Thursday, September 16, 2010

Waking the Skeleton Key

Just finished mixing an extended EP for my friends JemalWade Hines and Moksha Sommer who make up the core of HuDost. I've known Jemal since he was 19 and watched him develop over the years into quite the accomplished musician, producer and arranger. Their music is psychedelic and folky sounding with rich vocal harmonies, that also rocks out at times. Far seeing and reaching lyrics point toward transcendental subjects sometimes becoming passionately devotional like ecstatic Sufi poetry.

At the start of this project, Jemal wrote a blog commenting on my Weaving Threads posts. It can be found here.

I approached these mixes, on one level, as an experiment in the transmission of baraka - a kind of spiritual energy ( for lack of better terms) that may be related to what Reichians call "orgone" or to what Hermeticists call LVX.

In the language of Science, the state of matter called "plasma" most closely approximates baraka, to my estimation.

In physics and chemistry, plasma is a substance similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. The presence of a non-negligible number of charge carriers makes the plasma electrically conductive so that it responds strongly to electromagnetic fields. Plasma, therefore, has properties quite unlike those of solids, liquids, or gases and is considered to be a distinct state of matter. Like gas, plasma does not have a definite shape or a definite volume unless enclosed in a container; unlike gas, in the influence of a magnetic field, it may form structures such as filaments, beams and double layers. Some common plasmas are stars and neon signs.

So, one way of looking at it: the aim was to come up with mixes and music that had a star-like nature.

Plasma was first identified in a Crookes tube, and so described by Sir William Crookes in 1879 (he called it "radiant matter").

A spiritual energy also described as "radiant matter" doesn't appear a contradiction in the cosmology of G.I. Gurdjieff who maintained that all energies, paranormal, extrasensory or not, have a material basis.

An enjoyable part of mixing Waking the Skeleton Key for HuDost was that Wade encouraged me to add samples of my ambient recordings from around the world, when appropriate. One track ends with the ambience from a very surrealistic evening I had with Bill Laswell and Janet Rienstra in Giza, Egypt near the Great Pyramid of Khufu. More on that story another time.

On an alternate High Velocity mix that I did for a track called Invisible, a cover of a song by The Church that's to appear on a bonus companion cd, I added a prayer call from outside a mosque in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the intro and outro. At the end you can hear a child soliciting for money whereupon my guide turns to me and says, "he is a real religious . . . little . . . shit", only the word "shit" has been obscured by someone's breath so that it comes out sounding like "it."

Anyone interested to see how well this experiment worked, or just to hear great, inspiring music, can order Waking the Skeleton Key by clicking on it.

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