IMAGEYENATION

Regular readers of my Monday Magick column should know by now that I'm capable of finding allusions to sex magick in some pretty unexpected locations. But one of the oddest places I found myself hearing such references was the music of rapper, producer, wanna-be fashion magnate, and noted egomaniac Kanye West. Starting around the time he and JAY-Z released their collaborative 'Watch the Throne' LP in 2011 stray lines from the honorary Kardashian started ringing some very occult bells for me. Then, in 2013, he released his magnum opus, 'Yeezus', where his hedonism and debauchery reached all new levels of preposterousness, and I became pretty much convinced of my own theorizing regarding the esoteric nature of some of his more outrageous sexual lyrics. But I hadn't given the matter much thought after that until an article recently popped up on Noisey, the sister site of the hipster's homebase for satire and news VICE, mocking a forum post about the alleged "sex cult" activities detailed in Ye's lyrics.



Like I said, the first time I noticed seemingly occult overtones to the sexually-tinged content Kanye (and to a certain extent his collaborator JAY-Z) was indulging in was on the 'Watch the Throne' album. Most specifically the song "No Church in the Wild", featuring guest vocals from Frank Ocean and The-Dream, stood out for its specific allusions to abandoning traditional religious structures in favor of a life of "wild" love fueled by debauched, non-monogamous sex. Throughout his verse Yeezy denigrates the idea that humanity is inherently monogamous, declaring his lifestyle a "new religion" (using the phrase "we formed", as if implying the bodies of multiple partners in this ritualized sexual union form a fleshly sigil to some new deity), and banishing the concept of "sin" from his philosophy. He also repeatedly references the failures of mainstream religion and the clergy to truly serve the true will and true beastly nature of carnal man. This is echoed by Frank Ocean's chorus, which draws distinctions between the "mob" mentality of society at large, the self-important perception of the ruling classes, the paternalistic moralizing of the Gods that supposedly rule all, and the mind state of the true God, the illuminated man who knows "nothing is true" and that "all is permissible" and lives according to their true will in the church-free wilderness of absolute freedom. This idea of a humanistic godhood was a theme echoed throughout 'Watch the Throne', but the sexual overtones of "No Church in the Wild" were especially hard to ignore.



"I'm In It", the song from the 'Yeezus' LP that was discussed in the Noisey article, kind of picks up where Ye's verse on "No Church in the Wild" left off. He's basically going hog-wild here. And it might just be me, but I can't help associating such extreme sexuality with the liberation of sexual magick. Like "No Church in the Wild", which features a line juxtaposing the whiteness of cocaine against the darker hues of a woman's skin, "I'm In It" features a couplet that pairs a "black dress" with "white wine". This use of the black & white schema is a clear reference to the male/female duality inherent to sexual alchemy often symbolized by black and white stones of checker-board patterns, most notable in the motifs of the floor tiles found in Masonic lodges. And while the song itself is allegedly about the relationship travails of a young basketball star, not a sex magician, "Blood on the Leaves" also contains a few striking allusions to magickal sexuality. Early in the song Kanye reminisces about the first time his partner took a narcotic substance while "partying". He says she "came out of her body" and describes her as running naked through a hotel lobby screaming about her love for him. Since psychedelic experiences aided by narcotics are sometimes (though not always) helpful in sparking occult experiences this can't be looked at simply as a "bad trip". Rather, I hear a description of the personality disassociation that can sometimes occur during magickal workings or other occult rituals. Like in Voudoun ceremonies where a Loa might possess and "ride" a participant, the energy released during a sex magic ritual can result in a form of transcendental illumination where the devotion of one partner being poured out upon the other literally transforms them into something "other" than themselves. Something no longer "human". This phenomenon should sound familiar to readers of Robert Shae and Robert Anton Wilson's 'Illuminatus!' as a similar technique was a key element of the plot of that novel. And I know I'm probably reaching here with this interpretation of these particular lyrics. But like I said at the top of this entry, I hear and see the occult influence everywhere.



This is where I'd normally explain who Kanye West is and what he's been up to recently. But I'm sure you already know who he is, what he does, and what he's doing right about now. There's a good chance you either love him, or hate him. It's also very likely that George Bush still doesn't care about Black people.

Music is magick.

Posted by El Keter
At 07:35 PM on 07/18/16
Filed under Music



I love it when Electronic Dance Music transcends both electronics and its focus on moving butts and exists simply as beautiful music. "Dear Ennui", a Jazzy, piano-inflected Broken Beat/Garage tune from Hamilton, Ontario-based producer Benjamin Muñoz does both of those things well. And I absolutely love it!

The Summery jam is one of four jittery joints on his recently released 'Dear Ennui' EP which is available now via the HAVNrecords BandCamp page.

