This week’s Monday Magick entry is a little more cool and mysterious than the normal fare that appears in this space. A rare feat for a feature designed to showcase esotericism in popular music, I know. But this week’s song, a smooth bit of proto-Sophistipop titled “Casablanca Moon” by German avant-garde Pop band Slapp Happy, from their 1973 LP ‘Acnalbasac Noom’, just has an air of added intrigue to it.
A great deal of the song’s mystique no doubt stems from the subject matter of the lyrics, which are rooted in the fiction of Ian Flemming and other spy-related fiction, not the least of which being Imageyenation favorite the ‘ILLUMINATUS!’ trilogy, as well as the weird fiction of beat author Willaim S. Burroughs. Set in the mystical landscapes of Morocco and featuring allusions to espionage, counter-espionage, the Kabbalah, drug-use, hallucination, madness, and murder, “Casablanca Moon” possesses no shortage of esoteric associations. The song even utilizes a simple cipher, encoding the song’s title in reverse at one point. Done up in a highly effected and quite continental Cabaret-influenced style, “Casablanca Moon” exudes Cold War-era noir flavor and occult conspiratorial vibes aplenty. No, it’s not specifically about magick. But it references Kabbalah. And that’s good enough for me.
While ‘Acnalbasac Noom’, originally titled ‘Casablanca Moon’, was recorded by Slapp Happy’s Anthony Moore, Dagmar Krause, and Peter Blegvad with Krautrock outfit Faust in 1973, it was rejected by their then-label Polydor. After re-signing to Virgin they re-recorded the album and it was released, with a different track order, as their self-titled sophomore LP in 1974. The original sessions were eventually released, as ‘Acnalbasac Noom’, by Recommended Records in 1980.
Music is magick!