Friday, June 21, 2013

Booker Long Duo

Another day, another groundbreaking album to mix.  Another day out of time and into space. Home, home on the range...

I'd just finished recording and mixing the hard rock band 100 Watt Mind in a non-stop sprint of work to get more done than time allowed.  Mildly frazzled, to say the least, after working every day for a month starting with the Massacre show in Japan.  Just the perfect space to mix a mostly untrodden genre of music - free jazz dub.

Working daily left me no time to research the musical leanings of the Booker Long Duo.  I only knew their instrumentation, - drums, and saxophone, with and without effects.  Their music turns out to incredibly interesting, free jazz with funk grooves, explorative improvisations into the geometries of rhythm and melody.  The coalescence and crystalization of a vehicular construct of sound that will take you places, show you things.  Education for the soul.

Ryan Scott Long makes the Booker long.  Long as in duration of event, stretching each moment toward eternity.  He is the drummer, the time-keeper, the duration planner and maintainer.  Long comes across as a very intense, musically charged, major drum personality of the future.  He soaks up aesthetic influence like a body-builder does protein.  His playing is very free, but also very precise with a great sense of tempo and steadiness of meter.

Michael Booker seemed a little more laid back when we met.  He definitely has his own voice on the sax. Haunting, spectral, melodically compelling and leading phrases grace the skyways and byways of their music transmission.  Transporting, opening gateways into other realms of perception.  I'm reminded of H.P. Lovecraft's Yog-Sothoth:

"The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be.  Not in the spaces we know, but between them.  They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.  Yog-Sothoth knows the gate.  Yog-Sothoth is the gate.  Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate."

Down into the depths and heights we go, like Alice for an adventure through the looking glass.  Some passages sound more like Dante's trip through Hell.

This music seems dangerous to the robot.

The album is called The Chance and can be pre-ordered and previewed HERE.

Track listing:

1. Darkness Into Light
2. Materialism
3. Rage
4. The Journey Begins
5. Sacrifice
6. Trip
7. Anti Depression
8. Migraine
9. Jameson
10. Paul Simon
11. The Chance

We had one day to mix the whole album though there were minimal tracks involved: drums, sax and sax effects.  No overdubs.

They instructed me to mix it dub style  which made it incredibly fun and creatively enjoyable.  Free jazz dub brought me back to the days of Painkiller and of mixing with Bill Laswell at Greenpoint.

So I set up a number of automated sends with different efx in each one.  An old school plate reverb, analog Echoplexish tape delays, overdriven vintage mic pres giving sweet distortion, photon torpedos, phase shifters and flangers were some of them.  The Solid State Logic (SSL) mixing desk also allowed me (of course) to feed efx into other efx for strange timbral combinations, and colored feedback decays.

The mixing went much faster than I prefer.  Two days would have been better.  Consequently, a lot of the efx and triggered explosions were done on the fly.  Very little to no thought occurred for planning and placing the efx.  The Chance truly merits the free jazz dub title both in the playing and in the dubbed out mixing.  About 17 - 23% of the dramatic efx came from unintended mistakes that sounded great!

The Chance was recorded by Mike Brown at the Annex Reharsal Studio in San Lorenzo, Ca.
I mixed it at Prairie Sun, Studio A, Cotati, Ca.  It was mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Budddha Mastering Lab in Oakland, Ca.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ode to Milton / Killing the Blues

 “This horror will grow mild, this darkness light.” 

 - John Milton, Paradise Lost

This is where some of my poetic travels took me today.  This fragment comes from the pen of William Wordsworth composed in 1802:

"Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:
England have need of thee:  she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness.  We are selfish men:
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowest duties on herself did lay."

And, related in my mind, comes this music from Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T. Bone Burnette called Killing the Blues.  I love the sound of this production:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chris Berry - King of Me.

 A new Press Release from KSK:


Chris Berry's Long-Awaited Album, King of Me

 Grammy Award winner, Chris Berry has long been known for his work with Zimbabwean super group, Pangea.  With over a dozen albums under his belt, this dynamic artist is releasing one of his most exciting albums yet. The long-awaited King of Me is now available from KSK Records.

To hear sample tracks or buy this album, check out our online store:

Chris Berry’s latest record is all about breaking down the barriers between contemporary Western beats and traditional Zimbabwean Shona Music. The album centers around the Mbira, which Berry has electrified, expanding the instrument’s tonal range and allowing Chris to single handedly fill the roles traditionally assigned to a lead guitar, bass and a keyboard.

