Sunday 20 February 2011

Never Has England Looked So Beautiful Yet Been So Violent

The next few months will be very busy. As well as completing my MSc, I am in the process of putting together the next Wyrd Tales and starting work on a new issue of The English Heretic Collection. A CD will accompany the magazine and I will be posting mixes from the CD as work in progress over the coming weeks. The title of the CD is Never Has England Looked So Beautiful Yet Been So Violent. A first mix of the title track to the CD is available here.

The CD title comes from the trailer to Witchfinder General. I can't help but feel we are becoming overblown advertisements for the bathic truths of our inner lives. It as if some portentous voice over artist is hyping the actuality of our self-importance, accentuating false peaks and air-brushing out the natural vales. I've been watching lots of low budget film trailers and love the disconnect between the crummy sets, the hammy actors and the hackneyed monsters, and the maniacal revved up promises of these quick cut edits.

I imagine if we do ever have a revolution in England, it will be similarly paced and promoted. I've been reading Summer Of Blood, Dan Jones' middlebrow page turner on the Peasant's Revolt. The book culminates with a poem by a young Robert Southey, dedicated to John Ball, one of the ringleaders of the revolt. Southey later went to become the poet laureate, "a hoary old conservative", in Dan Jones' words. Much to the embarrassment of the older Southey, the poem was published some two decades after he originally penned it.

I include two sections of the poem at the climax of the song, over sweeping strings.

...Flattery's incense
No more shall shadow round the gore-dyed throne;
That altar of oppression, fed with rites,
More savage than the Priests of Moloch taught,
Shall be consumed amid the fire of Justice;
The ray of truth shall emanate all around,
And the whole world be lighted!

John Ball, a "hedge priest" from Kent, was executed on 15th July 1381. He was hanged, beheaded, disembowelled and quartered, his butchered body sent to four parts of the country. Ball and John Lowes, the vicar hanged at the behest of Matthew Hopkins represent a different kind of heretic. They are totemic by products of the paranoia of civil war - the question  Iam asking on this track is how might this curious strain of paranoia manifest today, as the country becomes seemingly more divisive?

I'll also be publishing a series of English Heretic postcards with the tracks. The first postcard is made from a visit to Thetford, in honour of Dad's Army, which was filmed there, and the climax of this year's Straw Bear parade at Whittlesey.

That said, all these images and cute film samples merely represent the psychotic top soil of the subconscious, a  prophylactic film protecting us from access to a far more visionary and mysterious deep. I hope to unearth more archetypal relics as the CD progresses...

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Magick without K

Kenneth Grant died on 15th January 2011. I first read Grant's Outside The Circles Of Time when I was at school. It contains a wonderful occult mind bomb that on reading genuinely sent me into the 'neither-neither' state. A free copy of  my "Tales Of The New Isis Lodge" CD, to anyone who finds this particular example of initiating the creative vertigo. His books are full of this kind of weird humour. Cults Of The Shadow is dedicated to B.L - presumably Bela Lugosi.

I feel Grant was genuinely tapping into the astral of the 20th Century, not inhabited by a platitudinous carnival of the traditional arcana, but something considerably more squamous - spewed from the seas off Nagasaki. William Burroughs said the entrance to a subway is an entrance to Hell.  I would also add that they serve as entrances to the Tunnels of Set, beloved by Grant.  Ballard, in his introduction to Zodiac 2000 complains that the unconscious is no longer ruled by the animals of Chaldea. Grant's books read from the same disturbing Tarot deck. The criticisms against Grant's interest in the qliphoth are criticisms against the Universe - a vain attempt to delude ourselves that we are not embroiled in some delicious nightmare. At least Grant et al., are honest enough to dive in and swim the teratogenic oceans of the occult. Not only honest, but wearing the magickal blocking factor of black humour as protection against the fallacy of the Sun.

The threads of influence and intriguing characters and concepts that I have gleaned from Grant is the perfect epitaph for post-mortem studies.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

New Reification From Magick Concrète

Over at Magick Concrète, we have a new reification for Imbolc.

Cult Of The Black Goddess is composed from recordings taken at the mountain monastery of Montserrat, near Barcelona. There are two sound sources that have been manipulated through MISTY: the  Boys' choir singing The Virolai, and the Christmas Day Mass (played backwards). The Virolai is the anthem of the Black Madonna, venerated at Montserrat. It begins with the words "April rose, dusky lady of the mountain chain". We are reifying this track on the Feast of Imbolc (1st February). Imbolc belongs to St. Brigid, one of the aspects of the Triple Goddess. Also known as Candlemas, the day has long been celebrated as The Feast of Purification of The Virgin.

The Black Madonna at Monsterrat is one of the oldest such statues in Europe and Montserrat itself has been imagined as the location of the Holy Grail in the Romantic vision of Goethe. Ean Begg's gazetteer The Cult Of The Black Virgin mythopoetically proposes a lineage with Egyptian Goddess Isis. This imaginal thread derives from Robert Graves' lesser known essay "Intimations Of The Black Goddess", written in 1963, a fascinating epilogue to his magnum opusThe White Goddess.

Download "Cult Of  The Black Goddess" here