Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Toasters, Bladerunner and Schizophrenia: PKD & Gnostic Agnosticism

By Mr. VI

Do you know who you are, and can you honestly say your awareness encompasses the whole of the biomechanical system which is you-as an organism? May you be aware of the functioning of each organ; the pulsing of the heart, the filtering of the liver and kidneys, or the electrical crackle in your own brain?

Do you sing the body electric?

They say it's bad to ask questions of your audience. It's disruptive; breaks the flow, tears at the weave and begins to fray the threads by which they draw themselves into your narrative. But what better way to examine, to dig underneath the skin?

We're all skin-jobs.

That's the derogatory term for Replicants in Ridley Scott's seminal film Bladerunner, just as 'Toaster' is used for Cylons in Battlestar:Galactica.

Actually, this whole post was inspired by Edward James Olmos live-tweeting Bladerunner the other Sunday:
@edwardjolmos: #movienighttweet it all came from this film... BSG skinjobs... replicants.... thus toasters...

Behind both epithets lies the notion of falsity, of facsimile. In both narratives, we are presented with the notion that there are those who look like us, but are not like us. In Bladerunner, we are left with Deckard's humanity as an ambiguous question, while in BS:G the hybridization and shift into flesh leaves us with the possibility that the markers of 'humanity' are perhaps not so clear-cut as we would like to believe.

Bladerunner uses a test known as the Voight-Kampff to test empathetic responses -and if those responses are off, 'retirement' is not far away. The film itself is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and it's no secret that I'm a total and utter Dick-head.

In fact, anyone with an interest in philosophy, storytelling, myth and SF should be one too. Just look at the following:

'I am a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist; my novel & story-writing ability is employed as a means to formulate my perception. The core of my writing is not art but truth. Thus what I tell is the truth, yet I can do nothing to alleviate it, either by deed or explanation.

Yet this seems somehow to help a certain kind of sensitive troubled person, for whom I speak. I think I understand the common ingredient in those whom my writing helps: they cannot or will not blunt their own intimations about the irrational, mysterious nature of reality, &, for them, my corpus is one long ratiocination regarding this inexplicable reality, an integration & presentation, analysis & response & personal history.' - Philip K. Dick

In 1974, Dick had a series of mystical experiences which influenced his writing from then on, exploring his own version of Gnosticism. For us, it's the Gnostic view combined with schizophrenia that's interesting.

In 'Schizophrenia and The Book of Changes' he writes:

What distinguishes schizophrenic existence from that which the rest of us like to imagine we enjoy is the element of time. The schizophrenic is having it all now, whether he wants it or not; the whole can of film has descended on him, whereas we watch it progress frame by frame.

This, combined with the Gnostic idea that the world is a creation of the demiurge, which presupposes itself as sole Creator, can may be seen in a rather strange light: that 'reality' as we know it is defined by mediated perception.

It's our perception which ascribes the notion of 'real' or 'false' to a thing, and our perception is a direct, inextricable product of our sensory organs. The flesh, the body, is the only reality we know, and indeed can know.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The End of the Word as We Know It by Wes Unruh



Remember the unburied dead (and the as yet unborn) this Memorial Day: The End of the Word As We Know It is now available to order from Amazon.

This is a cycle of poetry narrated by and studying Thorn, a storm giant turned little horn, eventually becoming a letter subsumed into language and forgotten. It is a response to the unburied dead whose need for vengeance re-ignites ancient spirit winds. And it is at the end a cry for meaning in a vortex of signifier without sign, spun out and half-mad in the twister’s line-of-sight.

Read the poem ‘Count The Other’ on Wes Unruh’s Unrelated Thoughts poetry blog: http://wesunruh.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/count-the-other/

Listen to the reading of ‘Count The Other’ set to music by Ikipr: http://soundcloud.com/unquietmind/count-the-other

Poetry
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Weaponized (2011)
Language: English I
SBN-10: 1907810129 ISBN-13: 978-1907810121
Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches
Available now in paperback or kindle.


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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Schizogenesis: a "fiction" by Georges Bataille (2/2)

 
Schizogenesis
Georges Bataille
Translation by Prof. Rowan 

 
 
V

Today, when I make love, my pleasure is no longer obscured by the feeling that it will end – and that I will die without having been satisfied. It came to me like a dream, during that happy excess  which burning pleasure itself annuls: I imagine a time where I would no longer possess the means to renew it. I lacked the feeling of the exuberant richness of the festival, the puerile malice and laughter which is equal to God! It is true, this power itself is declining: it is of the same nature as pain. Abandon myself to my moods? Rather, I give myself to an impossible and I come like a dying monster.

Rome, a taxi-cab, Mme E...Violent lightning of an electrical storm. Rains and moon in the white streets of comic-opera: pines, delights and indolence.

I accept life on one condition.
Through sublimity, eternity, lies, to have sung at the top of my lungs, carried by a theatre-chorus.
   
Bought a wolf for Mme E... Thirsty for insolence, it was I who put on the parties of Monsignor.

I become intoxicated by unusual ways.
That singing to the masses, except for the old and grey.
Ten thousand eyes in the night are the starry sky.

The more anxious the man, the happier the man.
Invoking death, he cries:
– Sate your comical knives, sharpen them on the teeth holding them –

The woman partly disrobed (indecent, I have said, profoundly): her nakedness to the degree of death, death to the degree of her nakedness.



VI

Village idiot!

The sole measure of my design exists before the casings and the counterfeit (that part which I'd adopted of all to reunite in the night, saying no more of that which occupied us). That it is necessary to go far... To be a star and disgrace the heights of the skies. Listening to nothing, cries or discourse in the solitude of the sky. I call Monsignor on the phone.

And we, we arrive within an hour.
Alpha, Beta (thus we distinguish the twin faces of a doubling), Mme E... and me.

Like me, Mme E...,  naked in the taxi, drunk without alcohol, and laughing as though deaf:
– But who spoke to you? Alpha? Beta?
The disturbance gave her features a convulsion, both slow and voluptuous.

The prelate descended the stone staircase, came to us, our hands extended.
Mme E..., impatient, said to him with a girlish laugh:
–  Bonjour Beta!

When Mme E... said to “Bonjour Beta” to him, what struck me (thus I feel as happy at the foot of the sunlit staircase as the panels where, like spicy little dishes, trussed and robed goddesses pay sly homage to pleasure) was the vulgarity of my friend. Bowing herself, she kissed the priest's ring, and this movement of humility, like the instant before her course laughter, called out her nature, which, left to become that of an animal, was beneath that of the village tailor. I recalled what one does not habitually see in Mme E..., aside from the girl, and, in this unreal richness, I became happier as this true poverty responded to my passions.