Benjamin Muñoz

Posted by El Keter
At 04:20 AM on 07/16/16
Filed under Music



I can't help noting that I've posted a lot more Jazz tunes than I have anything that might be considered "Metal" or otherwise stereotypically "dark" as part of this Monday Magick experiment. I don't know if that says more about my taste in music than the apparent occult interests of the musicians who make the music I feature here every week or what? But this week's Monday Magick entry, a haunting instrumental cut titled "Scarlet Woman" from Jazz-Fusion orchestra Weather Report's 1974 Columbia Records LP 'Mysterious Traveller', is yet another example of this weird phenomenon.

I was inspired to dig out my 'Mysterious Traveller' LP after watching 'Jaco', a documentary about former WP member (and "greatest bass player in the world") Jaco Pastorious. Jaco wouldn't join the band until 1975's 'Black Market', but I associate the band most with 'Mysterious Traveller' because it was the first WP album I ever bought, right around the same time the off-kilter piano notes of the title track were memorably sampled by Kool G Rap for his "4, 5, 6". At that time the song "Scarlet Woman" didn't hold any special meaning for me other than the title's loose association in my mind with the Biblical Book of Revelation and a vague sense of sensuality. These days that sense of sensuality imparted by the song is overarching, as the title brings to mind the importance of the so-called "Scarlet Woman" (or Babalon), in the occult writings of Aleister Crowley and most especially the life of his acolyte Jack Parsons. Also referred to as The Great Mother or The Mother of Abominations (shades of Kali, a figure of utmost importance in Tantra and therefore Alchemy), the Thelemic Scarlet Woman could represent the archetype of divine womanhood, or a literal partner in magickal sexual practices. For Parsons the Scarlet Woman was both the former and the latter, an elemental force (who he believed manifested in his life in the form of Marjorie Cameron) with whom he sought to conceive a magickal child (or Moonchild) that would signal the arrival of a new aeon. To me personally the term represents a manifestation of the terrible goddess of creation and destruction, the only partner worthy of union with, and worship by, the god who is also both creator and destroyer. Thus the alchemical maxim "solve et coagula" is completed, resulting in the collapse of reality as we know it via the release of sexual energy and true magickal will. I don't know if Alphonso Johnson, Wayne Shorter, and Josef Zawinul had anything like this in mind when they recorded "Scarlet Woman". But the song certainly has an air of mystery (Mystery...Babalon...The Great...) and primal sensuality that is perfectly suited for just such ideas.

Weather Report released 13 studio albums and a handful of live recordings during their lengthy career, but 'Mysterious Traveller' remains my favorite. They are regarded, collectively and individually, as some of the greatest musicians the Jazz genre has produced.

Music is magick.

Posted by El Keter
At 07:47 PM on 07/11/16
Filed under Music



There has been a bit of ugliness surrounding Canadian Electropunk duo Crystal Castles and the departure of vocalist Alice Glass. But their new single, "Concrete" featuring new vocalist Edith Francis, is brutally chilly, which is perfect for these dog days of Summer. The video is also pretty fucking rad.

"Concrete" is in stores now on the Fiction Records Ltd label.

Crystal Castles

Posted by El Keter
At 12:13 AM on 07/10/16
Filed under Music



Peaches drops the filthy Electroclash heat that has long been her trademark and has some Summetime fun giving Esther Williams a run for her money with the pool-party-themed video clip for "Vaginoplasty".

"Vaginoplasty" is from Peaches' sixth LP, 'Rub', which dropped late last year on her I U She Music label.

Peaches

Posted by El Keter
At 11:59 PM on 07/09/16
Filed under Music


"Though some of them are demons, all of them are Gods...Gods...Gods...Gods.."
Kevin Barnes is always good for at least one profound quotable per tune, and "It's Different for Girls", the new single from his band of Montreal, is no exception.

"It's Different for Girls" is from of Montreal's forthcoming fourteenth studio LP 'Innocence Reaches', out August 12th on Polyvinyl Records.

of Montreal
Posted by El Keter
At 07:36 PM on 07/05/16
Filed under Music

Fireworks Wizard

Due to the Independence Day "holiday" Monday Magick will be taking this week off.

We should be back with another entry of our magickal musical feature next week.

Posted by El Keter
At 07:02 PM on 07/04/16
Filed under Music



Sorry to say it, but there will be no revelation of deep esoteric wisdom in this week's entry in our Monday Magick series. The only thing this week's feature, "Pentagram" from Cake's 1994 debut album 'Motorcade of Generosity', has to offer is good old fashioned goofy fun!

