Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm a longtime proponent of that particular kind of synergy generated by what John Lilly called, "The Dyadic Cyclone", a two unit group of opposite polarity that works and functions in a special way.

The Dyadic cyclone is the combination of two personal centres. In this book it is a male and female combination -- two rotating cyclones with their enclosed centres, one rotating to the right and the other rotating to the left. In The Dyadic Cyclone, Toni and John ask the question 'Is it possible to merge two centres, two cyclones, one male, one female, in such a way that there can be a rising, quiet centre shared by both?

A question arises: can a Dyadic Cyclone make great music? Recently I've worked on 3 different projects motivated by highly creative Dyads, and the answer, so far, is yes. Two of these remain "in progress" and will be spoken of later. Soon you will be hearing about a powerful new 7 piece group from Norway called Hoist.

The core of Hoist, and their primary songwriters, comprises lead vocalist Stian Leknes and pianist/lead vocalist Marita Røstad. Stian and Marita are a marvelous contrast of opposites in sound, style and background. His vocal sound is rough and gruff, reminiscent of Louis Armstrong, Howling Wolf, Dr. John, and Tom Waits. Stian didn't set out to sound like any of these characters, his voice naturally evolved into it for some unexplained reason when he made the switch from singing death metal songs to Hoist's repertoire which encompasses several genres. Her voice is very sweet and delicate. Marita teaches voice and piano at a prestigious Norwegian conservatory. They both have strong control over their instruments and both sing with tremendous passion. The dynamic of their contrasting vocals recalls the legend of Beauty and the Beast.


Hoist's rhythm section is solidly anchored by the brothers Elide, Daniel on drums and Allesandro on percussion. Magnus Mortensen holds down the low end on the acoustic double (upright) bass. Kurt Sprenger's guitar playing ranges from haunting atmospherics to energetic metal style leads. Kristoffer Lo on tuba and flugabone ( as its name suggests, an instrument combining a flugelhorn and a trombone) adds a free jazz sensibility along with low end reinforcement, and dark atmospherics. Lo at times ran his horns through a pedal board and a bass amp.

Their music is existentially electric, eclectic, at times ecstatic, beholden of great beauty hidden inside tales of darkness and tragedy. Folk with really heavy tones is how my assistant described it when asked. Piano driven, storytelling, space exploring, bluesy, jazzy, metallic, tragic and real. The songwriters of Hoist have clearly tapped into reservoirs of knowledge far beyond their own, reaching into what some people call the Collective Consciousness.

Track 2, "Rosemary " tells the tale of a misunderstood, disaffected Illuminatti:

No, it's not what you would think,
Nor is it obvious in anyone's dream,
No it's not the beauty and the peace,
So, she took her love, she took her smile,
does anyone know how her eyes could shine


The third track, "Darkfriend" bears strong similarity to a character known as the Dweller on the Threshold. The description given in the song sounds quite accurate. This character also makes an appearance in Robert Anton Wilson's Schrodinger's Cat trilogy.

"The Murders You Did Not Write," this one written by Lo, is a very heavy, slow New Orleans style dirge, a requiem for the victims of the brutal tragedy that occurred in Norway last year. They told me that everyone in Norway knows people who were killed there because it's such a small country. Songs like these show one way how artists can help heal this kind of psychic pain. I mixed it on Thanksgiving and brought flowers in to help bring the mood out.

After recording "Room 123" I asked them why they chose that number, they said no particular reason other than it fit. I told them about the 23 Conspiracy. The next morning Daniel and Allesandro mentioned a couple of small coincidences with 23 and this project. When they flew back to Norway after the recording, Gate 23 was their connecting gate. Last week I mixed an instrumental track called "Room 122" for the band Materialized.

This project was not without difficulty. To start, Hoist's intention was to record and mix the album at Prairie Sun in California. Unfortunately the State Department turned down their work visa request for some obscure, inconsequential reason. So they asked me to record them in Europe then mix it at Prairie Sun. I chose to record at my favorite studio in Europe, La Fabrique in St. Remy, France.

On the ride from the train station in Avignon to St. Remy I found my attention drawn to the trees and foilage that passed by in the crystalline clear light unique to the south of France. The light still had its intensity despite the overcast skies and stormy weather. The various kinds of trees looked intentionally arranged as if forming some kind of language and engaged in an other-wordly dialog beyond my comprehension. I remembered that Gaul ( ancient France) was home to Druids at one time. Also recalled Robert Graves' investigation of the Celtic Tree-Alphabet language, Ogham, in his classic work, The White Goddess.

