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Magical Music or Music that gets you in the zone
  • Hi there.

    This thread is for all the tunes that get you into a magical mood, music that you listen to before a ritual, music that you hear as a banishing, music as a synchronicity, music that reminds you of a ritual, sigil, whatever.

    I'll go first.

    For a long time, every time I cast a sigil, I listened to AC/DC's Highway to Hell as a banishing. It worked perfectly as a gray area to forget about it, never figured out why.
    Lately, Queens of the Stone Age's Rated R album and Mirrored, from Battles, gets me into rituals a lot. What about you?
  • As much as I love music, these days I often prefer working in silence as my mind is more stilled and more focussed that way. I've been on a bit of a meditation kick this year (or was until insane workload got in the way a month ago... must get back into med again) so I felt that I could now achieve a stronger mental position by limiting other input.

    I sometimes use Five Dimensional Nightmare by Acid Mother's Temple when skrying in a black mirror as it's insanely hypnotic and creepy, and I find a little fear actually helps with black mirror work. Something that makes the hair on the back of your neck rise up just a little, and reminds you that magick isn't all sunshine and lollipops... Plus the name, five dimensional nightmare, I mean that's just great right? I think I used it the first time without knowing the name, it just came on while in random mode, and then the name stuck in my head when I checked so I used it again because of a dark sense of humour.

    I do use music as an appropriate comedown after ritual though. So for instance I performed a couple healing rituals for someone not that long ago (there's a thread about it on here somewhere) that were very solar in nature. After it was all done I listened to "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles a few times. It made me smile and contemplate and brought me down to Earth along the same kinda route I went up.

    p.s. Hard to tell if that really did anything. The person has fully recovered now, but it was a very slow recovery. At least I tried.
  • So much of what I do is related to music that there's really huge quantities of music that register as magical. By default, I'd say all music comes from magic, but some has traveled further away than others. I don't listen to individual songs for magical purposes, so much as I listen to playlists.

    For a while now I've been working on a playlist that I call "Rock Bembe" - it's a personal meditation not to be taken seriously as a traditional thing by any stretch. It's a way I can relate the Powers to my everyday life. So I've taken the Major Powers list from the Umbanda House I am in, and am selecting 3 radio songs for them that were produced in my lifetime. Er... I know what I mean by "radio songs", but I'm afraid I have trouble explaining. It basically means I'm looking for rock 'n roll or sometimes country, rather than folk, techno, trance, or show tunes (unless the show tunes are produced in a radio-ready kind of way). For the most part I want something with a typical modern drum set in the background. I'm specifically avoiding music that is actually traditional Bembe music, because while that would definitely be more directly applicable to the powers, it defeats the purpose of the exercise. But I'm not avoiding, for example, Santana whose music is often overtly in honor of one or another Power on the list. When I'm done, I should theoretically have a mixed playlist that lasts for several hours that any stranger could listen to without ever suspecting I was holding a Bembe in my head.

    So the three songs represent, respectively, Raising the Energy, Painting the Portrait, and Teaching the Lesson.
    Exu: Lets Get It Started - The Black Eyed Peas, The Devil Went Down To Georgia - Charlie Daniels or Primus, and What It's Like - Everlast.

    Oya: Flashdance - Irene Cara, Lightning Crashes - Live, and You Gotta Be - Desree.

    I don't have them all yet, I'm still working on it. Having trouble with some of them.

  • You use "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" in your practice, Ember?

    That's unspeakably cool.
  • Denis Alcapone and The Ethiopians for Ellegua, Lovers Rock and Phyllis Dillon for Oshun.
  • I'm finding that the fervour and passion of certain Northern Soul tunes seems to fit very well with devotion to Mesopotamian goddesses...
  • I love The Beatles "Black Bird" before I do altar work to Raven or Counting Crows "Rain King" (They came on the radio a lot when He was trying to get my attention) or more recently The Weepies "Little Bird". They seem to get me the proper mindset though I tend to actually work in silence so as not to become distracted from the work I'm trying to do. If I do decide on music during, I tend to go with something that reflects the personality of the Deity. There's a track by Yoyo Ma (Concerto in B minor for Cello, I believe though I'd not sure as I'm at work) I put in on repeat when I'm working with Ma'at, it centers me.
  • mardol:So for instance I performed a couple healing rituals for someone not that long ago (there's a thread about it on here somewhere) that were very solar in nature. After it was all done I listened to "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles a few times. It made me smile and contemplate and brought me down to Earth along the same kinda route I went up.

    I've used "Here Comes the Sun" -- which is one of my favorite songs -- as a substitute for the dawn adoration in Liber Resh, with excellent results. (I really should think of appropriate songs for noon, sunset, and midnight.)

    I've also used Brian Eno's "Ambient 1: Music for Airports" as background music for all sorts of meditations. Provides a calm, slightly thoughtful, but otherwise almost perfectly neutral soundscape. As good as a mantra in its own way. Gurdjieff's music (produced by Robert Fripp) also works well -- stately, orderly, but perhaps a bit dull. And Eno's "Ambient 3: Days of Radiance" is great for energizing meditation.