Without transition the moment became serious.
Suddenly I knew that at the top of the staircase, in an obscene disorder, I would see the other side.

  Of this palace of tragedy, which appears empty, because the threshold is no longer bloody, and out of which the dogs of Jezebel have fled, I understand that, in spite of their agreeable appearance, they remained disposed to more debauched vows.
  That which struck within a palace, - as though in a sudden theatrical blow, - is the hatred of men they shared. The top of the monumental staircase that Monsignor and Mme E... climbed in laughter did not attract me solely as the threshold to a dreadful kingdom. I could not prevent myself from seeing in contrast, - to Mme E...'s triumphal moment, her high waist and her too bold airs, a lady ennobled by the stone framework, - the image of a stone woman. Not that I then saw anything more than a royal entrance. I don't see my friend on the terrace, in blood, in mud, in the unworldly noise of the crowd. (The roof does not suggest a crushed body but brings about vertigo.)

Rarely, my friend's desire took me in a more bestial manner. A heat, icy in some sense, gives me satisfaction. I had the feeling of the crowd at a stoning, perspiring hatred.
  Which cannot wait for an instant.
  Mme E... rapidly crossed the threshold.
  Alpha opened the door after two knocks.
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Schizogenesis: a "fiction" by Georges Bataille (1/2)

"...the moment of continuity that is the processes of schizogenesis creates a bridge between the one and others.... I can thence grasp the unbreakable chain between all beings formed of these moments of continuity... not with an abstract concept but rather in moments of comic subversion.” - Unpublished Philosophical Epilogue to On Nietzsche
“Transcendence has fallen into comedy. It's still possible to transcend states of apathy, but only on condition of losing ourselves in immanence – and given that we fight for others too... “Reduced to comedy, transcendence produces men whose vulgarity sheds light on deep immanence... the sense of immanence with the masses relates to needs as necessary for me as physical lovemaking.” - On Nietzsche

Schizogenesis
Georges Bataille 
Translation by Prof. Rowan

Prefatory Note

Published in 1949, La Scissiparité, which I have here translated as Schizogenesis - in order to dissociate the purely biological meaning of the word as a synonym for mitosis - constitutes the last work of fiction published by Georges Bataille that has until now remained unavailable in English translation. This enigmatic text is closely intertwined with the fictions of The Impossible, in which Dianus and Father A. are portrayed as twin brothers - as doubles [the word dédoublement plays an important role here, meaning at once doubling, duplicity and duplication]. It, however, presents in literary form Bataille's philosophical alternative to the metaphysics of transcendence and the myth of the subject - of the self that endures time relatively "unchanged."

I
Possessed by rage and enraged.
My head? A nail, a nail newly born
I cry. No one hears me. The opacity, eternity, empty silence – mine, of course.
In screaming out I suppress myself: this conviction is worthy of praise.
I will eat, d..., write, laugh, fear death, and grow pale at the idea of my nails being turned back.

II

I would like to take hold of an unyielding idea of myself, to raise my furrowed brow into the air, denying the odor of death.
I would like to forget the imperceptible slippage of myself into corruption.
I'm nauseated by the sky whose blinding sweetness has the obscenity of a “girl” going to bed.
I imagine an attractive prostitute, elegant, naked and dispirited, with her piglet-like gaity.

A festive sun flooded the room. I shaved myself clean before the mirror bordered with an ornate gilded frame. Standing up, I turned back toward the orb of the sun, but the mirror reproduced its image before my face. Who am I? I ought to have had the strength in me to trace clearly the letters of my name and today's date upon the sun-lit window: there, I should have stopped thinking and laughed at it all the more. Am I but an effect of the mirror's duplicity [mensonge], the illuminated immensity, and of this too easy relation with myself?

I ought to have a sublime idea of myself: for that, I have the necessary strength. I equate love (bodies touching indecently) with the limitlessness of being – with nausea, the sun, and death. Obscenity reveals a moment which flows into a delirium of sense.

It is that part within my character that is least often accused (but, at last): the side gustave (or pig).



Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Meaning Of Color

By James Curcio

Johan Ess, a co-conspirator and collaborator on HoodooEngine (among other things), was sharing the album design mockups for another project he's working on, Bradley The Buyer. The front cover was looking good, I thought, but uses a monochromatic scheme and I suggested tossing in a splash of color.

Those who know my visual aesthetic know I'm all about the vivid colors.

I suggested red or possibly yellow. They had tried red, Johan explained, but thought it looked too "mafia."

Mafia? Is that a "thing"? This got me thinking again about something I wrote about in The Immanence of Myth. That is, the associations that we have with certain colors, sounds, smells, etc. As a professional designer, I encounter this most frequently in the visual realm.

Let me include a little from The Immanence of Myth, and then explore this more:
It is through choosing to accept predetermined meanings that we opt into cultures. Of course, much of this occurs as we're growing, before we realize we have any choice in the matter. As we grow into adulthood, the onus of choosing an unpopular path is the fear of being an outsider. The crisis period for this is in adolescence, when issues of identity and social hierarchy seem to reach a fever pitch.64 Entire sub-cultures spring out of this conflict — rock, punk, goth, etc. all resulted from the clash of “insider” and “outsider” culture, and our own warring interests as the mold of identity begins to set. Of course, when any of these sub-cultures reaches a certain size or popularity it begins to flip-flop, exhibiting more behaviors and concerns that go along with insider, or popular culture. The fashion overtakes the ideology.
The cogency of a culture arises, in part, through an agreement upon certain terms. If a group all choose to give X meaning to object Y, they are then entering the same ideological domain together, at least in regard to that object or practice. Let's say one night you wake up in your bed, and look under your bed. There, shuffling amongst the dust bunnies, is a lobster. Would you even consider the option of eating it? We had to be instructed of the possibility of this course of action by the surrounding culture. Of course, you may now think that sea cockroaches are disgusting, or they might be your favorite food.

College of Aetheric Sciences Octopus

Follow along with this visualization meditation to begin exploring your new octopus body.

College of Aetheric Sciences: Octopus Visualization 1 by agent139

From the College of Aetheric Sciences.

