2013 was a terrible year, a destructive year, a year of many lessons. This tarot card from the Deviant Moon deck sums it up nicely for me:
4 of Cups – the person on the balcony has left the party to be alone with their melancholy thoughts. Bored with it all they toss the blood wine off the parapet and in their apathy miss that the boat has sailed in the distance.
Yes I’ve been dabbling in the “arts” again – a sure sign of mental instability. But these comforts from my teenage years bring contemplation back into a life that was increasingly resembling (at least to me) one of Stan Brakhage’s more challenging compositions. (Those of you who don’t like nasty surprises or NSFW material might want to avoid clicking that link.)
2013: the Psychic Autopsy
I’m 39 yrs old and no longer do I find comfort in the suggestion that my priorities, interests and ideals are counter to those of 99% of the world. The joy of alienation is a teenage headtrip that reeks of paranoia as middle ages slopes forth. That said, events of the last year have really made me think a large part of the population of Australia are brainwashed drones for the combine.
The true effect of the Lunatic Nazi Party is yet to be fully realised however the way it’s going here in Queensland I think we’ll have plenty of angst to help fuel our agit-prop-post-punk fantasies. Anything to keep us from cowering in a closet away from the shrivelling sun making crackling of our skin. Though it may not save us from the sudden joyous tornados that have absolutely nothing to do with climate change nosireebobdobbs.
I see none of it as having anything to do with anything but money. Sounds really dumb to a cynical anarcho-commie not really a hippie type like me but it is very much looking like reality is just as bad those smelly cultural bagmen sleeping rough on park benches (Alan Moore) warned us it would be. Money really is “the drug” and “the new god” we were warned it could be. The governments of the world – desperate to keep themselves in dry-cleaned suits – have sold us all to the lizards at bargain prices.
This guy manages to sum it up rationally if not completely free of doomsaying.
I can only hope my son Griffin will be a part of humanity that helps restore life to this world. I tell myself his current status as a wrecker of civilisation is only a 2yr old toddler phase – but look at what he’s maniacally tossed behind the fireplace.
A journey then
The only book I recall reading all the way through this year is this one:
Which I believe is also this one.
Plenty of Illuminatus knowledge and creative coincidence [or… is… it…] this tome manages to expertly untangle the real and the mythological while remaining objectively open to the elements of both contained in each. #infinity An entertaining story and a better introduction to the fundamentals of chaos magic i’ve not found. Higgs convincingly argues that they initiated a new phase in human social development through their ritual burning of 1 million pounds.
Speaking of “the occult” – one of my early (bad) influences was Nevill Drury shown here deep in research towards an existential phenomenological survey of alternative medicinal practices.
He died this year. I dedicated this bandcamp release to him.
It landed in a fashion rather akin to the “if a tree falls in a forest…” aphorism. There are still some free download codes available if you would like to know what where the fuss clearly wasn’t – just message me.
It has become clear that my need to make music for public consumption, while not aggressively discouraged, is in no way required. I now feel I was lead to believe my talents were appreciated mainly by being in a position of power (running a radio show, helping curate gigs.) When the power is ceded for more pressing concerns (parenthood) the disciples that paid homage cease worship and the diagetic altar lies unkempt and forgotten. This is as certain not the end as the disciples were never the beginning. The realisation is dawning that my muse is the form that my worship of the great cosmos takes on. It was obviously there all along: the art of packaging ones artifice is merely the skin on a skeleton cosmology. The question is how to stop myself catering to the masses that are(n’t) there? I’m still uploading sketches to Soundcloud and find this an entertaining way of polluting the world with my noise. However it maybe that the majority of my work starts to happen over longer durations, in obscure locations, without reference to a public that doesn’t listen anyway.
Another author I never found a road to during his life is Colin Wilson. His was a name I knew only as the author of the book “Planet of the Vampires” which loosely inspired “Lifeforce” – one of the most entertaining horror/alien films about a pair of breasts that i’ve ever seen. (Also I’m keen on boring people with my jaded video clerk banter in pointing out that “Species” is a rip off of this.)
I’m reading “The Occult” and so far liking the cut of its jib. It is coming at the pagan / spiritualist / mystical mumbo jumbo from a primarily philosophical perspective. Not quite Scully to the Crystal huggers Mulder but more a perceptually open minded sceptic. Something I find rather refreshing. His perspective begins scientifically but he states up front that “one of the fundamental dogmas of science is that a man who is denying a theory is probably more ‘scientific’ than a man who is affirming it.” Naysay and doubt is but a Google search away – but faith and hope in the land of the blind money grabbers are things that must be sought / just aren’t given. There have been too many insane things ratified as “common sense” this year. But if nothing is true and everything is permitted how on Earth does one tolerate the din generated by all the sharks proselytising for this set of values or that ideology? Seeing the world through the lens of Facebook makes me fearful that political decisions are being made based on whichever meme (that they initiate) spreads the farthest. I’m so very tired of the anger I feel at this world and the prison wardens that ruin it for all of us. This is why I need magic back in my life – I need to feel some agency no matter how metaphysical. When every cycle of every waveform that I create, process and proliferate is like a star seeding the universe with symbols and signs friendly to my kin however far, only then I can deal with the plague of degenerate corruptables.
Amidst the existential
Despite all the existential turmoil I feel that this year has been a good year for music. Though another important person joined my list of dead influences: Bernard Parmegiani.
I feel privileged to have seen him perform a live diffusion concert at the Brisbane Powerhouse in the last decade. All theory on use of sonic materials in composition lead to Parmegiani as being arguably the key practitioner who manages to combine Schaeffer’s notions of the sound object with Stockhausen’s theories of electronic music to a result that sounds like magic alive in the atmosphere.
Musically the clear standout for me was a work that builds on the legacy of Parmegiani. Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol.1
This is precisely the kind of music I want to create. Deep, complex, alien magic rituals that can be performed. It sets the bar real high.
This year has been hugely successful for me as a composer. Initiating my focus on pure synthesis late last year has enlightened levels of understanding I was barely clinging to in years past. Aside from designing a self-contained altar for synth worship I’ve been exploring and challenging my tendencies towards certain types of musical production. Next year my plan is to work on some long form esoterically informed compositions primarily with Logic and Composers Desktop Project. I’m also working on collaborative experiments which will allow for public ritual experimentation and feedback. What I won’t be doing is what I have been doing for the last few years – that is – messing around with some sounds in real time – editing out the bad parts and releasing them on Bandcamp. That clearly isn’t the way anymore.
Instead my new years resolution is to focus my money and some of my time exploring the natural world with my family before the lizards take it away from us.
p.s. I’m not forgetting the great Iain Banks also died this year. I have only dipped my toes into the cultures’ waters but I certainly enjoyed my time and hope to return soon.