Recently our Monday Magick posts have been getting pretty heavy. So this week I wanted to lay off the deep occult exegesis and let the music speak for itself. Tonight's candidate is a first-time featuree, Free-Jazz architect and Afro-Futurist figurehead Sun Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra, and the song is "Angels and Demons at Play" from his 1965 LP of the same title.
The bassline is playful and meandering. The percussion sounds like a table tennis match between Lucifer and The Archangel Michael. The scampering rhythm is offbeat and very influenced by African tribal drumming. The flute on the other hand is extremely "eastern" sounding as if inspired by traditional Japanese music. And is that actually a koto I hear in there? I don't know, but it's all all at once playful, dark, and mysterious. And it's a helluva way to unwind on a Monday night!
'Angels and Demons at Play', which featured recordings made between 1956 and 1960, was just one of the well over 70 albums released by Sun Ra and his collaborators during his 30-plus year career. Sadly, he passed away in 1993 after contracting pneumonia during a visit to his birthplace, Birmingham, Alabama. His influence on music, Afrocentric thought, and futuristic weirdo culture is undeniable.
Music is magick!
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn-bred rapper Desiigner is so hype in the new video for his single "Panda" you'd think it was the most popular song in the country or some shit.
Really though, this video is dark and grimy as fuck, on some classic "shot in the projects" rap video shit, which is a bit of a surprise.
Hopefully the ruggedly classic style and undeniable energy of the video is enough to please some of the Rap purists out there.
I mean, I'm sure there are a lot of "true-school" Hip-Hop motherfuckers who are not feeling this shit at all...But to me, this shit is dope.
Yeah, dude's lyrics are repetitive and near unintelligible.
But if you actually pay attention and figure out what he's saying the unorthodox originality of his delivery, flow and style becomes self-evident.
It's also catchy as fuck.
"Panda" is available now via the GOOD Music/Def Jam label.
In this week's edition of Monday Magick we're not just going to be discussing the influence of the occult on popular music like we usually do. We're also gonna be taking the bass for a walk! And the song we're gonna be doing it with is "Tanith", a smooth, Jazz-inflected instrumental from experimental Industrial outfit Throbbing Gristle's 1979 LP '20 Jazz Funk Greats'.
Named after Tanith—or Tanit—the Carthaginian goddess associated with both the moon and serpents, the song is slick and serpentine. Genesis P-Orridge's bassline slithers languidly as dreamy vibraphone notes ring in the air and screeching noises descend from on high down to the very depths. It's all very groovy and sort of sexy, tinged with the slightly disorienting feeling of night, and the lunar madness that often accompanies it, as well as an unmistakable ophidian sensuality. This is not at all surprising considering the fact that the song's namesake Tanith—who is identified with Inanna/Astarte/Ishtar/Ashtoreth, the Middle Eastern goddess of love, fertility, sexuality, and war—is often depicted holding a serpent in each hand and crowned with the crescent moon. Furthermore the goddess is also associated with Asherah poles, the pagan idols mentioned—and condemned—in the Old Testament, which have been envisioned by some as caduceus-like columns—or a representation of the goddess herself—entwined by twin serpents. This symbolism undoubtedly calls back to several of the concepts I've touched on in this space in recent weeks relating to some of the deepest secrets of magick and the occult. But more importantly than any of that, "Tanith" is funky.
Widely credited with having created the Industrial genre in the '70s, Throbbing Gristle continuing releasing music through the late 00's. The group officially disbanded after group member Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson passed away at the age off 55 in 2010. Group "leader" Genesis P-Orridge enjoyed additional notoriety as a member of experimental bands Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Psychic TV, as well as a counter-cultural celebrity known for extreme body modifications, and an interest in the occult. Some permutation of the band was involved in music and film projects as recently as 2012.
Music is magick!
A$AP Mob are kushed out and leaned out so you know what they're talkin' 'bout on their new wavy-as-fuck single "Yamborghini High" which features Juicy J in some capacity.
Cop "Yamborghini High" now via your favorite digital retailer.
Metronomy show you how to party like a responsible adult in the video for their new single "Old Skool", which sounds like Giorgio Moroder made a record for the Paradise Garage and released it on Enjoy Records.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah..."Old Skool" is from the British synthpop group's forthcoming fifth LP 'Summer 08', which is due out July 1st on Because Music.
Not-at-all-normal wordsmith Aesop Rock goes full-on paranormal in the new video for his tune "Dorks".
