This week's Monday Magick entry, "In Ancient Days" by Black Widow, was inspired by a brief mention of the band alongside occult-rockers Coven in Peter Bebergal's new book on popular music and the esoteric 'Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll'. The tune comes from the British Prog-Rock outfit's 1970 CBS Records LP 'Sacrifice'.
I wasn't familiar with Black Widow until coming across their name in association with Coven as one of the few bands of the era who made blatant references to Satanism and the occult in their music. Unsurprisingly, especially considering their similar names, they garnered comparisons to Black Sabbath although their songwriting was far more devilish than anything Ozzy and company put out. "In Ancient Days" for example celebrates the summoning of infernal powers in a highly theatrical fashion using very straightforward language. Even more surprising than the darkness of the lyrics though is the funkiness of the track which leans heavily on a churning groove and plaintive horn line which conjures images of smokey jazz clubs more-so than smoke from the fires of hell. Who knew Satanists could get so soulful?
The band soldiered on long after 'Sacrifice', releasing several albums, seeing personnel changes, and even rethinking their ideology. They were still active as recently as 2011 when they released an album titled 'Sleeping With Demons'.
You might know the name of Denver, Colorado-bred musician Pictureplane from production credits for the likes of Sole, Noah23, and Antown, among others.
But his new single and video "Hyper Real" should make you remember his name for making gorgeous post-Rap Dance-Pop songs with trippy horror-influenced visual accompaniment informed by Goth and Nerd culture.
"Hyper Real", backed with "Total Confusion" featuring Antwon, is out now via the IHEARTCOMIX 1NFINITY label.
of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes believes in witches. And so do I.
The band's new video for "Bassem Sabry", the first single from their newly released 13th album 'Aureate Gloom', reminds me of Jodorowsky's 'Holy Mountain' for several reasons, though it doesn't directly reference the movie at all.
This week's Monday Magick entry happens to be a tune that made a pretty big impression on me during my teen years, "Justified and Ancient (Stand by the JAMs)" by British Anarchist/Situationist/Discordian club duo and notorious pranksters the KLF and legendary Country singer Tammy Wynett. When the remixed version of the tune, from their LP 'The White Room', dropped in '91 my mind was blown by the sheer weirdness of the collaboration, the song itself, and the bugged out video, and I wasn't yet aware of it or the group's connection to Illuminati mythology.
Anyone who's read Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson's masterwork of conspiratorial historic fiction 'ILLUMINATUS!' should readily recognize how much the KLF (who were also known as The JAMs or Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) were generally, and "Stand by the JAMs specifically, influenced by the novel and its contents. Group members Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond (who worked as a set designer on the 1976 stage-production of 'ILLUMINATUS!' mounted by Ken Campbell) came together as the KFL over their mutual appreciation for the novel, as well as a desire to "make a hip-hop record", experiment with then burgeoning sampling technology, and act as musical Hagbard Celines mindfucking the traditional music industry. The "Stand by the JAMs" version of "Justified and Ancient", which proved to be their final commercially issued work, saw them pour out their love for the wildly esoteric mythology Shea and Wilson had so lovingly gifted them (and all readers) via inspired visuals *including submarines, cloaked and horned characters, pyramids, and plenty of natives), and with the surprising assistance of one of the grande dames of Country Music, Tammy Wynette, who graciously sang the songs nonsensical lyrics. For what it's worth it's been noted that the "Stand by the JAMs" single was released almost 23 years (the number 23 being of some importance to the KLF, and the so-called 23 enigma being an integral part of 'ILLUMINATUS!') after Wynette hit it big with "Stand by Your Man".
After "Stand bu the JAMs" Cauty and Drummond officially retired the KFL name and even went so far as to burn a million of the ill-gotten pounds they'd made as musicians a few years later. Afterwards, Cauty went on to co-found The Orb, and Drummond has continued to work on artistic projects of his own. They have occasionally worked together as several semi-revived version of the KFL as well.
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