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Getting Fucked Senseless: Myth Against Myth

By Prof Rowan

Dianus was the pseudonym under which Georges Bataille published the first part of Guilty, which has recently been published in a new translation by Stuart Kendall on SUNY Press, under the title Friendship, in April 1940. In an abandoned draft for an introduction to the second edition, Bataille wrote that Friendship had a sacred – which is also to say ambivalent (Bataille was influenced by Durkheim) – character (p. 162). Indeed, the pseudonym itself suggests as much, as the name is “that of a great Latin god, Janus, or Dianus,” (p. 158) and refers to the “King of the Wood,” the priest of Diana at Nemi – a position attained by virtue of a crime; it was necessary to kill one's predecessor in order to take his place. Finally, the name can also be read as a contraction of Dieu and anus (pardon my French): “God's asshole” (as the name of the author of Story of the Eye, Lord Auch less directly means: “God to the shithouse”) – which suits the priestly nature of Dianus – or, “That asshole, God.”

An earlier version had included an additional note attributed to Dianus: “later, quickly, all that will remain of us will be an absent memory of our inability to imagine this moment which, henceforth, we will have surpassed: this unimaginable world into which I cannot enter other than by refusing to imagine it, laughing at myself, repudiating it... What does this (book) mean? Would it already be for human intelligence what this world that shatters it is? A betrayal of man by the world, or a betrayal of the world by man? ...Unhappy, am I not in each point similar to you, complicit with each blunder?” (164-5)

Sure beats Simone, doesn't she? Bataille was hitting that.

What produces the illusion, the myth of transcendence? It is the capacity to think in terms of beings, the possibility of naming, of objectifying reality, and in the Sartrean version, women (Bataille got laid just as much as or more than Sartre – and he could do better than Simone). He womanizing consonant with his insistence on transcendence, as subject, he could not avoid objectifying them. To do otherwise would have been in bad faith. It is also a matter of unification, and as Bataille wrote in the unpublished “philosophical epilogue” to his book On Nietzsche,  “...it is the possibility of being named that is decisive... I call being (a being) a movement that closes in upon itself, unifying limited elements.” The act of naming makes a given unity/singularity into a being, a being is inasmuch as it can be distinguished from every other being of its kind. The simplest components of the material world, elementary particles, such as atoms, molecules, etc, “cannot be considered as beings in that one cannot name this atom here, that molecule there. [But] a cell, an animal, a colony or animal society are beings.” (OC VI 443) In publishing Friendship under pseudonym Dianus, and then publishing Guilty and The Impossible pretending to be the editor of the posthumous notes of Dianus (who, it is discovered in the second part of The Impossible, committed suicide) and the notes of one Monsignor Alpha, Bataille distinguishes two existences immanent in himself, in every individuated self, every being. The ensuing philosophical tragicomedy culminates with an evocation of Orestes – a figure of poetry, of mythology, and also the “protagonist” of Sartre's play The Flies – who, in one version of the myth of the Tauric Diana, “whose priest at Nemi was the King of the Wood,” instituted the priesthood when he fled to the lake at Nemi seeking absolution for a murder.” Dianus thus serves as the persona of the counterpart of the existentialist hero of tragic freedom found in Sartre's retelling of the Orestes myth.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Climate Change? Or Unburied Dead? Going Beyond Science to Understand 'Twisters'

By Photo of the AuthorWes Unruh


It is impossible to look through the images of the Joplin tornado aftermath without a sense of withering smallness - the landscape is rage and tinder, a barren warzone and is photographed as such again and again.

I know the running debate is - essentially - that this is either a result of climate change or somehow associated with the increase in temperature from the gulf of Mexico as a result of the oil spill changing the water's refractivity or some such scientific shit. But the truth is it's ghosts. Angry, bitter, and unburied dead raging and raging across their lost lands.

Bear in mind that I'm making poetic, intuitive leaps in the paragraphs below, tied together with the barest threads of balderdash and shinola - and I do not want to make light of anyone's suffering - in fact I'm promoting Denver Band Relief and their communal effort to put together music shows to benefit a number of victims. This isn't about blaming the victims, it's about laying to rest the unburied dead.

This is not 'fact' in the strictest sense, but it has a kind of truth, something classified in other blogs as a synchromystical truth, which here I will relay only as a kind of modern myth - unmoored from djinn and religion and anchored in the very rooting sense of the fabric of this United States cultural dementia and hallucinations in honoring and sealing away the dead improperly: I do not know this but I feel it, and it overwhelmed me enough that I put that raw sense into poetry to capture, honor, and lay to rest the violent unburied ghosts who's dance is erasing whole cities from the landscape; a laser-tight eraser marking out the suburb, the rural, broken and betrayed landgrab, this ghost dance raises storm giants, thunderbirds. Capturing this in prose is hard enough, I warred with the tumultuous nature of these visions to hold it down in poetry as 'Outcry This Dark Story' which is a significant portion of the poetry contained in 'The End of the Word As We Know It' (coming out soon thanks to Weaponized.net)

If this is true, there must be some reason. I started with the impossible hypnagogic hallucination of a vortex intermingling, where narrative bleeds through that fourth wall familiar to magicians and actors which blows to smash the tradition and rote of assigned roles and can even falsify memory, a maddening space where nature re-asserts itself as thee primal mover, and driven by the void - a void of memory, broken treaties, and trails of tears.

Honesty On Teh Internets

Drugs are bad, mmmmkay?
I've occasionally been told by people that I'm "incredibly brave" for doing something so revolutionary as talking about my thoughts and feelings online, about not watering down or hiding when there's a point to be made. (Or even sometimes when there isn't but I just need a good opportunity to vent and then come back and look at it from another angle.)

I think it's sad that this should be seen as brave. There's a lot I could say about this mentality, that we should all just roll over, shut up, and be dead inside because down the line someone - an employer, say - might see it online.

Check out this atrocity (via Boing Boing):
Bfarn sez, "I don't know if you've been following the Los Angeles Unified School District's witch hunt, but they've been trying to lay off their entire staff of librarians. They've been conducting McCarthy-esque trials, forcing teacher-librarians to defend both their personal worth and their district-defined credentials. One brave teacher has been blogging about the experience (as retweeted by Neil Gaiman!) and was singled out by LAUSD lawyers for her efforts. They won, and lost their best teacher in the process."
I don't know what the solution to this particular problem is at this point short of within our immediate surroundings creating our own libraries, our own schools and bastions against the forces of corporate barbarism.

But to the larger issue here, I think it was said best on xkcd:



Fuck That Shit


MYTHOS MEDIA

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Alchemy Of Emotion

By James Curcio

I've been doing an incredible amount of introspective work over the past few months. I only seem to catch myself doing it out of the corner of my eye, but I think that in truth it has been my primary preoccupation lately.

