Wednesday 28 November 2012

English Heretic at Power Lunches

We'll be supporting Mithras on Thursday 13th December at Power Lunches. Mark and Zali's Raagnagrok are on the bill too. DJ set and a Duggie Fields screening. Should be a good night, come along.

Hopefully we'll be airing "Black Harvest", "Vaughan To Lose" and a new track "Riding Free" as well as radical reworkings of "Hell's Angel Blake" and "240 Hours".  Time permitting we'll also do an uber heavy condensed version of "Demon Feast"...



E N G L I S H   H E R E T I C


M I C H A E L   G A R R A D   ( Resonance FM )    D J   S E T


a screening of ''Merry Christmas''  a brand new piece by   D U G G I E   F I E L D S

8 pm     T h u r s d a y    1 3    D e c e m b e r    2 0 1 2

Power Lunches
446 Kingsland Road
E8 4AE

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Wednesday 21 November 2012

The Alchemist of Saltdean

Last sunday I visited Haunted Shoreline and was given a wonderfully profound tour of his exoteric laboratory - the beach at Saltdean. At dusk, the sun set on the right of the horizon and a crescent moon hung on the left, creating a perfect hermetic backdrop for Haunted Shoreline's careful observances of the possible mineral residues that may have been washed up at the last tide. The ocean trench is the alembic, the sea its universal solvent.

Without exception the most enigmatic "hand painted photograph of the concrete irrational" in Dali's canon is for me The Pharmacist of Ampurdan Seeking Absolutely Nothing. In it, a Freud-like figure stands on the porous rocks of Cadaques in deep rumination of his mineral terrain, in the distance a suburb of the painter's paranoiac-critical town. It stuck me that Haunted Shoreline is performing a similar operation to the figure in the painting, re-casting the venue to the beach. There's also a decidedly English form of natural history surrealism in the venture - from the Swanage of Paul Nash to the oozing oedipal album sleeves of Steven Stapleton.

As if to give currency to this hypothesis even the rock pool flotsam takes on the appearance of a Merzbild; a construction of lollipop sticks, kelp and skull white stones. But the rock pool also looks like some kind of gelatinous veve or the squirming magic circles of Giodarno Bruno. It was supposed that Bruno constructed particularly sinister talismans where worm like creatures were deliberately depicted invading the sanctity of the circle's circumference. An heretical attempt to invite possession and mania. Discussing the method of Haunted Shoreline's post-laboratory inferences, we talked about the perils of pure psychic automatism and the need to constrain the extrapolations of irrational discovery. So it's likely that the alchemist of Saltdean is seeking some thing with each ritual visit to the shoreline. An object - the thing, singular - but imbued with the plural, the "some" - an object to be ratified, rarified and poeticised, in other words "raised an octave".

The chalk of Saltdean provides offerings too - a white prima mater. The cliffs which gave rise to Albion are formed from the aeons-crushed skeletons of minute plankton. As Haunted Shoreline testifies the bone hunters spend as much time facing away from the sea, scouring the cliffs for booty and in a kind transaction he reports they offered his daughter the gift of an ouroboros - cloaked in the guise of a fossilised sea urchin.  

As evening drew in, the figures of people climbing the rocks became increasingly silhouetted as if formed or forming from the rocks beneath. Perhaps this is the clue to the enigma of Dali's Pharmacist - is he a double of his landscape?  Did Dali spy the figure of Freud in the sediments of Cadaques and conjure the suited humunculus using his paranoiac critical mediumship? At one point I noticed a child crouching on the rocks, wearing a jester styled bobble hat, it looked like some kind of golem. The golem of Jewish mysticism is an anthropomorphic being entirely composed of inanimate matter. In Jungian alchemy, the humunculus is supposed to have first been documented in the visions of Zosimos, a self-mutilating orobouros, but also a golem - half sentient and tortured by his own existence. The golem, in Rabbinical tradition, is kept alive by the Hebrew inscription for Truth [emet] which is it wears on its head. To destroy a golem and return it to dust, you need to merely remove 'aleph' from the letters on its head to render the word for Death [met]. Later, in Haunted Shoreline's garden we talked about the influence of Gurdjieff's dictum of "Life is real only when Iam". It is an aphorism that puts truth at the pivot between life and death. The alchemist, one who raises the octave, in Gurdjieffian parlance, is also distilling the essence (or truth) by the iterations of his Work.