"Dorks" is from 'The Impossible Kid', his seventh LP, which is out now on Rhymesayers Entertainment.
I didn't feel like doing a ton of work this week, so tonight's Monday Magick entry is going to be a quickie. It's a song I've been sitting on for a while from an act I featured in this space only a few short weeks ago. The band is none other than Trip-Hop gloomsters Portishead. And the song is "Wandering Star", a deep, dark album cut from their 1994 debut 'Dummy'.
Built around a repetitively thrumming bass-note, chopped breaks, turntable scratches, and melodramatic organs, "Wandering Star" is bluesy and churchy. But more than that, it's dark...like bottomless pit dark. No, "Wandering Star" isn't just sad, or depressing, it's Biblical...Kabbalistic...downright apocalyptic even! See, the chorus to the song is taken straight from the first chapter of the Biblical book of Jude, which states:
Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.This is a passage that is usually interpreted as a condemnation of "fake Christians" who had been coming to gatherings of the early Church for their own reasons rather than salvation. That these "feasts"—particularly during the early days of Chirstianity when the lines between orthodox, Gnostic, heretic, and pagan were not as well defined as they are now—may have been more like "orgies" should clue you in as to why outsiders would want to infiltrate the "church" for their own "pleasure", but I can't really say much about that here. Additionally there are also overtones to the language used that allude to the captured fallen angels—the Watchers, or Grigori—who Enoch allegedly visited and ministered to in their dark captivity. This is sort of expanded upon by the song itself which speaks of "the masks, that the monsters wear", "those who have seen the needles eye", who "tread, like a husk, from which all that was, now has fled", while yearning for "a time that" they "will suffer less". Could Beth Gibbons be singing about fallen angles? Demons? Primordial creatures? The beasts of the abyss left only with their "grief" in the darkness? What "husks" is she talking about? The Qlippoth maybe? What eye? The eye of providence? Who is she talking to? Enoch himself? All so mysterious for a seemingly simple little Trip-Hop tune, eh? Incidentally, the same passage from Jude also provided Aleister Crowley with the title for of one of his books of poetry, 1909's 'Clouds Without Water'.
Khum Princess is an all new spoken-word/poetry project from Art-Rap high-priestess Bunny Michael, formerly known as Bunny Rabbit.
The first track she's dropped under the new moniker is the stream of conscience psychedelic occult-erotica poem "Ur D is Made of Solid Gold".
It's delivered in a mutedly breathy but straightforward tone that drips with intimacy and vulnerability over the twinkling piano notes of Philip Glass' "Candyman Theme (It Was Always You, Helen)".
And it is absolutely gorgeous!
Radiohead is back with a new single and video—which puts an animated spin on 'The Wicker Man'—titled "Burn the Witch".
The tune combines buzzing electronics, jittery strings, and a slick but rumbling performance from the band with Thom Yorke's trademark howling.
Lyrically the song alludes to the ages old tradition of the witch hunt in both literal and metaphorical senses I'm sure.
It's out now via XL Recordings. Album soon?
It's not every week that I get to profile a song that is a touchstone for nearly all of my peculiar occult interests, but this week's Monday Magick will allow me to do just that! See, I am pretty obsessed with the goat-headed hermaphrodite demon-god of transformations known as Baphomet. I think he/she/it is pretty fucking important and have linked him/her/it to disparate figures and traditions—Hermeticism, Kabbalah, Alchemy, Hermes, Pan, Samael/Lilith, Shiva/Kali, Adam Kadmon, The Shekinah, Sophia, Adam/Eve, Cernunnos, The Green Man, John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ, for example—from across the occult spectrum in my own studies. I'm currently reading Tracy Twyman's 'Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled', a recent publication dedicated to just these subjects. Baphomet and related topics also played a significant role in the shenanigans that were going on in my personal life over the last few months. And of course he/she/it is a figure that has loomed large over my tutelage of the youthful apprentice I've recently taken under my wing. Baphomet, as representative of "the divine hermaphrodite" is just kind of a catch-all of esotericism I guess. As such, I'm happy to be able to delve, ever so shallowly, into the subject via tonight's featured song, "The Fountain of Salmacis" from British Progressive Rock grandaddies Genesis' 1971 LP 'Nursery Cryme'.