Much of this has to do with working on being of better service to my lovers and friends, of learning more about how humans tick, and of course, how I do. I've been trying to heal myself to heal the world because it is the only way. And there is such a long way for all of us to go, and so many social forces at work against being able to even discuss this topic without the practiced cynics dismissing the line of thought with a chuckle and a shrug. I've been working against habit rather than along with it, more time than not, and as a result it probably looks like I'm not doing a whole lot in this regard at all to those around me. Allowing yourself to experience your emotions differently is not something anyone but those closest to us can see at first. But I'm starting to see the results, even if the opportunity for backsliding is constant.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." -- Wendell Phillips

I've been thinking about emotions as an expression of various kinds of energy, running through us. These currents and cross patterns may encounter a variety of dams, canals, rapids, or furious crackheads ranting about reptilians munching on human pineal glands.

Consider the sublimation and redistribution of this energy when you feel yourself feeling something. Look to be more aware of what you're feeling, seeing it and looking it in the eye before you react. It's like trying to force a blade of grass between two bricks but there's simply no other way.

Let's be clear what exactly we're talking about when we say "energy." I essentially mean libido or manna. It was observed by Freud that libido - and let's not just restrict that to the sex impulse - drove the formation of civilization. Jung refined this idea, observing that
E=mv2/2 contains the factor m (mass) and v (velocity), and these would appear to be incommensurable with the nature of the empirical psyche. If psychology nevertheless insists on employing its own concept of energy for the purpose of expressing the activity of the psyche, it is not of course being used a mathematical formula, but only as its analogy. But note: the analogy is itself an older intuitive idea from which the concept of physical energy originally developed. The latter rests on earlier application of an activity not mathematically defined, which can be traced back to the primitive or archaic idea of the “extraordinarily potent.” ... The use of the term libido in the newer medical psychology has surprising affinities with the primitive mana. This archetypal idea is therefore far from being only primitive, but differs from the physicist’s conception of energy by the fact that it is essentially qualitative rather than quantitative. (See also this essay I wrote on this subject within the context of sexuality, Hillbilly Tantra.) 
For example, when we're furious about something we can't do anything about, we may redistribute, transmute that "energy" into push ups or a fist to someone's face. We may trap that energy in our body, often leading to chronic ailments (such as some of those that I now struggle with), or it can get on top of us, and our passions rule us wholly. Nietzsche, too, recognized this, perhaps first in the arena of Greek theater: the conflict of the Apollonian and Dionysian sensibilities is at the root of all human creativity.

Image by Vitali
However, Jung's greatest breakthrough was recognizing that all the alchemical systems of the world relate to psychology rather, or more usefully, than physics. (This is why I have symbols of the elements and zodiac permanently painted on my flesh. They are not divinitory maps, they are psychological ones - they are not divinatory, they are revelatory.)

The challenge is making these symbols tool rather than abstract concepts. If we throw ourselves into a sport or run or channel that initial emotion in one way or another, it turns into fuel. The same is potentially true with anxiety, joy, fear, and so on. Obviously, it is a difficult task to habitually hardwire that transferrence, or re-wire it in the case where our habits are not leading us to healthy results. Anxiety can make us smoke, it can make us lose our hair, it can give us a heart attack. ...Or it can be the hand of vigilance. What distinguishes one from the other?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Citizen Y - Coming Very Soon !

Citizen Y blueprint of a ritual experience coming soon

CITIZEN Y: BLUEPRINT OF A RITUAL EXPERIENCE



Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

Join My Cult Free Ebook

For the newcomers, and in preparation for the 1st edition release of Party At The World's End, here's a free version of Join My Cult:
Join My Cult is a subversive, satirical novel written by James Curcio and released by New Falcon Publications (publisher of some notable counter-culture authors such Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, and Aleister Crowley). It is a work of collaborative fiction based on real events. (Wikipedia)
Join My Cult

An interview with John Wisniewski about this book.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Is Myth Dead?

IoM is Myth Dead

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

END OF THE WORLD

Or maybe some of us only wish it was.

Here are a few videos for your entertainment on this momentous non-occasion.



(You may recognize one of these fellows as Tito from Clark.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Amondawa - Timeless and Without Rapture

by David Metcalfe

A recent article on the BBC New
s website details the investigation of an Amazonian tribe called the Amondawa who don't make any linguistic distinctions between time and space. Lacking temporal concepts applied to space, as the article points out, makes statements like "study through the night" linguistically impossible. This is in some ways an expression of the awareness engendered by taboo as discussed in a previous essay on Modern Mythology, Where Nature Lies Naked Awaiting the Hunt. Writing on the day of Harold Camping's predictions of immanent Rapture the power of language to control the cultural narrative is rarely so pointed.
For the Amondawa the concept of a Rapture would be impossible to express. There can be no rectification of time and space, spirit and matter, eternity and finitude, when the two are not separated in the first place.

As Chris Sinha, a professor of psychology of
language at the University of Portsmouth, describes in the article, "What we don't find is a notion of time as being independent of the events which are occurring; they don't have a notion of time which is something the events occur in." A simple linguistic lack completely reconfigures the possibilities of the cultural narrative. Lacking a word for time the Amondawa cannot anticipate an End of Time, and by not relating temporal and spacial concepts through a division they cannot have an End of Days.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ninth Moon Black, Kalyug: an introduction


back cover of NMB's Kalyug
On a cynical day, which could be any given day, it seems that life, human life, is going from bad to worse. Do you feel it? Its in the air we breath, the water we drink, the soil we feed ourselves from, all polluted. It seems that western civilization has been on a downward trajectory, a decline which continues to accelerate along with the pace of technology. From the beginning of our time, of what we know of recorded time, it has been a struggle of forces to say the least. Harmony and Utopian ideals are commonly thought of as simplistic and utterly naive. Which brings me to an interesting and apropos point, since according to the Vedas, all of known human history has occurred in the period of time known as Kali Yuga.

The work of Ninth Moon Black (NMB) and their album: Kalyug, aims at addressing the above issues of a time of decline. Of course, according to some theorists, it must get worse before it gets better. This brief blog post introduces what I feel is an exciting project, which combines instrumental explorations with radical archeological understandings, each seated in the teachings of the Rig Vedas. 

Kalyug is Ninth Moon Black 1st EP, as well as a planned response to the work of Michael Cremo. And because of the depth of their combined work, we feel that much back ground is in order.

Here is what you can look forward to:
                                                           Part I: An Overview of Vedic Time
                                                           Part II: Michael Cremo and radical archeology
                                                           Part III: Ninth Black Moon and Kalyug

Of course, this is just an overview.
Part III, is planned to be broken up in to a four part journey that takes you along with each track of what may prove to be an important work, and the rise of a very important band.                                                       


Monday, May 16, 2011

My Personal Myth - Artist and Outsider

By James Curcio
In the Immanence of Myth, I wrote a great deal about the impact that the symbolic characters of Dionysus and Lilith have had on my life. I felt that this would be the most accessible way to bridge the gap between old and new concepts of what mythology is, or can be. We also spoke about our personal mythologies, as some of us have been on this site as well, over the past few months.

