A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Consider this yr Monday edition of the Wyrd. We’ve had the weekend to relax, reflect, scour the globe for the best and the strangest. Consider this a virtual newpaper on yr doorstop, full of color pictures and opinion pieces. Or an eerie transmission, coming through yr radio.
So with this ephemera series, let’s turn back the clock. Let’s climb in our gyroscope and remember when families would gather ’round the old Victrola, waiting for The Shadow and Little Orphan Annie. Let’s remember reading and listening for pleasure’s sake, for self-edification and as a way to bond. Consider this yr Wyrd Daily Edition, yr Light’s Out, yr Monster Movie Matinee. As time wends on, we’ll feature old, weird TV and obscure films available in the Akashic Records, but for this edition, we’ve got a podcast, a mixtape and a digital ‘zine – free delights to thrill and mesmerize.
Wyrd Daze #4 Podcast
This edition of the monthly Wyrd Daze podcast is brought to you by The Ephemeral Man, the shadow-self of musician/archivist/blogger/slipstream hacker Leigh Wright. It is the audio accompaniment to the subscription-only ‘zine, that comes with a .pdf, an EP, and a video, as well as a download of this mix, for $5 Canadian dollars, or around £3.
The Ephemeral Man treats us to 81 minutes of psychedelic folk, kosmische, acid rock & plastic techno, woven through with his characteristic deft handling of spoken samples, concrete poetry & soundscapes. It’s hard to tell what is real and what has been manipulated, in keeping with Mr. Wright’s vision of The Uncanny, where yr never entirely sure what is real and what is warped, producing an eerie, quicksand-sinking feeling, that whitewashes yr eyes and bleaches yr synapses; makes you re-consider what is possible in the Waking.
Some highlights include Allan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, by Pink Floyd (which i haven’t heard in ages), The Wyrding Module‘s Melliflous Ichor From Sunless Regions, Chapter 2, (feat. some spoken chicanery from math-shaman Terrence McKenna), a song about infamous (and criminally overlooked) British occultist/artist Austin Osman Spare, and Gareth Rees‘, The Hackney Marshman himself, abiding love and fascination with pylons. It’s a dreamquest through a spectral British countryside, brought to you by an Englishman in Quebec, and some of the shadow-web’s most brilliant denizens of the peripheries. Don’t expect easy answers or cozy handles, just more questions.
Full disclosure: i am a regular contributor to WD; i’ve got an article about British sci-fi NeoPagan English Heretic, in this month’s edition, as well as a track called ‘Behemoth’ from my Dessicant project for download, which investigates previously unthunk connections between Morris Dancers, J. G. Ballard, standing stones and a power station in Romania. I’ve met Leigh Wright, and the rest of the uncanny crew, via writing this blog, and while many of them have become trusted friends and colleagues, i remain a devout admirer of everybody’s work and research.
I have hopes to share my thoughts on the written portion of WD#4, but i have not yet had time to read my copy. You’ll just have to subscribe and find out for yrself.
You can do so here: http://wyrddaze.wordpress.com
You can follow along with Leigh Wright at his personal blog:
as well as @EphemeralMan, on twitter.
“People wonder why nothing is interesting, it’s because they try to get a fucking answer to it, to everything. There are things you can’t articulate. There’s that ‘thing’ in the world – music has it, every kind of art has it. And people talking about it can destroy it.”
— Dean Blunt
At the end of Jan., the ever-cryptic Dean Blunt, half of Hype Williams, inexplicably dropped a 26-minute mixtape called Skin Fade. There is little concrete information on the release, other than it features vocals by Joanne Robertson, who’s taken over the role of disembodied chanteuse from Inga Copeland, since The Redeemer. While a hip-hop mixtape might seem a non sequitur, on the coattails of a volk-pagan-British podcast, listening to them back to back, it makes a great deal of sense. It’s not exactly a hip-hop mixtape; it’s not NOT a mixtape. It’s a beautiful illustration of where our heads have been at, lately.
