based on Robert Heinlein’s UFO-themed 1951 novel.  Of course, Sutherland’s presence also echoes the UFO content of Philip Kaufman’s 1978 film adaptation of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

You can see Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting” video by clicking HERE.

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