Tag Archives: Jimmy Page

You Don’t Believe In Witchcraft, Do You?

The Necromancer

Taking a small cue from the current season of Halloween, I’d like to introduce my latest tune. I’m often on the side of not providing deep deconstruction of creative pieces but as I’m only going to skirt around the broader themes and add some rough background and some treats.

Before I start wittering on, this is the meat and bones of the post. A new song, a long song, and one I’m quite pleased with for its continuity and its formation.

In a quick answer to the opening question, no, I don’t. I’m sure there are folk who would intentionally mystify their activities to gain favour, power and money but I doubt they are truly dangerous or possessed of otherworldly powers. Of a more fatal type historically have been those ‘gifted’ with a skill to spot a Witch and claiming of a divine right to persecute and punish any that slip outside of their sphere of control. A nasty business from both sides and sadly perpetuated today across many communities. Fear in the unknown is a powerful persuader.

The mythology of witchery is pan-continental and with extensive history. Folk stories exist from ancient Greece, China and across Europe. Africa and its vast diaspora embrace it and continue to use its power throughout Africa and the West Indies. It’s endlessly occupying in the darker sides of life and bleeds out into fiction of all types. From schlock pulp, comic books, magical realism and beyond we love witchery in all its forms.

Since I was a 11-12 year old staying up with my Dad to watch Hammer movies I’ve always loved the horror genre. I’m less inclined to watch some of the contemporary gorefests that arise. The sense of mystery and the unseen is far more powerful. Along with the ‘Wicker Man’, ‘The Devil Rides Out’ the classic Dracula/Mummy/Werewolf movies I’ve had a long appreciation for ‘The Night of The Beast/Demon’. As it wasn’t readily available I bought an import VHS copy about 10 years ago. More recently I found an import DVD copy.
Now it’s even on You Tube?

Its a brilliant cross over UK/USA production made in 1957. Lots more about it here. It’s interesting to me in that it proposes the relationship between belief in outcomes and how belief can lead outcomes. The original story was written by M.R. James, an historian and academic who wrote several ghost stories. Apparently a new film version of this particular story has been proposed.

My song uses as its lead in an exchange between the two main characters of film – Dr. John Holden, the American rational psychologist and Dr. Julian Karswell, the professorial academic with a leaning towards the dark side. A far more well known use of text from this film is found in Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’….Its in the Trees! Its coming!…

For your further enlightenment, this is the film in question. Its a wonderful thing.

Sonically the tune progresses in a simple linear way – Introduction>Consolidation>Expansion>Proclamation>Disintegration. Most of this achieved through layers of rhythm and increasing distortion, I did want to include something nailed to reality and was inclined to find a real Witch.

 

Like the fictional Carswell in the movie, Aleister Crowley was an historian & academic. He was a great self promoter and was variously known as the ‘The Great Beast’ and the most evil man in England. In more recent times he has been further mythologised by references from Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ian Gillan and any other Satanic referencing Rock/Metal band.

Many years ago I borrowed ‘Magik in Theory & Practise’ from my local library with one or two strange looks. Its a lengthy and mainly unreadable book that serves in many ways as a diary of Crowley’s onianism and its outcomes. Crowley travelled widely and assisted many archeological expeditions in the mediterranean, south America and China and was undoubtably committed to research and comparative cultures. He was worldly and well informed as well as being somewhat deviant in other areas. Its proposed that during the early years of the Second World War he worked with MI5, along with Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl & Dennis Wheatly producing mystified disinformation for Nazi opponents – it was even suggested that he came up with the popularised ‘V’ for Victory sign.

In the song , during the middle section I’ve used a recording of Crowley intoning a ‘prayer’ about America. One of the main edifices of Witchery is presentation, intonation…. ‘giving it some scary’. Crowley achieves this better than most. There’s a touch of the William Burroughs about it.

This is the recording I used for the song.

The song use a number of processes and apps. Mainly produced using Garageband with added Rev loops. The main guitar was my Eros Les Paul copy (£45 in 1985, nice pots) recorded in Amplitude. I guess I had some God Speed You Black Emperor In mind, or maybe Swans. I’m consistently surprised these things turn out without being completely discordant.