In a piece for Dummy Magazine, music journalist Steph Kretowicz, talking about Hype Williams, put it like this:
That’s because Dean Blunt is a perpetual work-in-progress. As contemporary media theorist Mark Federman writes, “the future, especially for emerging societies, is always elsewhere, constantly in flux, formed according to relational, as opposed to regional patterns”. Blunt’s output is assembled from reused and recycled material –uncredited covers, recontextualised samples and musical metanarratives –all of which are as indistinguishable from their original context…
It ties right in with the concept of the Wyrd, of not knowing what the fuck is going on, and also the present, and also the future. What is sampled? What is processed? It’s entirely impossible to say, for sure. It’s a condition that hardly anybody is talking about, striking right at the heart of what it is to be a music journalist, or a cultural enthusiast, in the present tense.
It’s all grist for the mill, now. Time is dissolving, as well as geography, along with race and gender. It’s a new continent, an archipelago of the mind, and genres just do not thrive, in this eco-system. More and more, we are seeing producers/musicians making instrumental hip-hop, brutal black metal, artificial soundtracks, cool jazz… sometimes in the same song. It’s an honest bricolage, cuz honestly, who listens to just one type of music, anymore?
Even for the genre-bending, Blunt covers a wide range of material, in these 27 minutes. There’s spectral synth-pop and shuffling hip-hop beats, so many subdivisions of the bass drum. There’s guitars and Tibetan horns, and even a surprising foray into horror electronics. Me and Dean Blunt must be listening to a lot of the same stuff, lately, as this mixtape is like a collage of my dreams. There’s even some intelligible lyrics, “They are coloring our eyes,” “Look at me! Look at me! Bad man wanna be me,” from the album closer, which is the most perfect evocation of late night city living, trying to find a place that’s still open, trying to keep the night going, since Burial‘s earliest material.
Blunt’s process seems hardware oriented, and dipped in fuzz, recorded straight to tape, showing an allegiance with a lot of the industrial techno and experimental electronics we’ve been fascinated by, these last couple of years. It’s just another drop in the rising tide of the real, the mind that desires the tangible and the human, that is tired of pure digital chicanery. Battle lines are being drawn – the end of days may end up the forces of Vaporwave vs. the Analog Shamen.
Dean Blunt and Joanne Robertson have restless, inquisitive minds, and you must hear every note they produce. Get behind the curtain…
The original mixtape has since disappeared, but SoundCloud user Steppenwolf has kindly archived it for posterity.
To conclude our Monday Morning Uncanny transmission, here’s yr pretty pictures for the day, yr color funnies and penny dreadfuls from the wonderful Include Me Out blog, which i highly recommend you follow religiously.
Collage is one of our enduring obsessions. I’ve heard it said, and i can’t remember who said it (if anybody out theres, i’ve been looking for the quote) that bricolage is the most honest form of 20th century art. I mean, we can all pretend that we’re noble savages, that our art emerges from the void, that we are all free of influence, but we are surrounded by words, images and music nearly every second of every day. What then to do with these images? How to deal with the swarming void? And what effect is it having on our subconscious?
Popular Seance is a beautiful artifice, truly thorough and consistent in it’s otherworldliness. Through meticulous attention to detail, typeface, and seamless collage, this is truly an occult transmission from the idea of the ’50s, from a world where the Spiritualism never stopped, and ran rival to Edison’s harsh light logic.
Include Me Out is continuing the fragmentary mission of Burroughs & Gysin, remixing reality, skewing our perceptions. Inserting line noise & cognitive dissonance into the slipstream. This is accomplished with some of the finest collages this side of Max Ernst! It’s a medium that many attempt, but few master. Examine his splices, and attain enlightenment! Fall through the cracks, and into the fissures.
The Include Me Out blog regularly features original artwork, as well as reviews of some of our favorite music. It is exactly the kind of trans-media line-blurring that we know and love and champion with every waking breath. Outstanding quality, amazing creativity, boundless thinking. The same could be said of every participant in today’s broadcast.
So here’s to the start of a Wyrd Week! Let us know what you think of the mixes and the downloads, and stay tuned for lots more ephemera.