All things hidden and alight
This year’s contribution, written and performed as part of my leadup to the total eclipse of August 21st.
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).