However, I didn't provide many underlying myths which have no specific literary or historic origin.

So I'm going to share a bit of my past history with you, awkward as it may be to be so open with an unseen and unknown audience. Or maybe it's easier this way. After all, the confessional has an intentional element of anonymity to it.

MS PAINT FTW

This kind of perspective tends to have more meaning to the author than it could for someone else. That is the reason I chose to keep it out of the book. But I will share these things with you, the nameless, faceless public, if for no other reason than it helps to demonstrate what I mean when I talk about living mythology, or how deeply it permeates our lives, our motivations, our histories, even our bodies. In other words, I'd much rather this make you wonder about your own story or myths, rather than fixate on my own. I only know my own, when it comes down to it, but I really don't need you to stare at my reflection for me to believe I exist, anymore.

So, here's a salient personal narrative: the origin of the myth of myself as an artist.

I was born the only child to a single mother. My father was excised, you might say, at the age of four. Despite his statements to the contrary - occasional phone calls from out of nowhere, promises that never manifested into anything tangible - he never reappeared in my life, and died in 2007 of leukemia. His life and death left little impression on me except  the sadness of losing something you never had. I'm not sure if there's a word for that in English, but it's an unusual feeling.

I have always had a proclivity for creativity. You might call it a fixation. I've always had a sophist streak, and I've always resolutely "done my own thing." My mother has plenty of photographs of me as a very young child drawing, typing at a typewriter, practicing my moody artist stare, slumping under a gravestone with a devil's mask on. (Alright. She set that last on up, but I believe the others were spontaneous.)

I can look back and say I was always an artist. But certainly I didn't think of it that way. How can someone be driven to do something so socially detrimental and personally reckless as proclaim they're an artist or writer and, heaven help them, try to make a living doing something like that? It's ludicrous.

I'd like to find some of the roots of that belief, and like most roots, it meanders. Many of them are long. Come along, if you like.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Into the Hyper-real 3 - Modern Soul


(Part 1 here, Part 2 here)

“Gypsies, tramps and thieves,
You hear it from the people of the town, they call us
Gypsies, tramps and thieves…
But every night, the men would come around,
And lay their money down.”
-Sonny and Cher.

"I'm a little bit wooah, a little bit waayy, a bit dodgy, a bit tasty…. I'm a geezer! I will nick anything!"
-Chris the Crafty Cockney, The Fast Show

The question I left with last time was;
If, as the work of Adam Possamai suggests, modern culture (and pop-culture especially) is essentially a product of the machinations of late-capitalism, is just product, merely cargo… what can we, supposedly nothing more than mere consumers, do to find a relevant personal spirituality?

The answer to that lays somewhere in the nature of power, ownership and control.

It’s clear that the modern industrial West is a place where the definition of ownership and property is getting… blurry. Corporations benefit on the one hand from immense political influence which they use to redefine the concept of property (through swapping actual ownership of sold goods to a model where the consumer merely rents them from ‘the cloud’, to suing anyone who infringes ‘their’ copyright while plundering other cultures and counter-cultures for their next Big Idea) and, on the other, from the trillions given to them to bail out economies fractured by the biggest Ponzi scheme in human history… from which they also profited to the sum of trillions of dollars. Numbers and power like that have a crushing weight to them, a force of gravity like supermassive black holes in culture.

So perhaps the best way to deal with them is to turn that gravity against them, to slingshot past their aims and, gaining speed from their mass, plunge ever deeper into imaginal space.

And, as we pass, steal anything that isn’t nailed down.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crossroads of absence


By Mr.VI

Let me tell you a story.

Let me tell you a story because well, we're here together. I'm writing this and you're reading it, and even though these two events are distinct and separate, we come together, and occupy the same idea-space for its duration.

Perhaps it'll help if you imagine the things that make you think of storytelling. I don't know what that is for you, what ideas and things let you relax and pay attention and enable you to put aside distractions and focus on a tale.

And I don't know what it is about the memory of a twilight sky, the crackle of fire and the scent of woodsmoke. I don't know what it is about the dance of flame; the way it flickers and dances like a live thing as the fuel hisses and pops.

I don't know how the taste of honeyed mead comes so easily, conjured out of the past with sweet thickness and potent intoxication of boozy warmth. All these things, I don't know how they arrive like heralds, like doorways, signals from a distant space that's somehow wrapped in skin.

And you have them too, those things that arise and bring a smile and the sense anticipation, though I don't know who you are or what they may be. But you do, and because you know, it's there too, drawn in the form it always had.

You don't know me, except in these moments, through these words and the others I have written. In a way we're two strangers sharing a moment, each never seeing the other fully. It's like graffiti on a toilet wall, all we have in common is the space and the words; the time and the unknowing.

And this story is about Time and Unknowing, which means we're already there, beyond the edge of the woods. Our old paths and guardians into story have met us here and led us on as always, because they were always here, waiting.

That's their function, these psychopomps, these mind-conductors, these soul-guides. It's always the same; each excursion is both familiar and strange, like deja-vu or a dream. It might be the first or last time we leave the known world. Equally it could be one of countless journeys, but somehow we've always been here before.

Venturing out, into the unknown.

All we have to share is ourselves, and here, and now?

That's everything we have been.

It's the crossroads, the place where it all intersects, and you know how the story goes; the traveller meets a stranger at the crossroads, and contact is made.

“Would you like to sell your soul?”

Now, I don't know what that soul is, and indeed, in such tales we often don't. Not until we do, if you follow me?

But of course you follow me, for you've come this far, and so the question hangs there. The stranger stands inscrutable, more a silhouette than anything; a sketched out shape almost indistinguishable, camouflaged in shadows.

Just what is that intangible soul, and more to the point, what is it worth? When it's gone, what will the absence feel like?

And to focus on the absence makes it real, brings it forth. There at the crossroads, there's a decision to be made. It can be easy, like peeling off an old set of clothes we no longer want, or it can be difficult, like the step into the precipice, the leap into the void.

Whichever it is, we still have to consider a thing and its absence, and each of these has a weight. So they are weighed and measured up; that heaviness is felt by hand and mechanism and then inside, at the traveller's core.

Inside at the core, because whichever path is taken, a change is made. The traveller never returns home the same as before. It is as if the eye, the very gaze has been altered, and nothing is perceived as-was.