I’m working on that though.

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The Diceman Winning

Very occasionally I am reminded that in the past I rather misguidedly considered myself to be a complete genius. This is always under review. At this particular moment, glowing with the pride of a gang of irradiated lions, it seems I may have been right!

Some may have noticed that the singularly greatest method of communication invented by opposable thumbed monkeys is Twitter. The concise brevity required to tweet your song across the world focuses the mind with a trajectory of laser guided pin point accuracy on concept & content.

It also allows those of us possessed by ennui to stalk the more noticed monkeys roaming the planet, and on occasion garner a response from them.

I have been fortunate over the last few months to forge strong (well tenuous and transient) friendships with many of the great & good. Top of my list is the generous & humane @MrMichaelWinner and more recently the cultural icon known as @OfficialDiceMan.

Now these glittering diamonds are probably not the first two names you would expect to see in the same sentence, but think about it…. imagine the possibilities!

Michael Winner, the acclaimed director of accepted classics such as Deathwish, Deathwish III, Appointment With Death, Hannibal Brooks, The Wicked Lady and The Big Sleep (commendable remake with Robert Mitchum). Team this up with Luke Rhinehart counter-culture dicing guru, lord of the random, grizzled supplicant to chance….and what have you got?

Well I think you have the option on the greatest story ever told. You would of course need to marry chance with intent. The script would run like time itself, capable of splitting off into multiple dimensions, infinite possibility. Anything is possible, but we won’t need to worry, we will be insured to the hilt and Captained by a master seaman, possessed of a well used
shaker and almost spherical dice.

I will be hitting my attic soon to dig through my archived library in the hopes of finding my copy of the Diceman. Many years ago whilst at Art School I spent a good part of my second year hiding in the dark second floor corridor that passed as a studio. Holed away with only occasional attention from the teaching staff I experimented with blind-fold portraiture and dice informed process and palette based printmaking.

So, once I have been back through the book I plan to offer my new found friends a treatment for a Diceman movie. I know it won’t be the first filmed option but I’m sure if we get the right people on board we can clean up and get a hand full of the little gold blokes.

I say we put @MrMichaelWinner in charge of the project overall but with modern technology we can achieve an interactive DVD / BluRay release . At given points during the narrative we install a ‘Dice Me’ button. The viewer throws the die and from a list of options the story lurches off in a new direction. We employ a range of Directors (Lynch, Cameron, Almodovar, Von Tier,
Howard, Leigh) who progress their own narrative, and when they reach another chosen point, we throw again and juggle the directors. @OfficialDiceMan gets creative control over the options for the narrative development and the directors are allocated a plot line by….. the throw of a dice. This way it’s all fair so no egos to get out of control.

The soundtrack would of course be started up by Jimmy Page (based on his previous good work with Mr Winner) but with the theory in place he could allocate new chapter tracks to other carefully selected musicians or contemporary beat combo’s.

In theory with enough break points in the story we could produce a moving picture experience that would never be the same no matter how many times it was viewed!

I’m still working on how best to operate the theatre events but it would probably involve making a dice driven selection of audience members in the queue who get to cast the cube at the appropriate juncture in the screening.

Why this has never been attempted before is beyond me. Someday all movies will be made this way. It cuts out the need for pre-release screenings because audience feedback is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who the actors are as the characters they play will be interchangeable (a little like the brilliant ‘I’m Not There’ by Todd Haynes, in fact sign him up as well….).

I think it was Jung that pointed out that there are only seven stories (or was it Dylan that pointed out that there are only seven songs?) …. whatever…..with the will and commitment we clean up in this town and keep vast amounts of directors, actors, production crew and sound track writers
in full employment for perpetuity. If we stick with the archetypes we can’t go wrong.

The world needs an arthouse franchaise and I am here to say that this is it!

So, you read it here first….who’s in?… tweet me….. @adrian4acn

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