King of Me also includes the creative efforts of Ivorian power house kit player, Abou Diarrassouba (The Mighty Diamonds, The Wailers) and features tracks that include the eclectic New York Based, Brazilian Girls. The album was produced by KSK Records and recorded at System Krush Studios in the Sierra Foothills. It was mixed and mastered by producer Aja Salvatore and renowned sound engineer Oz Fritz (Herby Hancock, Bob Marley, Tom Waits, Les Claypool) at Prairie Sun Studios.

* * * * * *  

I had fun mixing this.  What the Press Release doesn't mention is that Shona music has a lot of vocal harmonies. This is harmonically rich sounding music.  The different mbira parts sound at times like delicate cascading waterfalls of harmonies and glissandos.  Chris' lyrics reveal a searcher for Truth. 

I am always interested in the environment the mixing occurs in, what kind of atmosphere surrounds it?  In a surprising move that I wouldn't have suggested, Chris and his partner went camping in the Hawaiian jungle the first day we started mixing not too far from where the filming of the TV series Lost took place.  He also wished to be involved with the mix decisions.  So when we got a mix done we would FTP him a .wav file of it and he would check it through his IPhone.  He must of had a good pair of ear buds because he was able to tell us exactly what he wanted.

Anyone who likes melodic, African music will enjoy this album.  This music is also a weapon of the present.  A weapon for peace and goodwill.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Fifth Element

This should have been included in the last post but didn't occur to me then.  A graphic illustration of the power of the Rosy Cross can be seen in the film The Fifth Element.  Though set in the 23rd Century, it seems equally possible now.

To try to gauge public awareness, I once asked a bright-eyed video store employee if he thought the scene where the Fifth Element gets brought to life could ever really happen?  He told me that he thought the ending a deus ex machina, a literary term for a contrived, unexpected ending tacked on to bring a resolution to the plot.  It seems largely thought of as a cheater's way out or a lazy way out of the problem.  However, he seems wrong because the very first English line of the film, spoken by the German archeologist to the young helper holding a reflective surface, predicts or calls for the climatic opening of the Fifth Element that occurs near the end.  That first line also reveals a primary intention behind the Rosy Cross.

All the resistance that Korben Dallas and Leeloo face appears par for the course.

For supplemental reading see the chapter Bringing the Woman to Life from The Human Biological Machine as a Transformational Apparatus by E.J. Gold.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Rosy Cross & The Treasure House of Images

"It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience.  Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism." - H.P. Lovecraft, The Tomb.
" 'scuse me while I kiss the sky."
                                                                                   - Jimi Hendrix
Last month I went to my sister's wedding in upstate New York.  Her name is Rosemary.  I made a short speech that included my view of a magical symbol called the Rosy Cross.  Having just finished voyaging with an online group through Robert Anton Wilson's Masks of the Iluminati in which he makes liberal use of an experimental, theurgical, poetic text called The Treasure House of Images by J.F.C. Fuller, I realized that the two appeared cognate with each other.  Here is the speech with the more personal material edited out:

"Recently, after one of these terrible tragedies we hear of far too often these days, I was reflecting that we have all kinds of ways to train and develop the body – gyms we can go to, yoga centers, exercise classes and programs etc.  We have athletics and professional sports to bring the body to its highest possible development should we choose.
There are also all kinds of ways to develop the mind and intellect – Universities to study in, wonderful libraries and online resources that contain a whole wealth of human knowledge.
However, the one significant area of human functioning that lacks similar educational resources and training is the heart.  Artists, painters, sculptors, actors, musicians, poets, and writers sometimes informally develop the feeling center through their work but that can be limited. 
So, I would suggest that the institution of marriage, the formal recognition and initiation of two bodies, hearts and minds joining together as one can be like a University education and training program for the development of love.
The ancient Greeks postulated three types of love, Agape which is spiritual or divine love, Eros, erotic and romantic love, and Philos, that is, brotherly or sisterly love.  That’s why Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love.  These three kinds of love all find expression and growth in marriage.
Like a self-designed University program, marriage works best with an artful and creative mix of both work and play.   The word university seems suitable also because the two hearts joined together in marriage create their own living Universe of experience and discovery.  University also suggests universal, meaning that the love developed and generated by awakened couples connects with and influences the world at large in a positive and demonstrable way. 
One living symbol of this ecstatic work is called, coincidentally enough, the Rosy Cross.  It looks like a cruciform cross, but instead of a dead or dying human on it, we see a rose placed in the center.  The rose symbolizes the blooming, blossoming, flowering of two hearts opening up, while the cross symbolizes the extension and expansion of this love in all directions.
Finally, I would like to say that I found it a significant good omen that this wedding took place on the shores of a mighty river, the Hudson river.  It reminds me of the first line from one of the best works of literature ever written, Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.  It reads:

riverrun past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

Here, the river symbolizes the cyclic journey of life and connects it with the creation of a new human race through the archetypal marriage of Adam and Eve.