As if, no matter the decision, the consideration of the soul had opened a new door, propelled the traveller into an unfamiliar country; presented with the notion of the intangible essence, such things were carried back with them, into the lighted clearing of the world.

Imagine it thus; that such things were spoken of at home, but never known. That everyone talks of an immortal soul, that intangibles are conceptualised in language, but hardly ever weighed or explored. To do so would be ridiculous, because all know what a soul is, whether they believe in it or not.

The traveller then, is alone in their experience, in their consideration.

They become a stranger to what was once familiar; alien in some way. They carry stories of their travels – exotic places, strange thoughts. Fey, touched, changed. Such is the affect of the stranger at the crossroads, be they devil, god, wizard or fair folk.

The breath in the lungs of a human often flows without interruption – the mechanism is elusive intangible. To think of it, to focus upon that sensation in the chest and abdomen; feeling the inhalation and expiration, the rhythm that occurs outside of conscious control – that focus brings it in from the unexamined dark.

Suddenly, the breath occupies space in your awareness. Now mindful of that sensation, how might it feel to consider its cessation?

The absence of breath.

Might you dare to focus on that, to examine the absence of a previously unknown thing?

Because the story of the traveller and the crossroads is exactly that, and we are strangers to each other. Even our intimates are undiscovered lands, so what of our own psychogeography?

Practice the wanderlust. You'll need it.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mutual Best Interest, Cooperation and Survival

By James Curcio
I posted the following to my facebook recently, and it got a fair amount of thumbs-up around the fishbowl:
The myth of "everyone for themselves" will get you killed in the years that are coming. Learn to work together and be committed to your team. Corporations, major political groups give us no umbrage, so fuck them. Find trustworthy people. Be trustworthy. That's all I've got.
I'd like to explain what I meant a little more, but first I need to take a step back.

As we have explored time and again on this site, as well in the forthcoming book The Immanence of Myth: we live by our myths. They compound one upon the other, build up, not so much in direct heirarchies as in striated patterns. They are chaotic, intertwined and tangled, and can be hard to look at one at a time.

Still, we try.

There is one that has been especially present to my mind of late. I talk about it tangentially in my introductory post on gaming, but there are many other angles to look at.

This is the idea of "everyone for themselves," as it contrasts myths of cooperation. The myth is connected to pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, of the objectivist self-determination of Rand, of separation of bodies and minds, and to hell with government oversight and regulations, free markets will sort themselves out.

You see how these tangle. You can find yourself feeling very strongly that the government should keep out of our lives, and at the same time believe in cooperation as central to survival, over and above competition. We contradict ourselves. We contradict one another, and we mean different things when we use the same words. This part of the discussion could take me far afield of what I actually want to explore, I hope you can see my point without devolving into the part-line arguments between democrat, socialist, republican and libertarian.

Instead, read this wiki article if you'd rather see where I'm going with this, but remember what I said: myths are not just theoretical. Because these myths are not abstract theories, they determine how we treat one another, how we behave, how we live. What we value.

Of particular interest to our inquiry is this:
When Richard Dawkins set out to "examine the biology of selfishness and altruism" in The Selfish Gene, he reinterpreted the basis of evolution, and therefore of altruism. He was "not advocating a morality based on evolution",[65] and even felt that "we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature."[66]But John Maynard Smith[67] was showing that behavior could be subject to evolution, Robert Trivers had shown that reciprocal altruism is strongly favored by natural selection to lead to complex systems of altruistic behavior (supporting Kropotkin's argument that cooperation is as much a factor of evolution as competition[68]), and Axelrod's dramatic results showed that in a very simple game the conditions for survival (be "nice", be provocable, promote the mutual interest) seem to be the essence of morality. While this does not yet amount to a science of morality, the game theoretic approach has clarified the conditions required for the evolution and persistence of cooperation, and shown how Darwinian natural selection can lead to complex behavior, including notions of morality, fairness, and justice. It is shown that the nature of self-interest is more profound than previously considered, and that behavior that seems altruistic may, in a broader view, be individually beneficial. Extensions of this work to morality[69] and the social contract[70] may yet resolve the old issue of individual interests versus group interests.
Cooperation may be best motivated when it is personally motivated and of personal benefit, but this does not mean that putting the group above ones self in certain cases is not of greater long-term personal benefit.

When we live by the myth of "everyone for themselves," in a society that supports this belief, we feel self-entitled when we do well, and we feel guilty when we do not. It was, in this mindset, strictly our fault if we didn't succeed by our rules, and maybe if we just thought more positively it would all get better. The whole world rests on our shoulders.



As I look around me and see friends and acquaintances lose jobs, go unemployed for long periods, lose their homes, drop off the grid altogether, I also see groups of us attempting to band together, dropping the "Jersey Shore bullshit," and helping each other. Whatever it takes to help each other survive and succeed. I too have been struggling - not to keep productive, that has never been hard for me - but to find a way of monetizing all the values I produce which seem to almost be in direct contradiction to the "values" espoused by hard-line capitalism. And I have found that the only way I am going to survive is by finding people that I can count on, and through people maximizing one another's strengths and mutually minimizing our weaknesses.

It's easy to make this sound like theory. I've been talking about this for years now, with friends and collaborators, and have seen I guess you could call them "test groups" splinter and fall apart because there wasn't enough external conflict to distract from the production of internal conflict.

When there is an identified "external threat" it is easier for people to band together against it, to identify and align their behavior through mutually beneficial patterns because the alternative is anathema to self preservation. So, without that, groups often turn into as I've called "Jersey Shore bullshit." Even when the people involved are otherwise smart. Then it just becomes pedantic Jersey Shore bullshit.

From the perspective of drama - all drama is conflict, and you can't have a story without drama. But in terms of our lives, in theory, many of us would probably like to mitigate conflict as much as possible. I think, however, that the truth is that many people manufacture conflict in the form of drama when natural conflict doesn't already arise. I think this is something that can be undone, I don't think it has to be that way, but I've seen it plenty. Bored people have plenty of drama in their lives, even if precious little genuine conflict. So - as the famous Chinese curse says - may you live in interesting times.

We've always known that narrative depends on conflict. You can't tell a story without an internal or external conflict. Maybe it isn't only true in fiction. Maybe we do thrive on conflict.

But I think - I hope I'm wrong - but I think that class stratification, tensions from increasing pressures driven by corporate owned resources, etc etc (see this article) in coming decades invariably leads to a place where the disenfranchised, otherwise well-intentioned individual can't help but become some form of "outlaw." We need cells, safe-houses, methods for the production and securement of goods and value to some extent excluded from corporate control. This is an incredible undertaking, one which most of us are in no way prepared for.