    It seems to me that music, like drugs or a variety of other techniques or substances, can have a powerful synergistic effect when combined with magic. Especially if the practitioner has strong associations with or a deep appreciation of the music in question.
  • The first person to mention Psychic TV/ Current 93 / Coil/ Tool / Toil/ etc, gets banned on the spot.
  • What about Dead Can Dance?
  • I was actually expecting someone to mention Current 93, Tool and Psychic TV... Tool, even though I quite like it, never did it for me. It's kinda like Wolfmother, which I also love. They have some significant lyrics, but somehow their songs are just that, flat songs that don't get my mind into any kind of ritual mindset, despite being a killer band (IMO).
  • Eno! Eno! Eno!

    Using pop music seems somehow ironic. Like a kind of knowing smile, oh yes, I'm hip because I'm using this song... not saying that's a bad thing. I'm all for fun but that's why I'll listen to music afterwards, or to build excitement and set the mood beforehand. I wouldn't be able to take myself seriously otherwise.

    I've used "Break on through" by The Doors at the end of rituals before. But again, its more because of a sense of humour at hearing Jim Morrison (who I do count actually count as a shaman btw) shouting "Break on through to the oher side! Break on through to the other side! Break on through!..." I can't help but feel its more of a private joke than anything. There are different shades to all this though. I'd be happy to use "Here Comes the Sun" for morning Liber Resh. It would most certainly instil my heart with joy at the dawning of a new day anyway.

    What were the "excellent results" of Liber Resh if you don't mind me asking? I'm thinking of making a habit of it this summer...
  • Let's see... Lately I've been getting some really good results playing some Nine Inch Nails to Pomba Gira, the song Sunspots especially--its even helped me get visions if I let the music really bring me there.
    By accident I found that Erzuli Freda really likes Portishead,"Give me a reason to love you".
    Baron Samedi loves Kid Rock songs. Wu Tang for Horus--warrior music. Jay Z for Hermes, he likes the smooth talking. I guess I focus more on what the godform or spirit likes at this stage of things.
  • Sam Phillips' "Martinis and Bikinis": it's very personal, evocative and mystical in symbolism, at least to me, and helps connect me to the idea of symbolism as nonlinear, multifaceted, and in some cases, poetic-approaching-nonverbal. I use it to get past the outer shell of me and into the core, from which I can connect to o(O)ther things in a less mediated way.
  • mardol:I'd be happy to use "Here Comes the Sun" for morning Liber Resh. It would most certainly instil my heart with joy at the dawning of a new day anyway.

    What were the "excellent results" of Liber Resh if you don't mind me asking? I'm thinking of making a habit of it this summer...

    You've already guessed it -- a deep, intense, genuinely spiritual connection with and appreciation of the sunrise, and a feeling of joy at the dawning of a new day. Far greater than I've ever felt from hailing Ra in Crowley's pompous, stilted, archaic language.

    Surprisingly, even remembering it is enough to make me tear up.

    Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow morning . . .
  • Gypsy Lantern:The first person to mention Psychic TV/ Current 93 / Coil/ Tool / Toil/ etc, gets banned on the spot.

    Never mind the bollocks - I'm still waiting for someone to mention Exuma the Obeah Man...fantastic, unclassifiable music.

    "I came down on a lightning bolt
    Nine months in my Mama's belly.
    When I was born, the midwife scream and shout,
    I had fire crystals coming out of my mouth.
    I'm Exuma, I'm the Obeah Man!"

    More info here
  • Wow, that's some really wonderful music!
    I'm currently downloading from the pirate bay.
    Thank you for posting. :D

  • Gef, I think you should win a prize for being the first poster to mention Exuma...I love him!

    Nina Simone was also a big fan, have you heard her versions of "Obeah Woman" and "Dambala"?

    They can be found on side B of her 1974 album "It is Finished".

    That being said, I think I'm partial to Exuma's original "Dambala" of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard and so evocative of the Mystery behind it.

    On a strange side note...I heard from a Wiccan friend that Alex Sanders used to play it often at the end of his meetings...go figure!
  • I like instrumental music. There's a Finnish band called Circle who do this trippy krautrock influenced stuff that works well. And the Plague Mass trilogy by Diamanda Galas is good for scary work.

    Probably the cheesiest thing I've ever done is do combat magick work while playing 'attitude'-era WWE entrance themes. Which actually worked really well...

    Do I have to do all the work around here?!?

    April Fools!

    I kid... I love them and daydream alot to their music, but magically it doesn't inspire me to work.