So we are here both to celebrate the joining of two individuals, Rosie and Dan, in the sacrament of marriage and to also celebrate the hope and light this marriage gives to the world at large and to a new way of being."
* * * * * *
All interpretations given represent my experimental research notes.  These works in progress don't reach dogmatic conclusions but rather intend to suggest practical transformative techniques unique to each individual to be discovered through creative application. 
The Rosy Cross seems to live as a common motif in much of Aleister Crowley's magick.  He says as much in the Book Of Thoth, his final masterpiece, though I can't produce the exact quote right now.
In 1904 Crowley claimed that he received non-human communication declaring the birth of a new Aeon, a new era to be presided over by the Egyptian deity Horus.  Crowley spent much of the rest of his life explaining what he thought this meant.  I think it's something best discovered by anyone for themselves.  No explanation rings the bell of truth quite so much and finding something out for yourself though suggestions and hints can prove useful.
At the moment, I'm viewing the Aeon of Horus as something like the introduction or updating of a new computer Operating System; you have different rules, different algorithms affecting system functionality; you can do new things, design better programs etc.
Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same seems an excellent presentation of the Horus operating system.
One way to get a feel for how Crowley saw Horus is to read the Invocation of Horus according to the Divine Vision of W., the Seer.  It's found on p. 413 in the first edition of Liber Aba, Magick.  W. stands for Ourda, the Arabic word for Rose who was Crowley's wife at the time.  It was through her that Crowley was led to this work.  It's a four part text with a preliminary Confession or Introduction, and describes many of the qualities, activities, and abilities of Horus. 
Line 6 of part 1, the closing line of that section reads:
O Thou who bearest the Rose and Cross of Life and Light!
Thee, Thee, I invoke!
Here we see that Horus has a close relationship with the Rosy Cross.
The 4th part repeats part 1 except that O Thou gets changed to I, and Thee, Thee, I invoke! becomes Abrahadabra!  Therefore the final line of this invocation before the denouement reads:

I who bearest the Rose and Cross of Life and Light! Abrahadabra!

To perhaps oversimplify, Abrahadabra is a magical formula (ie technique) representing the union of the microcosm with the macrocosm.

Chapter 29 in Crowley's The Book of Lies is titled The Southern Cross and appears strongly related to the Rosy Cross.  In the commentary to chapter 35, Venus Of Milo, a series of 10 chapters presents a course of study. Chapter 29 is the final one in this series. I found this loop of coursework obscure and challenging but ultimately rewarding.

* * * * * *
I said before that The Treasure House of Images seems cognate with the Rosy Cross in practice. This seems most evident to me in the final chapter known as The Hundred and Sixty-Nine Cries of Adoration and the Unity thereof.  It was from this chapter that Robert Anton Wilson quoted from in his occult detective novel Masks of the Illuminati.  Some examples are:

O Thou Dragon-prince of the air, that art drunk on the blood of the sunsets!
 I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee IAO!
O Thou fragrance of sweet flowers, that art wafted over blue fields of air!
 I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee IAO!
O Thou white hand of Creation, that holdest up the dying head of Death!
 I adore Thee Evoe! I adore Thee IAO!

O Thou purple tongue of Twilight, that dost lap up the lucent milk of Day!
  I adore Thee Evoe!I adore Thee IAO!

O Thou thunderbolt of Science, that flashest from the dark clouds of Magic!
  I adore Thee Evoe! I adore Thee IAO!

O Thou red rose of the Morning, that glowest in the bosom of the Night!
  I adore Thee Evoe!  I adore Thee IAO!

O Thou flaming globe of Glory, that art caught up in the arms of the sun!
   I adore Thee Evoe!  I adore Thee IAO
The chapter comprises 169 stanzas like these that all end with the phrase: I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee IAO.
Evoe , to my mind, relates to a character from Genesis. See the above quote from Finnegans Wake.