But parenthood is also a tremendous undertaking which most are not prepared for. We may have to learn as we go or die trying.

If we're going to see a return to tribalism in some sense as a survival technical (as it's always been for humans), I don't know about you, but I want someone I can trust on my 6. We have to drop the "everyone for themselves" bullshit to the extent that we realize that our best chances of survival are not alone. Humans have always banded together to survive.

To reiterate what I said: be trustworthy. Find those you can trust. That's all I've got.


Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

Against Nostalgia: A Call to Action

 There is no returning to the past, rather only an overturning. The value of the present cannot be denied or denigrated in the name of a mythic prelapsarian past, no matter how hollow modernity may ring.


There never was a fall.
-Eden?
Try primordial filth.



Was "man" better, morally speaking, from the dawn of time up to the birth of modernity and the machine?
-No. Most emphatically no.
The noble savage is a lie.


Decline, decadence, downfall?
These discredited themes hark back to Oswald Spengler's thesis of a "Faustian Civilization" in The Decline of the West. Long since reputed, this myth has had a long and continuing afterlife in both revolutionary and reactionary forms. There is little difference between the disaffection and pessimism of the left/libertarian strain and the diagnoses of decline and decadence of the right/reactionary type. Both see the present and future as hopelessly degraded and get off on nostalgia for a past that's never been.

"The pathos of this work: that there are no periods of decline," declared Walter Benjamin in The Arcades Project, a statement that applies to all of my work.

While I have no faith in "progress" and even less esteem, nay contempt, for the greater part of contemporary culture. I'm too - "honest" I suppose - to romanticize the past or fantasize and construct impossible, truly U-topian, ideals.

All we have is the here and now. We exist in and as part of the world - and thus our every action, even the slightest, must therefore change the world.

Don't like the world as it is?
What are you doing to change it?




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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Osama Bin Laden: Myths of Villainy and Deceit

By James Curcio
As always with such charged issues, I feel a bit like I'm sticking my head into the lion's mouth here. It is invariable that some people will misunderstand my point, however I've had some thoughts that I feel need to be said on a platform like Modern Mythology, as this is part of what the site was designed for.

If you haven't noticed:
White House Changes Story Of How bin Laden Was Taken Down "Remember all those stories about bin Laden posing an armed threat and hiding behind a woman leaving the SEALs no other choice but to shoot him? Turns out they were not quite correct. Politico reports: “The White House backed away Monday evening from key details in its narrative about the raid ..."
It's amazing what a mythic villain the media has made of the man over the past decades. What could he do since 9/11 except hide out (in the Pakistani military's backyard) and have aides run him food and magazines? The terror cell system was designed in part so that taking down even an operative leader wouldn't take out the network, and as it stands, I can only imagine bin Laden would be more useful to the US as an information source alive than dead. It seems absurd to think that his assassination can be of tactical benefit to anyone except on emotional or PR grounds.

From a particularly craven point of view, it has occurred to me that it's a lot cheaper to fly planes into the world trade center than ever bankroll the kind of media campaign you'd need to run to get the kind of attention this lunatic got.

He has been playing his strategy by the numbers, and his war was against an economy, "...superpowers are so allergic to losing that they’ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden’s plan for the United States..." (Washington Post.)

This is how it works with terrorism, by definition. Our own psychology works against us. Fear, a popular tool of the Bush administration, was used to do a real disservice to their own "war on terror" by painting the picture of this guy hanging out in his underground bunker with Destro, Cobra Commander, and The Joker. (That is should they ever hope to win a "war on terror" - I assume they actually intend to "win" as much as the "war on drugs" could ever be won, as we meanwhile prop up the regimes that supply the materials).

Recent reports say Osama didn't have a gun. But that's almost beside the point, since the deed is done and it's not like we're going to be seeing criminal investigations in the assassination of a figure like Osama Bin Laden. In the end he did share at least one thing in common with Saddam Hussein - both of them were tools for US interests for a time, and unlike puppet dictators, these used their own horrific means to their own ends and thus 'had to be stopped.' But in a National sense, maybe in an international sense, the blood is on all our hands, and it has been for a long time.

This might seem like an odd thing to say. Obviously none of us flew planes into any buildings. But yet in taking pride in violence, we're strengthening a narrative of vengeance. There's a MLK quote going around that had a different line added to the beginning of it. But the line from it, that is MLK, which I believe is the most relevant is this:
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
So it isn't about whether it was right or wrong to kill him. We can have that debate, but the point when that debate was relevant happened in the situation room. As they say, the deed is done. (Unless if we conjecture that it isn't, and I'll explain in a moment why I'm hesitant to go down that road.) I'm personally uncomfortable with the precedent of political assassination without a trial, but I can see how it becomes a moral imperative in very specific situations.

Aaron Sorkin played with this theme in the assassination of Abdul ibn Shareef plot-arcs in the West Wing (seasons 3-5).



No matter which side you come out on, it's a hoary mess, but it's patently clear to me that it's barbaric to party in the streets over the death of any human. Even an enemy. Crack open the Illiad sometime and consider why the disgrace of Hector was such a big deal within the context of the narrative. If we are to assume the burial at sea was in fact what "they" say it was, then it's in part an attempt at avoiding this kind of spectacle, though most likely with the knowledge that it is inevitable on the part of the people of America so the party line had best wipe its hands of it. I understand why the families of those killed in 9/11 may want revenge, but I don't think we'll ever know all those responsible. (And if we lined them all up on the street and shot them, would it bring anyone back?)

In the midst of this, let's not forget something: if we're to consider the political power of the US anything other than a shell of lies and deceit used to displace the illusion of multi-national corporate interests - which bear no allegiance to any flag - then it is a patriotic act to question the acts of our leaders. It shouldn't go unforgotten how many pithy things Thomas Jefferson had to say about rebellion.

To that end, it may not be politic but from the position of the crown at the time, "we" were a bunch of upstart rabble terrorists "ourselves," once upon a time. Which is not to say that I in any way endorse the myths that lead people to strap bombs to their body or fly planes into buildings. But let's not act as if there's a single lens that we can apply to an identity so large as a nation let alone its history or identity.

All that said, I still have no fucking clue why this story has morphed in the way that it has, and I dare not conjecture in too much depth about it because it might lead me down a crazy rabbit hole that has a giant convention of 9-11 truthers on the other side of it, with balloons and streamers and confetti like SURPRISE! HAPPY YOU COULD FINALLY JOIN US!

And no one wants that.