The psychopomp responsible for initiating Haunted Shoreline's nekyia to the beach at Saltdean was Anubis - revealed in the form of a rock shaped like a Jackal's head and discovered at the end of December 2011 on nearby beachy head. The underworld of the Egyptian is also a psychoanalytic voyage, Dali's psychopomp is Freud - the unleasher of the painter's lurid subconscious, but the journey to the underworld can be construed as an hermetic undertaking - an argonaut, a voyage of linguistic entendre. The ceremonial donning of the phrygian cap by the alchemist in his laboratory is a ritual cue signifying that he is now looking for the philosopher's stone. In fact the child on the rock is now less wearing a jester's hat... There is a curious doubling here too, of Dali's Pharmacist and the carving of the alchemist that Fulcanelli discovered at Notre Dame Cathedeal. Both can be seen to be adopting the ritual posture of intense investigation.

Fulcanelli's alchemist

The given ancient of the mineral world trivialises our neuroticism - the calcium in our bones is as old as the universe - but it is also important to realise the neurotic complex is merely a parallax view of our possible futures, and it's critical that we apotheosise our early seizures to give us the hope that we can be mythmakers too. To a degree this is what Dali was doing, though Ernst is more explicitly self-aware of the necessity of amplifying the narratives of the childhood - of raising the octave - the birth of his sister coinciding with the death of his beloved parrot to create the bird-bride hybrid of his delcalcomaniacal masterpieces.

Every nekyia needs its hypogeal ramp and the beach at Saltdean is reached by a tunnel cut into the cliffs. The shallow descent through the tunnel gives Haunted Shoreline's perambulations a magical imperative. The beach is cut off from the mundane. As we left the beach through the tunnel, a sign above the entrance showed the numbers 902. Asking me of the qabalah, I pointed out that it is of course 11, the number of the Daath, false sephira of Grantian lore and the 11th letter of the alphabet which gave Crowley his high strength magick with a K. Perhaps that Phrygian cap is also the hat of the Tarotic fool on the 11th path. Virgin's Milk, the philosopher's stone, all absurd paradoxes, impossible miracles.

As an adjunct to my visit, a video documentary is in the making which will feature extracts from a fascinating interview conducted following the walk... more on that as it happens!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Horror Capitalism

Iam delighted to see that English Heretic friend and collaborator Dean Kenning is curating a show of Poster Production at The Portman Gallery. The event starts on the 6th December, recommended!

Dean's also just launched his website with a fine gallery of samples of his work including the "Dulwich Horror", which first introduced me to Dean. There's also the hermetic/political film Metallurgy Of The Subject for which English Heretic provided the soundtrack and which was a pleasure to be involved with. Dean's work is a great example of Horror Capitalism, witty and provocative.

The Dulwich Horror

Friday 16 November 2012

Energise That Melancholy! 2012 - 2013 Events, Releases and Projects

A brief update on forthcoming events, releases and related projects in the Calendar, an energised melancholic start to 2013!

* Thursday 13th December 2012, at Power Lunches in Dalston , supporting Mithras with our pals Mark and Zali's Raagnargrok

* 12th January 2013 - English Heretic present Black Harvest, at Our Black Heart in Camden With Support from Mithras and DJs.

A bleak new year ceremony, coinciding with the plough workers Straw Bear festival. This event also serves as a launch night  for the next single again titled Black Harvest. A pessimistic road trip, taking in corpse paths and the sacrificial king's Journada Del Muerto; the new single recites Rune poems from Danby church in Yorkshire where the lychgate seers would watch at the porch for the procession of the future dead. In our context the voyant's watch is a socio-political occult metaphor for a darkening land riven by psychic malaise. The single is also a Harbinger for the 2013 research project "Wish You Were Heretic".

We will also be premiering exclusive footage taken from the 2011 Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesea shot by English Heretic, a sombre and sunset procession.

* 17th February 2013 - English Heretic present "The Apartment Trilogy" at The Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow. 