Coming from the early years of the career of a band that produced the likes of '80s Pop royalty like Pete Gabriel and Phil Collins, "Fountain of Salmacis" is strikingly experimental. Certain elements of the band's performance—such as Gabriel's vocal—are not dissimilar to the styles exhibited by Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and David Bowie during the same era. While the musical territory traversed by the musicians themselves—a highly baroque take on Jazz with a heavy Rock edge, liturgical flourishes and a bit of psychedelic haze—seems more in line with the likes of proggy contemporaries Gentle Giant and Soft Machine, or even the output of David Axelrod. It's a glorious pagan hymn that sends listeners on a magickal journey for the entire 8 minutes it lasts. And while a great deal of the song's magick is fueled by the soundscape provided by Collins, Gabriel, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford, it wouldn't be nearly as wondrous as it is if weren't a musical retelling of Roman poet Ovid's tale of Hermaphroditus and Salmacis. Born the son of Hermes and Aphrodite, Hermaphroditus was an extremely attractive boy who happened to arouse the desires of Salmacis, a water nymph, who after having her affections spurned thew herself upon the boy and reciting incantations demanded of "the gods" that they never be parted. The gods being the funny fuckers that they are, decided to merge Hermaphroditus and Salmacis into a single "creature of both sexes", or a hermaphrodite. Wanting some get-back, Hermaphroditus entreated his parents to curse Salmacis' spring so that anyone who might bathe in it should suffer a similar transformation. The actual fountain of Salmacis in present-day Turkey was said in ancient times to make men "effeminate" and cause "lewd behavior" in those who drank of its waters. Gender-swapping, such as that which is often noted amongst practitioners of shamanic traditions, is not an unfamiliar concept to students of the occult arts. Additionally deities such as Hermes himself, Dionysus, Priapus, and Shiva, in addition to Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, have been depicted as intersexed, hermaphroditic, or otherwise androgynous in sacred artwork. Similar concepts dealing with the unification of sexual powers are also at play in the imagery associated with Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, Tantra, and the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, not to mention various "left-hand" occult traditions. And of course Baphomet, who is representative of transformation, metamorphosis, the dissolving and coagulation of energies via both the creative and destructive forces, is perhaps the emblem of these ideas. I even see echoes of this very tale in Arthur Machen's landmark Gothic horror novella 'The Great God Pan'—which I mentioned in a Monday Magick post a few weeks back—and the Scottish ballad of Tamlin—which played an important role in recent goings on in my private life—both of which are focused on star-crossed lovers, horrifying metamorphoses and feature "fairies" or other "magick folk". That one song, which on the surface seems no more than a simple Pop music rehash of old mythology, can bring so much mystery to light is nothing short of magickal.
As previously mentioned Peter Gabriel would leave Genesis a few years after releasing 'Nursery Crymes' to embark on a successful solo career. Soon after Phil Collins would also branch out on his own and in doing so achieve a massive amount of success as a solo artist in the 1980's. He would however remain active as a member of Genesis who also enjoyed a few big hits in the '80s as well. Guitarist Mike Rutherford also achieved a great deal of success with his own side-project Mike + The Mechanics, who had a spate of hit singles during the same era. There have been murmurs about the possibility of the band getting back together for a reunion of some kind, but as yet those rumors have born no fruit.
Music is magick!
This week's Monday Magick entry is definitely on the fun side. Don't get me wrong, it deals with all the serious mind-melting occult ideas I trade in most weeks in this space. But like any occultist worth their weight in frankincense and myrrh it doesn't take itself too seriously. Ironically, I was inspired to keep it light this week when a close friend, noting some of my recent behavior, particularly in connection with passing on occult knowledge to my new student, called me "a cult leader". I thought about the accusation long and hard and ultimately decided, sure, I can be a little cult leader-y now and then. Having admitted that I can't think of a better candidate for this column than "I'm Not a Seeker I'm a Founder" from Bristol, UK-bred "broccult" Psychedelic trio The Transperonals' 2011 LP 'Kiss Goodbye to Free Will (The Perils of Cheerleading)'.
Blending pretty straightforward rock, guitars, "far Eastern" sitars, and tongue-in-cheek Rap vocals replete with New Age mantras, references to Eastern mysticism, pop-Zen guru Ram Dass (who had come up in a big way during my recent occult journeying), and various occult truisms over a driving backbeat, "I'm Not a Seeker I'm a Founder" is just fucking fun! It's goofy, groovy, and littered with puns, but the guru-speak spouted throughout is often quite prescient, addressing some of the big basic ideas that one must wrestle with in order to think magically and practice any form of "magick" one might put their hand to. During the song's searing six-plus minutes they question reality, stress the importance of sexual union, and even allude to the "particle/wave" conundrum which I've brought up a few times previously in this space. And the fact that it's not super-heavy or heavy-handed just makes it so goddamn perfect for a Monday night excursion into the realm of magickal music.
