The Man in the Bowler Hat

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography by Fred Miller Robinson.

Fred Miller Robinson The Man in the Bowler Hat

I took my time reading this book, which is a social history drawing on fashion, art history, literary criticism, film studies, theater, and other disciplines, constellated around the image of the bowler hat. Author Robinson takes the bowler as a quintessential icon of both modern consciousness and consciousness of modernity, and he follows its chief cultural appearances from its 19th-century invention, all the way through the 20th century.

The argument addresses such cinematic instances as Chaplin’s “little man,” the work of Laurel and Hardy, and A Clockwork Orange. Various painters are considered, but Magritte gets his own chapter, of course. There are high-resolution black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. [via]

Vagueness is the Key

 

Vagueness is the Key
(Clinger/Conley)

Music: Ken Clinger
Lyrics: Craig Conley and Ken Clinger
Vocals: Michael Warwick
Production: Craig Conley

Little stars above us,
signals in the night.
Memories of places
we once knew.

Sounds are in the inner air,
like whispers between lovers.
So out of tune with what’s around
this world.

Has everything I’ve ever done
brought me to this moment?
What is there for me to learn
from this place?

Floating dreams above your head
drift into my thoughts.
I recognize these motions
we’ve both been through before.

We have only changed our names,
and alphabets for a spell.
Playing parts in different scripts,
we’re acting in a masque.

Songs are floating in your mind.
I seek comfort in the chords.
Meanings only lead astray.
Vagueness is the key.

Little stars above us,
signals in the night.

We shift through the pictures
from external worlds.
Searching for a flash
of insight.

Songs are floating in your mind.
I seek comfort in the chords.
Meanings only lead astray.
Vagueness is the key.

We reach past the images,
choosing our own light.
Inner sounds inviting us
to play.

Songs are floating in your mind.
I seek comfort in the chords.
Meanings only lead astray.
Vagueness is the key.

Composer Ken Clinger is a prolific recording artist hailed as a home-taping legend since the early 1980s. Lyricist Craig Conley is an eccentric scholar, esotericist, and author of dozens of strange and unusual references. Vocalist Michael Warwick is a piano and computer keyboardist.

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10

 

Aqva Caelestis

 

Aqva Caelestis
(Malinovsky, C. Rivera, Martinez, Cardenas-Zelaya and M. Rivera)

Lauren: Bass/Vocals
Caridad: Synth/Vocals
Herman: Guitar
James: Percussion
Biolu: Cello/Glockenspiel/Vocals

…We are from love.
Fear is but a stranger.
From past oceans
to present earth
we shall recreate what is ours…

An amalgam of exotic rhythms, ambient guitar, live electronic manipulation, aethereal vocals, and hypnotic harmonies produces an omni-meta-rhythmic arrangement that mimics the unhearable music of the Mnemosyne.

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10

 

Follow the Moon

 

Follow the Moon
(Furtkamp)

“Follow the Moon” is an outgrowth of recent work. Every year around this time, I take stock in what I’ve done, where I’m going, and what I’m doing, and listen to the Voice in the Void.

This was a song in my head after a particularly grueling session of self-analysis, conjuring, and lucid dreaming — I woke with it and got it out before it hand a chance to change into something else.

It is a moment in time, born of the fragments where it was best to leap off the cliff, to take an oath, to follow the whispers in the woods to the place from whence they came.

This track is exclusive to the Hermetic Library compilation for Fall Equinox 2014.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. And in those sounds, the proto-sounds that came out of the void, the first form from formlessness, there is beauty.

Music for me has always been a spiritual pursuit — before I ever picked up an instrument, I found the ever-living spirit of the void in a fountain pen. And as I wrote, and read the works of Crowley and Spare and whatever a young man could scrounge before the Internet was young, words began to fail at times to convey the spirit of the Voice in the Void.

It wasn’t about verse-chorus-verse or format or key or even a definited note — if the Voice wanted to speak in those terms, it would just use words. But there were things I found, things I woke up with dancing in between my ears, that would not stop until I committed them to tape, that led to years of work with “automatic music”, the equivalent of automatic writing or drawing but with sound.

Sometimes it’s harsh, sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes the Angel sings. And sometimes it’s smaller than the moment and bigger than me. Hook up the recorder, plug in an instrument, hit record, bell, book, and candle, and it’s there.