We are delighted to be heading to Scotland for our first performance there. Taking place during the Glasgow film festival, "The Apartment Trilogy" is a creative magical investigation into Roman Polanski's three interior studies from Repulsion via Rosemary's Baby to The Tenant. Could it be that the first two films in the series inadvertently or presciently precipitated the murder of Sharon Tate in brutal melange of these films?

And was The Tenant Polanski's admission, unconscious or otherwise of his role and guilt in the celluloid prophecies of his earlier films. Taking props from Thurloes Beauty parlour in South Kensington, London, the actual location of the hairdressers in Repulsion, we will reconstruct an inner cinema of Catherine Deneuve's psychotic breakdown at the venue of the Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow.

A second set of performances by The Blue True and further acts to be confirmed will soundtrack key scenes from "Rosemary's Baby". The event will culminate with a showing of "The Tenant", Polanski's self starring paranoid masterpiece.

Releases and projects.

* Anti-Heroes CD/LP and Booklet is nearing completion and we are aiming for an Easter release.

Track Listing:

1] A Touch of Brimstone (for Peter Wyngarde)
2] Their Satanic Majesties In Jest (for Dick Bush)
3] Hell's Angel Blake (For Angel Blake)
4] Vaughan To Lose (for Dr. Christopher Evans)
5] Mallian Time Slip (for Ian Ball)
6] Riding Free (for George Selwyn)
7] 240 Hours (for Robert Cochrane)

* Magick-Concrete - The Invisible Canon (after Penderecki's Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima).

A major work by Magick-Concrete will see the light of day in 2013, we hope. Involving music, visuals and sculpture. We are also pitching for presentations and installations, so if the synopsis below interests you, please get in touch.

The Invisible Canon is a complex audio visual and linguistic word play taking its moniker from Penderecki's Threnody For The Victims of Hiroshima.

A layer of Penderecki's harrowing apocalyptic soundtrack includes a series of 36 voices termed "an Invisible Canon". Magick Concrete honour Penderecki's piece with a song for the Kwannon, the Buddhist Goddess of compassion, "she who hears the cries of the world", and "a perceiver of the voices of those in need of help". Magick Concrete will attempt to realise these cries using the prima mater of sound recordings taken from Hiroshima in Summer of 2012. The peace bell, the sound of cicadas and crows, the raw material, augmented with traditional orchestral instruments. The Peace museum at Hiroshima displays a photograph taken by  Yoshito Mastushige at 11am on the morning of 6th August 1945. It shows a scene of haunting desolation but is given an extra poignancy by the fact that the resulting picture is stained by the photographer's tears which he states covered the lens. The visual component of the piece will be a series of  images of Hiroshima peace park and displays of bomb destroyed Buddhist statues. The images will be treated with body humours - blood, sweat and tears. The photographs and sounds recorded by Magick Concrete this summer on a Canon digital camera. The camera company Canon took their name from Kwannon, the self same Buddhist Goddess who hears the cries of the world. The original company logo for Canon depicts the Goddess. Voice elements  include a poem by Hara Tamiki "In the fire, a telegraph pole".  Tamiki was a living victim of Hiroshima who committed suicide in 1951 on learning he was suffering from terminal sickness caused by the bomb.

- the development of the concept owes its inspiration to conversations with Dr. Hannah Gilbert.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Cult Of The Spectral Hyaena At Kirkdale

As serendipity would have it, I took a copy of Kenneth Grant's Convolvulus up to Yorkshire this weekend past. The wonderful Hannah Gilbert and I were intending to head over to Rievaulx for a bit of Gothic photography, but it got a bit late on the Sunday, so we started scouting around for a nearer location, when I stumbled across mention of the hyaena caves at Kirkdale. A few months ago, I had chanced upon an exhibit in the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford chronicling the discovery of the same pre-deluge hyaena den by William Buckland in 1821.  

