Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Music spaces

To continue the discussion of this comment:

To move into new space is the only way new realities can be created and the fastest way that new nervous systems can be activated.

we begin with a summary of what we've talked about so far:

a) new space can occur as either "inner" or "external" space when regarding the body/mind complex as a division between the two.

b) we enter new space frequently, every time we enter a room. It seems only a matter of becoming aware of this to create new realities and activate new nervous systems.

c) spaces may appear as a sequential series of "chambers" when moving through them comparable to a voyage through various chambers described in Books of the Dead. We are here to go.

d) we can use the crossing of a threshold into different chambers as a mnemonic for remembering ourselves or as a reminder to invoke presence. This helps enable awareness of new space.

Numerous methods exist of entering new space apparently interior to the body/mind complex: meditation techniques, yoga, magick ritual, floatation tanks etc. Good art, theater, music, and literature also create new aesthetic spaces or chambers to explore and learn.

It should be said that not every new space will create a new reality or activate a new nervous system useful to us. We don't indiscriminately wander about entering every new space available. We have the power of choice. Many of them aren't suitable or aligned with our life's aims.

I'm going to look at the space created by music. Physicists and other noble theorists such as Buckminster Fuller postulate multiple dimensions inherent in the physical and metaphysical Universe. I postulate multiple dimensions in spaces made by music. I don't know what these higher dimensions consist of, or subscribe to any particular theory. I refer to these Unknown dimensions as "Macrodimensions" a catch-all term for spaces outside the 4 dimensions we know and agree about. It's a term borrowed from the American Book of the Dead. What I'm saying is that music can act as a doorway into the Unknown.

To help get a clearer picture of how music creates a space we can apply the model I picked up from an article by Robert Fripp. This relates mostly to stereo recordings. The frequency range determines the height dimension, the panoramic (pan) position gives the width dimension, while depth corresponds to the dynamic range, how loud or soft any sound appears in the mix. Perhaps we could add rhythm as an indicator of the 4th dimension, time.

Noting these parameters when listening to music can give a sense of the architecture of a musical environment. I should say that it's completely non-essential to know or remember these attributions to get the benefit of voyaging through musical spaces. They're given for musicians, producers, and engineers who are involved with the creation of these environments.

In my experience, a great deal can be learned through exploring alternate spaces, musical or otherwise. Music, under the right conditions, alters mood. It may even exalt mood to such an extent as to allow the reception of gnosis. Gnosis refers to the direct perception of a Truth of one kind or another. The experience of gnosis goes way beyond learning something in a conventional way. It's the "aha" experience when all of a sudden you "get" it, whatever that "it" may be.

I see the difference between gnosis and ordinary knowledge as the difference between knowing about something and experiencing its reality. In my early 20s I received gnosis once while doing a very basic beginner's magick ritual from a book called Between Heaven and Hell by Laura Huxley which involved listening to the live version of Midnight Rambler from The Rolling Stones album Get Your Ya Yas Out. It was during an instrumental section, actually the transition from one section to another. Somehow the interplay between Mick Taylor and Keith Richard's guitar parts triggered a deep understanding of Taoism, and the union of opposites which I intellectually knew about but hadn't fully experienced the truth of until that moment. This was entirely unexpected. I had set no specific intention for the experiment apart from going outside the boundaries of my ordinary reality.

I'm sure many people can recall having a realization about something as a result of listening to music.

Receiving gnosis, though very useful and informative, doesn't indicate absolute certainty about anything, in my book. At the start of Robert Anton Wilson's legendary online course on Aleister Crowley back in 2005, I wrote that I had a gnostic approach to agnosticism. The following week that phrase turned up as one the headers for the week's assignments. I don't know if Wilson drew inspiration by my comment or if, more likely, I was repeating something I learned from him. It could also have been a coincidence, I don't know that he even saw my comment.

A brilliant essay on the relationship between gnosis and agnosis, or if you prefer, skepticism and truth is Crowley's The Soldier and the Hunchback. In that essay Crowley uses the word "samadhi" for what I'm calling gnosis and symbolizes it with !ie the soldier. Skepticism gets represented by ? This essay was one of the first things we studied in Wilson's Crowley 101 course.

New realities brought about through listening to music aren't always or often earth shatteringly profound and enlightening but can still impart useful, even life altering information.

Another example: At one point in my life I swore that I'd never become a recording enginner. that I would only mix live sound. This was a result of observing the band that employed me at the time, The Tickets, working with a hot shot producer who turned their basic rock-n-roll sound into a slick syrupy pop confection that sounded nothing like them. One night after a gig I put on Brian Eno and David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which had recently come out. It was the first time I'd heard it and it really transported me somewhere else. Afterwards I realized that some spaces could only get created through the technology of recording. They could not be created through live performance. Another example of this, which most people know, is the highly experimental sound collage Revolution #9 that John Lennon and Yoko Ono put together on The Beatles White Album.

It was as a result of entering the space created by My Life in the Bush of Ghosts that I made the decision to become a recording engineer. Moving into that space eventually created a whole new reality (and career) for me, and, I would say, activated a new nervous system.

Note: the process of activating new nervous systems is also known as Alchemy. Gurdjieff called it "coating higher bodies."

I realize this material maybe not for everyone. Thank God I'm not trying to start a religion, philosophical movement, or political campaign.

On that note, I'll finish with a quote from Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse:



  1. I love these ideas about SPACE, and I do think we are Here To Go.

    What I love most is the idea that each space is an environment, and when I'm listening to music, I am in a very real neurobiological sense "in" a discrete space.

    I'm always somehow oddly shocked when I think of a space I "know" that I'm not in "now," and how there's such a poverty of a type of knowledge about that space - often quite familiar - UNTIL I revisit that space. Then, the totality of the well-known space opens back up within me, and I say, "Why don't I come here more often? It alters my consciousness just being here!" (EX: I intellectually "know" I'd like to go for a walk in the forest, be around the redwoods, because I haven't done that in five days. Maybe tomorrow...Then I hit the forest and wonder why I don't go every day, or as often as I can...

    My Life In The Bush of Ghosts really floored me, too. Now THAT is an environment, it is space-travel!

    RAWK ON, Oz Fritz!

  2. This makes me think about Roscoe Mitchell's Space Ensemble.