The best things that come from my hands and my lips and my eyes aren’t mine. I don’t dare claim them as anything but the literal product of the Work. Even as my body has failed me and blessed formlessness is near, the Voice and the music and the echo is there.

These days I am a magician and musician and dreamer, mystic and idiot, effectively locked away from the world by the curse of failed flesh, but in the Voice and the sound and the music, I am free.

I have played absolutely free for twenty years — I have only broken this rule once, just to break it. I do not play covers or set songs or even my own material twice. It is a thing of the moment, living, breathing, dying, and remaining as a record of that thing, that intent. It is a sigil of the pain, the joy of existence, the sound of the moment.

It is generally recorded live or as live as it can be given that there are times when to satisfy the piece and the moment I cannot clone myself. Overdubs are limited to complete passes and what I call “pseudo-live” in that it’s “use what’s committed to record” or “scrap the whole thing” to prevent losing the moment in the pursuit of perfection.

If at all possible, I record live in one pass, 24 tracks available at a time to allow me to focus on performance rather than mixing (and to use totally wet processing where needed live, not in post production).

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10

 

Lording it up in a World Full of Weirdos

 

Lording it up in a World Full of Weirdos
(Ace of Space/Paul Le Hat)

A Track for all our friends and fiends in Hendon and Ashbrooke. Especially those who spend their time working for a manky bit of cutter in the middle of the North Sea.

Discontent is unavailable …

One man wave of cinematic electronica from Northumbria. Has so far produced five full length albums.

Whatever it means to Ace of Space it means capturing the moment, just like taking a photograph or snapshot, in musical terms. These eclectic collections so far are a mixture of old school electronica and guitar instrumentals and atmospheric soundtrack work suitable for film, TV or radio.

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10

 

Nibiru Zombie Apocalypse

 

Nibiru Zombie Apocalypse
(Rodgers/Nuckler/Brown)

Ophwurld teamed up with Alan Sitar Brown for this one. Alan lent his haunting vocals to this strange mix of reggae and goth genres. Roger Rodgers played bass, and chimed in with the wolf calls. Moongoddess Cynthia helped out on vocals and Kevlar played guitar and keyboard while howling. Strap in for another wild ride!

Ophwurld is Roger Rodgers & Kevlar Nuckler teaming up to create Aural Sculpture. They assemble tunes by looping parts of their own spontaneous, instrumental jams using standard and non-standard instrumentation including guitar, bass, slide guitar, toy sound effects, the Korg Kaosillator Pro, and a DJ setup. The recordings were all done in a kind of live multi-track session using foot-petal looping technology. They first record a spontaneous, un-rehearsed jam session, loop the parts they want, then arrange them into a song. Their music captures the live energy of on-the-spot creation and improvisation which gives their music an honest quality found lacking in much of today’s hyper-produced music. Primarily instrumentals, their songs range in genre from trip-hop and reggae, to hard rock & roll. They incorporate many different genres in the mix including: Rock, Pop, Funk, Reggae, Electronica, Blues, Hip-Hop and Trip-Hop. Their music can be described as Experimental Science Fiction Rock, SpaceShip-Hop, & Roots Rocket Reggae, and all of it is very SCI-cadelic!

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10

 

LIL

 

LIL
(Black Lesbian Fishermen)

Black Lesbian Fishermen are an ambient/drone/experimental collective immersed in the teachings of the hidden masters and the exploration of tsipouro and tsipoura. They are:

NIKOS FOKAS (Gr)
Keyboards, Treatments
Wants to die like Giordano Bruno; with his tongue imprisoned for his wicked words

R LOFTISS (USA)
Bowed Guitar, Vox, Glass Flute, Synth
Believes that, in the end, talking animals will lead us home by the light of the moon

STRATIS SGOURELIS (Gr)
Bass, Treatments
Has been on a Jazz Odyssey and sacrificed a bull to Charalambos

ALAN TRENCH (UK)
Guitar, fx, Vox
Is an active member of the Astral Underground Drainage System

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Magick, Music and Ritual 10, the 2014 anthology album from the Hermetic Library
Hermetic Library Anthology Album – Magick Music and Ritual 10