IAO refers to an ancient gnostic name for God.  I see it more like God as a creative energetic process rather than an external entity of some kind.

Qabalah can help explain:

I = the hand, the bodily instrument which creates and moves things. I also = eye, the instrument which brings things into reality through the act of observation.

A = The Fool ( tarot).  The Fool appears, ultimately, as a hermaphrodite.   Writing of this character in an appendix to The Book of Thoth Crowley compares him with Harpocrates, the Greek God of Silence:

"But His nature is by no means that negative and passive silence which the word commonly connotes; for He is the All-Wandering Spirit, the Pure and Perfect Knight-Errant, who answers all Enigimas, and opens the closed Portal of the King's Daughter.  But Silence in the vulgar sense is not the answer to the Riddle of the Sphinx; it is that which is created by that answer.  For Silence is the Equilibrium of Perfection; so that Harpocrates is the omniform, the universal Key to every mystery soever.  The Sphinx is the "Puzzel or Pucelle", the Feminine Idea to which there is only one complement, always different in form, and always identical in essence."

Speaking directly about The Fool, Crowley writes: "Not without deep wisdom is He called Twin of Horus: and this is the Aeon of Horus."

To a student I summed up The Fool as 'the combination of the innocence and deepest, truest nature of male and female.'

O = Pan, the goat god who uses magick in the material world. Pan also means all and everything.

 The Treasure House of Images was written by Crowley's student and collaborator J.F.C. Fuller.  Crowley writes of Fuller in his Confessions:

"But he reached his high-water mark with The Treasure House of Images. Formally, this is the most remarkable prose that has ever been written.  ... It is the most astonishing achievement in symbolism."

* * * * * *
Music can serve as a potent aid to the Rosy Cross.  Experimentation, trial and error, will determine what music works best for any given individual at any given time.  Pieces that have done well for me at different times include Day of Radiance by Brian Eno, Evening Star by Fripp &  Eno, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony particularly the Ode to Joy finale, Let It Be by the Beatles, Love You Live by the Stones, Led Zeppelin IV etc. etc. etc.  African drumming is also very potent in this regard.

The Rosy Cross practice can combine with remote viewing.  The expansion of morphology through creative visualization, sensing and feeling.

I proposed a scientific rationale for this in an earlier post HERE in the section Morphogenetic Fields and Morphic Resonance.  The whole post seems worth reading to view other technical approaches.

Nothing I've suggested requires faith or belief.  Everything can get verified by oneself through creative experimentation.  The three nails on the cross are Attention, Presence, and Will.

From The Lord of the Rings:

"'But now', and the eyes became very bright and 'present', seeming to grow smaller and almost sharp, 'what is going on?  What are you doing in it all?  I can see and hear ( and smell and feel) a great deal from this, from this a-lalla-lalla-rumba-kamanda-lind-or-burume.  Excuse me: that is a part of my name for it; I do not know what the word is in outside languages; you know, the thing we are on, where I stand and look out fine mornings, and think about the Sun, and the grass beyond the wood, and the horses, and the clouds, and the unfolding of the world. What is going on?  What is Gandalf up to? And these -- burarum,' he made a deep rumbling noise like a discord on a great organ -- ' these Orcs, and young Saruman down at Isengard?  I like news,  But not too quick now.'

 - Treebeard questioning Merry and Pippin.
"Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousandsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the" - conclusion of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

I'll close with some light entertainment from the Dead: 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Leary Biography

Thanks to the always brilliant RAW Illumination blog  I recently turned on and tuned in to this excellent new biography of Timothy Leary by R.U. Sirius.  It's a concise, insider's account of the good doctor's life and work told by someone who can give an unqualified "yes" to the question "are you experienced?" in regard to the subject matter.  I don't just mean psychedelic experimentation which inexperienced mainstream media has branded Leary with, but the whole gamut of consciousness raising techniques and attitudes that characterized his colorful career.  Sirius had both a professional and friendly relationship with Leary and has an ongoing connection with his estate.  Of the two other Leary biographer's I'm aware of, Robert Greenfield and John Higgs, Sirius seems to have known Leary the best.  However, he doesn't come across as a disciple or syncophant, but gives a mostly objective, sometimes critical rendering of his life and times.