Grant's poetry is a revelation, imbued with a strange incantatory meter, these are as grimoire rhythmed as his Typhonian trilogies and condense in verse many of his recurrent obsessions; a case in point being the sorceries of the Kabultiloa - from which he renders the poem "Hyaena". The Kabultiloa surface in Grant's tour of the tunnels of set as the playground of Zamradiel, the qliphothic guardian on reflex of the path of the lovers; a cannibal tunnel of love, inhabited by a menses devouring, shape shifting, bilocating scavenger, the magical hyaena. Grant references the work of Gerald Massey who in his tome, The Natural Genesis, discusses a town, the inhabitants of which have mastered the practice of lycanthropy:

In the Kanuri language of Bornu (Africa), the name of the hyena is Bultu, and from this is formed the verb bultungin, which sigmifies ““I transform myself into a hyena.”” There is a town named Kabultiloa, the inhabitants of which are said to possess this faculty of transformation. These doubtless originated in the hyena Totem, and the donning of the hyena skin in their religious masquerade.

The donning of hyaena skin is interesting when one considers The Lovers trump in the Crowley-Harris Thoth deck. The king and queen appear to be wearing collars made from the fur of hyaenas. A hint to the reflex of Zamradiel and the baser carnal mysteries of Grant's Nightside of Eden.

In medieval bestiaries, the hyaena is depicted scavenging tombs, dragging a corpse from its from its coffin. Allegorically, the animal represents two-faced people.

St Antony of Padua [12th-13th century CE] (Sermons): Hypocrites are compared to hyenas. Note that a hypocrite concealing himself under a sheep's skin is like the hyena, of which many wonderful things are related. It is a small animal; it dwells in the country; it digs up graves by night, and devours the corpses. It is fond of going where it can hear the voices of men; it haunts the folds of shepherds, and by listening attentively, learns to imitate the human voice, so that it can call a man at night, and devour him. It also imitates human groanings; and alluring them by its false sighs, devours the dogs, who, when they are hunting it, if they come within its shadow, lose their voice, and cannot bark. There is an extraordinary variety and change of colour in the eyes of the hyaena. ... It has no gums, and only one tooth, and that small; which, to the end it may not grow blunt, is naturally closed, after the manner of a chest. Whatever animal the hyaena goes thrice round, cannot move itself. Of this the Lord speaks in the 12th chapter of Jeremiah, in another translation: Mine heritage is unto Me like the den of a hyena. Thus the hypocrite is a being who lives in a brutal fashion; little, on account of his deceit; rustic, through the deformity of his deeds; and digging into sepulchers in the night of dissimulation. For he creeps, as the Apostle saith, into houses, and by seducing words allures the innocent.

Moreover, it appears that Leonora Carrington, pucelle of the Surrealist movement, was also privy to hyaena's habitat in the the deserts of carnality. Her painting (also titled) The Lovers depicts ritual activity, in some nocturnal Bedouin encampment. Cowled votives attend to the conjugal bed of the king and queen, the ceremony intruded by a crippled hyaena.

Explicitly, Carrington made it known that the hyaena was her creative familiar, like Ernst's loplop, an astral pet from childhood, first encountered on a trip to Blackpool zoo. She states,

'Hyaena's particularly attracted me in the zoo... their great virtue is that they eat garbage' 
'Iam like a Hyaena, I get into garbage cans. I have an insatiable curiousity.' 

In her signature painting Self Portrait (Inn of the dawn horse), a hyaena sniffs near the riding jodhpurs of the debutante Carrington, its teats swollen and lactating, suggesting taboo bodily functions. Carrington herself affirms 'In everybody, there is an inner bestiary'.... But more than a dweller on the threshold of womanhood, the hyaena is the anthropomorphism of Carrington's creative rebellion against her societal destiny.

The caves at Kirdale, the venue for a pre-deluge hyaena den reside like some kind of blasphemy, next to the minster of St. Gregory, an 11th Century Anglo-Saxon church with a sprawling graveyard furnished by gnarly trees. The porch contains some curious stones carved with Masonic runes. 

Interestingly one of the dedicatees of Kenneth Grant's Convolvulus is "Gregory". With this neat toponymic link, it seemed appropriate to recite Grant's poem, in the porch, it being too dark to venture to the caves. Further explorations to the cave will be made in the coming weeks, but I close this heretical session of night-thoughts with reading by the late Dr. Alain Champagne's of Grant's "Hyaena"...

The Kirdale Hyaena Cult from English Heretic on Vimeo.