That is...unless we just mix Occam's Razor, some observations of primate behavior, and some small dose of higher reasoning, and thereby formulate the idea that we all want to make ourselves look good. But our ideas of what "good" means differ. "We" (and by we I mean the media, in particular) want to appear macho or superior or unafraid or any number of things, we want to appear considerate and kind and humble, we want to appear - well, like I said, it depends on what we value, what our myths value, and that is further amplified. We're all human sounding boards, amplification devices.

The Internet is an echo chamber. Unspoken motive plays a large role in the formation of these narratives, facts are merely an occasional side-dish. So it is inevitable, there is going to be quite a few different accounts of such a culturally charged event. You're kind of forced to have an opinion about things like this. This was just mine.

It's all a little odd, isn't it? What the hell do I personally know about Osama Bin Laden? Nothing but what I've been told, all around.



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Monday, May 02, 2011

Modern Warfare Questions Towards Gaming continued

I figured I didn't need to provide substantiation for some of the points I made in a post from last month, where I raised quite a few questions about the future of gaming, as usual without any real attempt at answering them:
In the Immanence of Myth, Stephen Hershey does a brief exploration of the military and their utilization of myths in video games to recruit and train, and how these games and the overarching military rhetoric forms a myth that draws in their would-be converts. But that just means they understand something about how to market. Why can't we sell intelligence? Why can't we sell education and team-work without making it hokey and awful? The moral failure isn't the military using these things. It's that no one else does. The fact the military knows games are great recruitment and training tools and yet the schooling system does not? Unconscionable.
However, should such substantiation be needed, take a peek at this piece in the business section of the New York Times:
General Greene, a senior official in the Army’s research and development engineering command, is among a cadre of high-ranking officials pushing for the military to embrace technologies that are already popular among consumers, like smartphones, video games and virtual worlds. The goal is to provide engaging training tools for soldiers who have grown up using sophisticated consumer electronics and are eager to incorporate them into their routine.
The poor military, you see, is having "challenges" in engaging young soldiers (read: children). "His children, he says, are always “buried in a cellphone or an iPad." Of course, most of this article seems to overlook the considerable involvement of the two, in fact the military has to a great extent driven technological advancement for quite some time. Human ingenuity seems to be led by nothing so quickly as the desire to do harm to others. Just look at the history of technology as it parallels the history of warfare. You can't separate them.

This article also glosses over the extent that simulations have been a part of military training for many years, or how FPS games are used as a part of recruitment strategy. It is mentioned, yes, but I think the scope of it on a psychological level is underplayed.

But, ignoring these factors, certainly there are feedback loops both ways, and gaming has less of an impact on the battlefield itself, it is true, than it probably will in the future.

I must once again point out that the same thing is true in our classrooms. Just how long we can go ignoring entertainment and engagement, let alone play, in the methods we use to learn, if we want to hope to compete in the economy of tomorrow? More importantly, at what point, do you think, can we use our creativity for something other than blowing one another up?

Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

solipsistic NATION: Tim Skold Ogre and Hoodoo Engine

From Solipsistic Nation:

In the last couple of weeks I learned that Karsh KaleTim SköldNivek Ogre and HoodooEngine had released or were about to release new albums. I dig them all so I do what I do sent out the emails and made the phone calls. There were other musicians, labels and festivals I wanted to feature on the show as well but they didn’t happen due to availability and time constraints and before I knew it, this week’s show had been distilled into a gem of greatness.
I discovered Karsh Kale right about the same time I discovered the Asian Massive (or Asian Underground) scene. Over the years I watched the careers of Karsh Kale, Asian Dub Foundation and others grow over the years and it’s a wonder that I haven’t had someone like Karsh on the show earlier. Karsh has released six albums and recorded and performed with everyone from Zakir Hussain to Yoko Ono. Karsh’s latest album,Cinema, is his most ambitious album to date. It’s big, bold and melodramatic, and Karsh’s experience scoring films has had an impact on the scope of Cinema.
Tim Sköld was another surprise! Before I knew it, one night after work I found myself in front of a microphone talking to Tim about his long career, from his rock roots in bands like Kingpin and Shotgun Messiah and then later playing with the likes of KMFDM and Marilyn Manson. Tim also released a solo album back in 1996 and 15 years later he’s followed it up with Anomie, due out May 10th. Tim was great to talk with and I found that he’s as much an agent provocateur in person as he is in his music. I also had some great questions to ask him from folks like Jeremy and Royb0t from Twitter and Facebook.
Ogre’s is set to release a second album with ohGr called unDeveloped that also due to be released May 10th. Ogre and Skinny Puppy have scored the post apocalyptic soundtrack to our lives for nearly 30 years. While Skinny Puppy was my introduction into industrial music, there’s industrial music and then there’s Skinny Puppy. They’re in their own category and to call them industrial is kind of limiting. I was curious to see what directions Ogre would explore through ohGr and to be honest, I didn’t like unDeveloped at first. As Ogre mentions during our chat, people rarely give music full attention because they’re usually multitasking while they’re listening to music. I was doing the same thing with unDeveloped but one night while I was going out for a run I listened to unDeveloped and without being aware of it I found myself lost in the album and now I think it’s one of my favorite album of 2011.
Once I finally realized that Tim and Ogre were going to be guests on this week’s show I knew I had to include Hoodoo Engine. I’ve wanted to play tracks from their EgoWhore album since it was released in 2010 but it was just one of those scheduling things. Hoodoo Engine would be perfect for today’s show and to top it off, they’re gearing up to release their new album, Murder the World, and it’s more wretched and evil than EgoWhore, if such a thing is even possible. The core of Hoodoo Engine is Marz233, James Curcio and Johann Ess. Just to be above board, both James and I are on the Alterati Network, but I’ve known James long before Alterati when I interviewed him about his book, Join My Cult. While you anxiously wait for the release of Murder the World you can watch Clark, a gonzo mockumentary reality show art film surrounding the struggles of an independent artist in a capitalist world. 
Hoodoo Engine Primary Members
(Not pictured: Iron Will, Scott Landes, & The Illuminist)
Oh, special thanks to tricil for providing the incidental music during my interviews with Tim and Hoodoo Engine. While I was putting together today’s show I realized that I didn’t have any instrumental music from either of them and went on Twitter and asked if anyone had some tracks I could use for music beds. tricil stepped responded in minutes and generously let me use his tracks “rcc3″ and “conserve destroy.” There are links to download those two tracks below.

(Direct download


Pre-order a copy of The Immanence of Myth, published by Weaponized in July 2011. (Or sign up to be notified of its release on Amazon.com)

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