The book is very well written, and meticulously researched.  Refreshingly unencumbered by psychological interpretation and personal judgement, Timothy Leary's Trip Thru Time covers all the salient points with just enough detail to provide context and accurately inform.  Like other notable people mentioned in the book, I regarded Leary as the most intelligent person I knew on this planet and therefore read everything I could find by and about him.  Thus, I was expecting TLTTT to be a rehash of events already known to me but was delightfully surprised to discover new pieces of the puzzle that made up the enigmatic Dr. Leary.  For instance, the much mythologized first meeting of Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters with the Leary crowd reveals a new detail that puts it in a much clearer light.  Other versions of this story seem to tell more about the author's or someone's bias than the actual meeting.  It's tidbits like this one and several others that make this a valuable and worthwhile read even to the hardcore Leary cognoscenti.

On the other hand, this is the biography to read if someone knows nothing about Timothy Leary apart from his popular, often misrepresented image given in mainstream media.  All of the bases are covered here.  However, to flesh out the picture, I highly recommend reading the other two biographies, as well.  I Have America Surrounded by John Higgs gives a sympathetic, sometimes empathic presentation of Leary's life without shying away from some of the darker aspects.  Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield, though also well written, often comes across as a butcherous hack job by someone who clearly appears jealous and envious of his subject and so feels the need to put him down as much as possible.  It reminds me of John Symond's biography of Aleister Crowley, The Great Beast.  Yet, Greenfield's bio has much useful material when sifting out his bias.  Toward the end of TLTTT Sirius accurately points out the flaws in Greenfield's book but also acknowledges his debt to it.

Other useful biographical material comes from the man himself.  Flashbacks, Leary's autobiography, reads as a colorful, sometimes allegorically coded adventurous romp through his life.  Another valuable source is Leary's book High Priest which chronicles the early years of his psychedelic research.  What Does WoMan Want? contains autobiographical accounts of his life on the lam in Europe after he escaped from prison.

A great feature of TLTTT is the listing of (as far as I can tell) all of the good Doctor's books in chronological order, and the context they were composed in.  The set and setting, as it were.  Sirius also provides some dosage quoting, sometimes extensively, relevant passages from Leary's writings to back up his points.  This material, coming straight from the horse's mouth, really sharpens the  focus for me infusing the book with esprit de Tim, his mastery of language, and sharp wit.

Other highlights new to me include a sober analysis of Leary's dealings with the Feds when trying to get out of jail the second time and a look at the question of exactly who got hurt by the information he gave to secure his release.  To me, it reads as a cat and mouse game ala Tom and Jerry.

The importance of Leary's pre-psychedelic researches into the human psyche and how that influenced his later work gets described then succinctly summed up by Sirius with this:

Those familiar with Leary’s later theories will note that he was already concerned with what he believed was the robotic unconscious nature of most human activities and was searching for ways to help people be more conscious.

The anecdote describing Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky's initial psylocibin session and what resulted from it is priceless.

Also new to me is the suggestion by Lama Govinda during Leary's visit to India to illustrate the correspondences between various mystical systems such as Qabalah, tarot, the I Ching, astrology etc. with levels of consciousness.  This would eventually result in his 8 circuit model of consciousness outlined in his books The Game of Life and Exo Psychology.  Robert Anton Wilson and Antero Alli are among those who have been deeply influenced by it, and who have popularized this model.

R.U. points out that Dr. Tim came up with some great slogans for Higher Consciousness that have endured beyond his death.  Think for Yourself, Question Authority devised during his latter period continues to inspire many a free-thinking individual.

It's also mentioned that the terms set and setting, from the phrase set, setting, and dosage was conceived  pre-psychedelia.  The point being that Leary's focus was on raising consciousness not on randomly taking a lot of drugs.  Most, if not all psychedelic gurus urge people to act responsibly in this area, and to combine their researches with more conventional techniques such as yoga and meditation.  They also seem to agree that it's far better to reach the enlightened state without taking drugs.  William S. Burroughs writes poignantly and wistfully of a character toward the end of Cities of the Red Light who heroically reached the pinnacle of consciousness without drugs.  John Lilly gives the same advice in one of his books.

I don't know if Leary would agree with the above advice, but it's evident in his later work as shown in TLTTT that he moved beyond drugs as a primary tool focusing on virtual reality technology and interactive computer software.  In 1990 when I asked Dr. Leary how I could get a job in his line of work, ie as a "cheerleader for change" (another of his slogans that stuck with me) he at first replied that he didn't know but that if I ever found out that I should let him know.  Then he asked me if I owned a computer.