A throwback to the "real" Country sound of the '50s and '60s, with melodramatic organ stabs accentuating the down-home sound, "Pentagram" is a hoedown of unholiness. The lyrics turn the standard Country tropes regarding love on their head, transforming the normal narrative about attraction and heartbreak into a story of devotion and sacrifice of a completely different kind. There are pentagrams, naked bodies shimmering under "sacrificial light", and feet kicking up "the ashes of dead babies" while "dancing and chanting" at this barn dance. And the narrator's obsession ends with his heart under the knife of a seeming Satanic sacrifice rather than in the cruel hands of his paramour. But then maybe the two are one and the same in this instance?

Cake released five albums since dropping 'Motorcade of Generosity', scoring hits with songs like "Never There" and "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" along the way. The Sacramento, California-bred outfit released their most recent LP, 'Showroom of Compassion', in 2011.

Posted by El Keter
At 07:31 PM on 06/27/16
Filed under Music



Summon a claymation Devil with the experimental Noise-Pop of Deerhoof and their new video "The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue".

"The Devil and His Anarchic Surrealist Retinue" is from their newest album 'The Magic', which just dropped on Polyvinyl Records.

Deerhoof

Posted by El Keter
At 01:03 AM on 06/25/16
Filed under Music



"Mirror" by Detroit-bred beatsmith Samiyam featuring Earl Sweatshit is not a hip-hop cover of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror".

It's from Samiyam's Stones Throw Records debut 'Animals Have Feelings'.

Samiyam

Posted by El Keter
At 12:57 AM on 06/25/16
Filed under Music



Watch LA-based bassist/vocalist Thundercat play lupine necromancer in the animated video for "Song for the Dead" from his 'The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam' EP.

'The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam' is out now via Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label.

Thundercat

Posted by El Keter
At 12:50 AM on 06/25/16
Filed under Music



I got put on to "John Dee" by Florida-based Crunk/occult rapper Ghostemane thanks to a random post on one of the occult groups I'm member of on Facebook.

I dug what I heard and was surprised I hadn't stumbled across this kid who was name-dropping noted sorcerers and occultists in his raps on my own.

But I was a little bummed homeboy didn't pronounce Crowley's name correctly.

The clearly Three 6 Mafia-inspired rapper's newest project 'Blackmage' can be found on his Soundcloud page.

Ghostemane

Posted by El Keter
At 09:22 AM on 06/22/16
Filed under Music



I hope you're ready for something swingin' and sexy. Because that's exactly what this week's Monday Magick feature track is all about. The tune in question is "I Want to be Evil", a Top 30 hit recorded in 1953 by actress and singer Eartha Kitt.

Kitt is probably best remembered for portraying Catwoman on the campy '60s Batman television series, and by a later generation for portraying an aging sexpot beauty magnate opposite Eddie Murphy in 1992's 'Boomerang'. But she had a long and storied career, as a cabaret star, Jazz vocalist, sex symbol, and activist. She was known for breaking barriers and advocating on behalf of African Americans, the poor, and the LGBT community, as well as taking a stance against the Vietnam War. But she is perhaps best known for breaking rules and challenging people's views of race, gender, and sexuality by presenting herself and her sensuous nature in a relatively uncompromising manner that was especially striking in it's day, when sexual repression and racial segregation were the norm. "I Want to be Evil" is pretty emblematic of that, and is something of an anthem for the type of transgressive spirit required of practitioners of the occult. The song begins with Kitt sweetly opining the "goody-goody" facade required of a woman in the 1950s over somber piano tinkles before she growls that she "wants to go to The Devil" and the band kicks in with buoyant Jazz accompaniment. As the song progresses she declares how she desires to succumb to several of the vices feared by the gentry of the time. Finally she sexily coos what sound like the words of a true magician, or just anyone willing to treat with forces diabolical, "whatever I've got, I am willing to lose". In this live version she hams this part up for the camera, gesticulating wildly, to spectacular effect. Her dead eyes and prayer hands, and clutching fingers with gritted teeth, are particularly charming.

Sadly Ms. Kitt passed away in 2008. But she remains one of the most memorable figures from the era just prior to the fight for civil-rights and the sexual revolution.

Music is magick!

Posted by El Keter
At 02:28 PM on 06/20/16
Filed under Music



Drugs and sex obsessed emcee Danny Brown is back on his Detroit shit with his thumping new Paul White-produced single "When it Rain".

"When it Rain" is from his as-yet-untitled fourth LP which is due out at some point in the near future.

Danny Brown

Posted by El Keter
At 01:55 AM on 06/19/16
Filed under Music



There is way too much going on with French actress and performer (and M83 collaborator) Mai Lan's "Technique" to even begin describing it.

It's out right now on GODMODE and can be streamed or downloaded via all the usual sources for digital music.

Mai Lan

Posted by El Keter
At 01:20 AM on 06/19/16
Filed under Music




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