A Journal Of The Dark Arts
let no one deceive you
there is another world
it is within you
every boy and every girl
there is a kingdom
there is a king
the cosmos is his dominion
everything that ever was
or will ever be.
– i am the welcoming angel, i am the lake of fire
File under gnostic folk. Davis Hooker‘s music could be the national anthem for the Forestpunk nation, if it existed in a particular space and temporality. High cosmic surrealism meets earth magick ritual and airy lo-fi nylon string soundscapes. This is the sound of breathing air, this is the sound of empty space.
Let us now discuss the ethereal elephant in the room, the one thing yr NOT SUPPOSED TO TALK ABOUT. What is MAGICK? Crowley would have us believe that it is the act of effecting reality with the will. Every action, is a magickal act, from flicking yr thumb to lighting a lighter to turning a doorknob. Perhaps some of us are looking for something more mystical? We go in search of REAL MAGICK.
This ties in, in an interesting way, with the activity of writing about music. There are faces of a thing, and there is the real living meat of a thing, devoid of taxonomy and classification. We must not forget the fact that Science was created because we were a bunch of terrified Neanderthals in the dark of the jungle, afraid of everything. We name things like counting Hosannas, a rosary against the plague of uncertainty, chaos and instant annihilation that life truly and actually is. It’s all a raw, spontaneous fire-jazz improvisation, made up in the moment and hopefully up to par.
So much of music journalism is the classification of bands into things that people can understand. It’s a fine art all it’s own, but often results in off-handed dismissive labelling and casting off. I think this is happening subconsciously, as well, you hear a piece of music, yr like ‘what is this?’ then the brain quickly places it in a tidy box of the shelf, and you can ignore the panic of the unknown, some more. But come time to actually place pen to page and write something witty and insightful about something, and you will quickly come to realize there is more to any piece of music that will be missed from quick listening, so many dark wonders to behold.
Davis Hooker’s music is what it would sound like if Goetic demons were to climb through a wormhole and start a folkband. There is a subtle but palpable menace on most of this short transmission. With tracks like ‘I AM THE PRINCE OF THE AIR’, ‘I AM THE PRIDE OF LUCIFER’, and ‘I AM THE EXPOSER OF DEMONIC KINGS’, these demos come off like gnostic Delta blues; they reek of brimstone, but you can hear the dove’s wings. He leaves you dangling, halfway to the pit, walking in a non-sense limbo, like a haunting, or a dream.
This unsettling but gorgeous effect is achieved with only words and acoustic instrumentation. No studio trickery or sound FX to hide behind. Real folk mutant blues. Takes actual talent and real songwriting prowess, the reason we got obsessed with the Blues in the first place.
Davis Hooker may be broadcasting from the shadows, but he wants to be heard, and deserves to be. He is the odd combination of chaos acolyte and fire-and-brimstone preacher man. I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE may be music for demons, but it’s also music for demon slayers. You could imagine this is what the dad from Frailty would sound like, if he played in a band.
Hooker, in I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE and a handful of other local projects (Rob Walmart, The Watery Graves Of Portland), is a local treasure and a hidden treasure. The I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE beautifully illustrates a couple of points we’ve been driving at, getting progressively more clear and focused as the days swim by into autumn.
1. How is somebody supposed to pay attention to music these days?
There’s so goddam much of it, and it flows by like Siddhartha’s river. If you don’t take a stand and freeze time, you will miss it all, and we will have musicians snatching up all the 7-11 and dishwasher jobs, and we’ll all starve to death.
We’ve started organizing releases by geographical region, to try and illustrate what a place sounds like. The dream life of the land, as sung by human lips, breezes and swaying limbs channeled through fingers and fretboards.
Anything vaguely occult-oriented is what we’re all about, and one of the main reasons this project was instigated initially. Expect to hear more.
Last but not least, we’re starting to tag music with moods or themes. Ultimately, you can come to Forestpunk and fill your day with Retro Sci Fi sounds or pagan acoustic Black Metal. It’s a way to focus, to guide our trawl through the slipstream. Sometimes it seems we’re all over the place, and we are, but there is reason behind the randomness.
So we’ll leave you with the I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE demos, and leave behind the Pacific Northwest for some other realms. We’ve actually been pretty passionate about a lot of records made here in the top left states, so we’ll probably be back sooner rather than later.