Lunar Muzik is the third album by Ant-Bee, originally released in 1997 through Divine Records. In 1998 Aural Innovations magazine had this to say about the album: "Did you ever lie awake at night straining to imagine what kind of music would result from a collaboration that included Daevid Allen, Harvey Bainbridge, the original Mothers Of Invention, and the original Alice Cooper Group (minus Vince)? Well Ant Bee's "Lunar Muzik" puts this question to rest once and for all".
These days there are many artists who work through the intensely 21st Century modus operandi of file swapping. But Ant-Bee, aka Billy James was doing it over a decade before it became de rigeur. Billy James, an author of rock biographies and a musician in his own right, reassembled great musicians from the psychedelic era in his own Ant-Bee project. Featuring contributions from The Mothers of Invention, the Alice Cooper Group, and members from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, Ant-Bee has recorded several albums of material that bring together the styles of several branches of late-60s experimental rock music.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Ant-Bee began in 1987 in Los Angeles as a venue for James to showcase his musical affinity to the psychedelic and experimental music of the late 1960s. Signing to Voxx/Bomp! Records in 1988, Ant-Bee released Pure Electric Honey, which featured guest appearances by former members of The Mothers of Invention and Captain Beefheart. Sounding like a cross between the Smile-era of The Beach Boys, early Pink Floyd, and late-period Beatles, the record became well known in the underground scene in Europe.
Assembling a live band, Ant-Bee performed in the Los Angeles area in 1990 to much success. While the band recorded a couple of videos, the next recorded material Ant-bee would release was a German EP, 1992s With My Favorite "Mothers" and other Bizarre Muzik Reassembling the original Mothers of Invention for the first time in over 20 years, James and company performed material that was both humorous and spaced-out. James recorded with The Mothers of Invention once again on the second Ant-Bee record With My Favorite Vegetables & Other Bizarre Muzik (1994), which received strong press and sold quite well.
Three years in the making, Lunar Muzik (1997), explored both the pop and experimental side of the psychedelic spectrum and was bolstered by strong production and appearances from Daevid Allen of Soft Machine and Gong and Harvey Bainbridge of Hawkwind and the original Alice Cooper Group.
Aural Innovations described the music: "Many of the songs are very pop-psych and will be instantly loved by 60's fans. The music has that dreamy quality and drugged out harmonies that characterized the songs of that era. There is also lots of the same innocent experimentation like tape manipulations and sound collages that 60's pop-psych explored. There are even covers of the Monkees' "Love Is Only Sleeping" and the Stones' "Child Of The Moon".
Among the Mothers' contributions are "Snorks & Wheezes", "Son Of Snorks & Wheezes", and "Silicone Hump". The liner notes describe "Snorks & Wheezes" as "my grand tribute to the Mothers Of Inventions" and indeed they are that. Snorks opens with classic Mothers do-wop harmonies as sung by the Chipmunks, and then goes into an interesting spacey synth journey. "Silicone Hump" hails back to the early era of quirky, orchestral, Zappa compositions.
What makes this disc of interest to space fans is the presence of Daevid Allen and Harvey Bainbridge. Bainbridge contributes a synth exploration to a larger work called "By-And-By I Touch The Sky", which is described as "my supergalacticpsychomysticfreakyorgasmic concept piece - sort of". Surrounding Harvey's segment with more of Aunt Bee's pop-psych makes the whole thing very surreal. "Diva Gliss" offers several minutes of Daevid Allen's floating glissando guitar accompanied by synth.
Due to the collage-like nature of the music the whole work should be listened to in a single sitting. Otherwise, the psych "songs", the Mothers contributions, and the Allen/Bainbridge pieces would seem out of place with one another. Overall, though I find this to be a really fun and good humored collections of songs."
By-and-by I Touch The Sky (a) Main Theme (b) The Swan & The Horseshoe Excerpts (c) The Platinum God Excerpts (d) Main Theme Revisited