Other than their name and where they hail from I'm having a bit of trouble finding information on The Transpersonals online. It looks like they've got a couple records under their belt, and their Facebook page looks like it's updated pretty regularly, so there's that. But that's about all I got. Poke around on YouTube some time if you're interested in hearing more of their music. It will definitely pay off for the occult-minded among you.
Music is magick!
Blood-stained hallways, guns, gold-dust, gas masks, and scantily clad babes are just a few of the things you can feast your eyes on in the new video for "All About the Money" from anonymous rapper/producer Spark Master Tape.
"All About the Money" is my current favorite cut from Spark Master Tape's newest LP, 'Silhouette of a Sunkken City', which is available for free download now via DatPiff.
Spark Master Tape
There's blood on the dancefloor in the video for "Ain't Your Girl", a jacktackular House jam from LA-based producers Bixel Boys and intercontinental DJ Poupon!
"Ain't Your Girl" is out now via OWSLA.
Lots of wild shit has been going down in the magickal realm of Imageyenation lately. Understandably, every one of these events has inspired a recent Monday Magick post in some way, and this week is going to be no different. Most recently I've undertaken the education and initiation of a young friend in the practice of my own unique brand of Left Hand magick, which has gotten a whole bunch of weird energy flying around. I've also started a new day gig where I'm forced to listen to Classic Rock radio rather than choose my own background sounds as I've been able to do previously. These conspicuous goings on have, understandably, made me want to take a brief listen to the '70s Rock chestnut "Magic Man" from Heart's 1976 debut album 'Dreamboat Annie'.
Fronted by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Heart was one of the few female acts to make it big in the world of Hard Rock during the 1970's. As such they were in a unique position to write and perform songs that reflected and spoke to the perspective of a certain rough-n-tumble post-sexual-revolution womanhood. The propulsive, chugging "Magic Man", which tells the story of a rebellious young woman taken in by a svengali-like older man who leads her—her pious and maybe a little prudish mother thinks—astray, is just one of those songs. It's an ages old story—repeated in countless legends, fairy and folk-tales, The Pied Piper, and Arthur Machen's 'The Great God Pan' among them—of familial strife, and offspring taken and somehow "changed" at the hand of a freaky outsider. Is it merely sexual? Or is there something more nefarious (the phrase "let's get high awhile" is used) or dare I say diabolical afoot? Over and over again the strange and powerful interloper is referred to as a "magic man". And while he is also described as having "magic hands", which could be a nod to his perceived sexual prowess, he could easily be exposing the sweet young narrator to candles, goats blood, black masses or even the debauched rituals of sexual magick! Anything was possible in those years between the free-love and new-age-y Aquarian era of the '60s and the '80s which saw a return of McCarthy-style conservative politics and the rise of the anti-occult "Satanic panic". Sure, the song could just be about a horny young girl, but it could also be about a young girl who's horny for the guy with horns, if ya know what I mean?
'Dreamboat Annie' was Heart's debut album which produced another Classic Rock radio staple, "Crazy on You". Apparently the promotion for the album led to certain folks believing Ann and Nancy were involved in an incestuous lesbian relationship. One run-in with a media personality who brought up the non-existent affair inspired another of the band's biggest hits, "Barracuda", the first single from their sophomore LP. Heart was still a pretty big deal during the Satanic panic era, but their career cooled off after that. All indications are that they're still active, recording and touring.
Music is magick!
Spark Master Tape, the rapper/producer known for his bass-heavy chopped-n-screwed esthetic is finally back with the long-awaited follow-up to 2013's 'The #SWOUP Serengeti', a 22-track LP titled 'Silhouette of a Sunkken City'!
Fans of Spark Master Tape's signature low-end-laden beats, pitch-shifted vocals, almost cartoonishly thugged-out subject matter, and shockingly poignant lyricism will not be disappointed.
Hopefully he won't make us wait so long for another serving of the #SWOUP next time.
Download it now for free via Dat Piff below.
Spark Master Tape