A storm began shortly after my arrival at La Fabrique. At around midnight all the power went out and stayed off. We began our session the next morning without any electricity but with news of its expected return in a few hours. The power was restored on time as promised and stayed on for the duration.

While waiting, I gave the band my rap about how strong resistance inevitably accompanies very positive endeavors. Gurdjieff's Law of Three states that every phenomenal event has 3 aspects which he called holy affirming, holy denying, and holy reconciling. Positive, negative, and neutral. Ohms Law, the law that describes how electricity functions, appears a perfect example of Gurdjieff's "second fundamental cosmic law" ie the Law of Three.

Ohm's Law describes the relationship between current (affirming force), resistance ( denying), and voltage (reconciling) in an electrical circuit. Current is equal to Voltage divided by Resistance. If you have a high resistance value, you need to get much more voltage to maintain a strong current. Power describes the rate at which electricity gets used, transferred, or transformed. Power is equal to Current multiplied by Voltage. The amount of Power over time defines the Work done.

In optics, or radiometry, the term power sometimes refers to radiant flux, the average rate of energy transport by electromagnetic radiation, measured in watts. The term "power" is also, however, used to express the ability of a lens or other optical device to focus light. It is measured in dioptres (inverse metres), and equals the inverse of the focal length of the optical device.

- Optical Power

Watts, coincidently, is the name of the Zen Master (first name Alan) who turned Robert Anton Wilson on to Aleister Crowley.

Whether related to Gurdjieff's Law or not, I have repeatedly observed over the years that the more powerful and real the music I'm working on, the stronger the resistance to it. A great example of this occurred when Bill Laswell was producing Yothu Yindi in Australia. The music was powerfully shamanic and vital. All kinds of resistance surrounded the project the epitome probably being when Bill and I were threatened to be taken to jail if we didn't explain what we were doing in Australia. Apparently another producer, the guy who worked with all or most of Australia's pop groups at the time, had phoned Immigration Authorities and filed a complaint. It was true, the label who hired us, Mushroom Records, hadn't given us proper work visas. Bill just told these Feds that we were only rehearsing at the studio in preparation for recording them for real back in New York. They accepted our story with very few questions and appeared even more relieved than we were with our legally approved reality scenario presentation.

This "resistance" to music doesn't seem intentional or malevolent, or maybe I'm just not that paranoid. Like the storm at La Fabrique it appears more like a blind, mechanical occurrence that has to happen to make the circuit as powerful as it can get. Even when a human agency is behind the denying force the action appears mechanical and reflexive. I was amazed that Bill mentioned socializing with that same rival producer in Australia as if nothing had happened, clearly holding no animosity against him. But then why would any conscious individual, out of danger's way, get upset over a mechanical act of nature whether human or not?

O.T.O. reviver Grady McMurtry alluded to the strong resistance against gnostic teaching in the statement, "the gnosis always gets busted" as told in Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger. While making a valid point, the pessimistic ( in that moment) McMurtry seems clearly wrong with the always part. I have never had a music project overwhelmed with resistance so much that it failed to be brought to completion once it had started. Some proposed projects didn't get off the ground due to blind mechanical resistance. Bill Laswell was set to make an album in homage, and about the influence of film director Alejandro Jodorowsky on music. The funding was in place and we met with Jodorowsky in his Paris apartment. He was agreeable to the idea, and also very generous with his hospitality. Unfortunately, due to the childish and boorish behavior of some American politicians against French interests around the start of Iraq War II (blind, mechanical resistance), the funding dried up, the project cancelled. Any album that has been able to start working in the studio has never failed to be completed, in my experience. Readers of my interview in Tape Op a couple of years ago heard of my story of out of control electricity frying our Pro Tools rig and 2 expensive mics when recording Sibiri Samakein in Mali, West Africa. Despite the challenge, the recording got made ( the studio had a back-up DAW ie a digital audio workstation) came out on KSK and sounds amazing. I welcome resistance, bring it on!

Once Hoist and I were up and running things were going well - sounding incredible as the World will soon hear- until one rocking take picking up steam suddenly had the sound abruptly stop. Quite a shock, last thing you're expecting. Turns out the mute switch on the Studer A800 Multitrack was engaging without permission, as if anything blind or mechanical needs permission.The able technical staff at La Fabrique found a solution after wrestling with it for a bit. After that, our space was set, our circle drawn, and nothing major further interfered with what turned out to be a substantial and powerful musical document called Ami Noir.

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