TLTTT also describes Leary predicting the internet years before it happened saying how it would empower the individual.

Sirius confronts head on Leary's most controversial slogan  Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out which got misinterpreted in popular opinion as take a lot of drugs and slack off.  A quote from Flashbacks shows his genuine intent behind this statement.  It's mentioned in TLTTT that this slogan has been used and continues to be used in a variety of other contexts.

In one of the computer gaming Prosperity Path orbs designed by E.J Gold and his team, when activating a biofeedback device simulation you get a message: Your Super Beacon is turned on, tuned into Matrix and dropped out of phase factor. 

R.U. Sirius' personal history with Timothy Leary seems to date back to at least the mid 1980's which probably partially explains why the book is so well informed especially in the latter years.  To my mind Sirius rates as one of the most influential counter-cultural editor/publishers of the late 20th/early 21st Centuries.  Right up there with Paul Krassner.

I first discovered his work in the underground High Frontiers magazine, published infrequently it seemed, but overflowing with great nonacademic articles and interviews on the cutting edge of consciousness tools and techniques.  It was like finding a buried treasure.  One issue carried an excellent interview with Leary.  Robert Anton Wilson had a strong presence there.  R.U. Sirius appears to have been inspired by Wilson's Cosmic Trigger in the selection of his nom de plume.

 High Frontiers morphed into Reality Hackers magazine then transformed into Mondo 2000, an extremely influential publication circa late '80s/early 90's that helped define the cyberpunk culture of the time. Timothy Leary was installed as a contributing editor.

I clearly remember turning Bill Laswell on to Mondo 2000, bringing him a copy to the studio we worked at then, Platinum Island in New York.  It was the issue where Leary interviews Neuromancer author William Gibson. Gibson cited William S. Burroughs as a primary influence.  We had recently recorded Burroughs in that studio.  Laswell ended up contacting Gibson and has sent well-received packages of his music since then.

Another Laswell cohort, Roger Trilling turned up in Leary's circle around the same time.  I'm not  sure what his involvement was, I believe he was trying to help Leary with business dealings.  It did result in my getting a chance to see an unpublished book Leary was working on about cyberpunk consciousness.  I remember him giving an ancient Greek etymology of cyber meaning helmsman or steersman, ie someone who guides and directs their own destiny.  It also contained references to Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game.  I don't believe any of that material ever got published or used anywhere.

In 2007 R.U. Sirius taught an online course on Timothy Leary's philosophies and theories under the auspices of the Maybe Logic Academy.  I was quite fortunate to be part of that group.  The course materials included Greenfield's and Higgs' Leary bios.  I have fond memories of that class and particularly enjoyed the personal anecdotes Sirius shared about Leary.

There is something about working with a group in a given area, even in the nonphysical presence of the internet, that creates a synergetic, perhaps magical effect, where unsought for insights and moods related to the subject matter unexpectedly turn up.  I wonder if the course had any influence on this latest biography?

The description of Leary's death in the book is quite poignant.  The days leading up to it I found quite moving; hearing about his friends coming to pay their last respects. The obvious deep love they had for him jumps out of the pages.  His last interview, given two days before he died reveals that he was still on the job as one of the world's leading philosophers.

When finding out that he was dying of inoperable prostrate cancer, Leary opted to make this process public with the hope of shedding light on a normally taboo subject.  One result was his final book, Design for Dying, posthumously put together and completed by R.U. Sirius.  The blurb on the back reads:

Leary's flamboyant final statement reveals revolutionary ways to die and redefines, with his trademark creativity and joy how the living can think about death.

Leary closes the Introduction with:

The following pages ... will offer a model for designing your own dying.  As this is the single most important thing you will do your entire life, remember these basic guiding principles, which have guided my existence and work:

Have a sense of humor.
Conform to the Law of Levities.
Think for yourselves.
Question authority.
Celebrate chaotics.
Increasing illumination and understanding is a team sport.
Whether it's living or dying . . . always do it with friends!

Timothy Leary's Trip Thru Time ends with one of my favorite quotes from him given in an interview from Folsom prison.  The clip of this exists on You Tube and is worth searching for:

It's my ambition to really liberate the world.  Why not?  I mean why settle for anything less?  I have a sense of humor about it.  I know the odds are against me, but we only have a few years here, so let's try to leave this spaceship a better a place...

There are many other great things about TLTTT that I haven't time to mention. It's an important book about a real hero.  Read it.

TLTTT is available HERE.