“The works of Robert Anton Wilson have always been delivered to me as I am sure they have been delivered to others; I have come across them at opportune times, synchronistic moments. In an old bookstore on the top of a box I had gone through only days before, there lay Cosmic Trigger exactly when I needed Cosmic Trigger. And then I was awash in a sea of 23’s culminating in the number ’23’ being spray painted on the highway behind my home. Now as I write this there have been 23’s all over the place for two weeks straight and Ishtar Rising appeared buried deep in the wrong section of that same bookstore. But this is normal, I am sure the same has happened to you.”
Indeed it has, and in a nice crowning fashion just did. As I was browsing Twitter prior to starting this bit of writing what did I see?
As Zac concisely (synchronistically?) notes in his essay, “the negentropy manifests not as a sea but as islands shattering out of the depths; burning, smoking islands rising from cold cold seas, brilliant flashes illuminating the dark. These vast energies are required as a concentrated response to widespread entropic decay in order to balance out that decay.” A random post on Twitter becomes a sign of some curious mystery, is it meaningful? There begins the quest…
It’s very humbling to see the amount of creativity that exists, flowing through a world that so often seems cold as a coin. I was fortunate enough to speak with Michael Gira recently for an article I’m writing for Alarm Magazine about the Swans’ new album, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, and in the course of an hour experienced a better understanding of the creative process than I could have previously conceived.
A week or two was spent in preparation for the conversation; I delved deeply into Michael’s previous recordings, tried to gain a sense for where he was coming from with his music and where he was going with his recent efforts. In the process I became overwhelmed by a sense of possibilities and a realization of the potential power behind something as simple as a sustained chord.
Beyond artistry, I saw a man who has mastered the freedom of our hyper-connected age. Running his own label has given him the chance to raise the act of simple home recording into an art form. In order to fund this new Swans album he created a limited edition album, I Am Not Insane, in hand printed packaging. Here is a veteran of the music industry getting his hands dirty and showing the rest of us how it’s done.
I Am Not Insane was recorded in his office! Imagine if every business owner had the passion to pick up an instrument on their lunch break, or even rip out an acapella tune, and start pressing their own CDs. The drawing at the top of this entry was made with soy sauce and india ink, so even if lunch time didn’t bring out a song there’s still no excuse for not getting busy with some creative endeavors. No need for expensive tools, they give you enough with your take out order to get started.
Zac Odinn’s recent spoken word experiments and his collaboration with Jeremy (mthing), along with my brief conversation with Michael Gira, got me excited enough to start fiddling around with sound myself. While at the grocery store last night I picked up an $8 computer mic, and when I got home threw together a quick little 2 track instrumental improv I’ve titled ‘Any Word?’ in honor of my long time friend, and creative partner, Terry Hahin‘s recent move to the Phillipines.
Hope you enjoy it, and more I hope you go out and grab the opportunities that are all around us to create and bring some light to our confused world…
I am picking at bones
Like a harp
Picking my finger on each rib exposed
Of a fish skeleton
At the edge of a lake
The grey rocks
Rounded and scattered forever
The sharp tip of each rib
Hurts my finger
But I play on
The water flows
Waves so small on rocks
And mountains rise dark green
Behind me as I am bending down
Then the clouds
White and grey
Is the snow coming?
I am trying to read this form
This shape exposed on the shore
Backbone on the rocks
But I cannot decipher it
So I hold it in my hands
Ribs pointing at the sky
I hold it in my hands
Feet on the rocks
Water rushing behind
Mountains, trees, torn rocks, and grey stumps
Clouds and sun above
Then the bones are alight.
We’re constantly assaulted by information. Folks like Tristan Tzara, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, and other creatives, have worked with cut-ups as a way to break into the patterns of information that emerge when the conscious sequence of data is distorted.
The poet Zac Odinn has taken this approach with auditory information, creating texts from overheard phrases and words. Realize that this process is not some trick of technique, but a method of exploration that allows you to discover hidden currents within the stream of info-noise that surrounds us.