    Seriously, for invoking violence and fighting inner demons, I like stuff like Deftones, or high BPM trance/Dance like some of the heavier stuff off of Underworld's "Beaucoup Fish". Bloc Party's first album makes me dance in my daydreams and Dr. John makes me want to walk naked in the woods at night.
  • Ok, now that I've managed to contain my Exuma enthusiasm, i'll try for a proper contribution! I'm a fairly obsessive record collector and music's quite integral to any Voodoo service that goes on in my house. All the Powers I serve have their favorite artists and lends so much feeling to the work, and really reflects their tastes and personalitites. In addition to their traditional songs and drum rhythms, I've got extensive playlists for all my Spirits. I serve quite a few, but will get but will begin with my main four. If y'all want more selections then let me know!


    The Skatalites, Jackie Mittoo, Dennis Alcapone, Desmond Dekker, Derrick Morgan...basically a whole lotta Studio One Ska and Reggae. Plus obscure US blues from the 1920's-40's and more recently some nice Ethiopian jazz, especially Mulatu Astatke.

    Of course, my Legba being from New Orleans makes him especially fond of all the area's classic artists: Eddie Bo, The Meters, Professor Longhair, Smiley Lewis, Fats Domino, Ernie K-Doe...the list it goes on and on and on.

    He's especially fond of Dave Bartholomew's "Poppa Stoppa Theme Tune" from the famous 1950's radio show. That one's a hit every time!

    Erzulie Freda

    Beautiful love songs of course...fortunately the world is full of them.

    Some of my Freda's favorites are "Les Fleur" by Minnie Riperton, "And Roses and Roses" by Astrud Gilberto, "Queen of the Minstrels" by The Eternals, "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand), "Keep That Love Light Shining" by Slim Smith, "A Place Called Love" by The Techniques, "Never Let Me Go" by The Impressions, and "The Love I See Now" by Johnny Davis.

    She also adores just about anything by The Delfonics, likes the sweeter end of Philly Soul, and is developing a taste UK Lovers Rock...which I'm just beginning to explore a little bit.

    Erzulie Dantor

    She enjoys a lot of harder hitting Chicago soul, especially Etta James' "Tell Mama" and "Fire". Also very partial to Marlena Shaw's "Woman of the Ghetto" and "Liberation Conversation". And of course, other ladies with strong soulful voices like Aretha Franklin, Betty Harris, Missy Elliott and Nina Simone (especially her amazing "Four Women")

    Erzulie La Sirene

    She's an interesting technically all music and sounds fall under Her domain. Her altar is up in the bathroom, which conveniently is located right by the lounge, where the best stereo is! She likes to hear Her tunes loud and clear, preferably on vinyl and through quality speakers that bring good definition and texture to the sound.

    Her tastes in my house lean heavily towards 1950's-60's Exotica: Les Baxter (especially his Caribbean Moonlight), Martin Denny (Hypnotique and The Enchanted Sea are two favourites), Arthur Lyman, Tak Shindo (his version of Bali H'ai is unearthly), Robert Drasnin, Korla Pandit...classic surf-psyche and Hawaiian tiki tunes...I'm going to stop now, beacause I collect most obsessively in this genre and don't want to fill up the page with a long list of obscure composers. Trust me, I could do that!

    A few of my Sirene's favorite singers are the amazing, Peruvian Yma Sumac (who had an almost inhuman, 4 octave vocal range), the ethereal Elizabeth Fraser (who did a heartbreaking cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren") and the legendary Roy Orbison. Yes, the Big O. Just listen to "In Dreams", "Crying" or "Blue Bayou" and try not to be mesmerized...

    I'm a singer as well...and though not so immesnely gifted as many of the artists I've listed here, I pray that my songs are pleasing to Her, and I work hard to make my voice a dedicated vessel for Her Mystery to inhabit.
  • Rosie x, I want your record collection.
  • And I want my record collection to GROW!

    You should see the scores of lovely, lovely records I'm watching right now on ebay...mmmmmm.

    And I've just been paid, watch out!

    Working just a stone's throw from so many nice record shops in Soho doesn't help much either. I was chatting about my record spending with my man last night and he said that I could look at it as a positive contribution towards the currently troubled economy. Yes. An act of good will. That's what I'll tell myself next time I drop £20 on a 45.

    It is a spiritual obligation you see...Do you think the Voodoo makes me eligible for tax credit?
  • Rosie X: On the Lover's Rock tip, there are some amazing reissue 7"s out on Peckings (Peckings was Coxsone's main man in the UK, and used to have a shop down Goldhawk Road). Pure fire. Currently situated on my Oshun altar.

    Also, did I tell you I won a copy of Yma Sumac's "Miracles" the other day? $11! Can't wait to get it!

    I've also picked up a blinding old New Orleans comp recently - has an amazing track on it by Bo Dollis as well as Longhair's "Big Chief" (which I've got on 45 as well) - you need to hear it, we should do that record night soon.

    On a magical and musical note, one of my favourite pastimes is drifting to find records. I kind of see this as magical, it's communing with the city and being open to what washes up. I have my little patch and I'll check it out on a regular basis but I like doing it where ever I go. I like the spirit of finding something cheap in a charity shop or pound box and taking a punt on it, being willing to take a chance. There's something magical about the strange ephemera of popular culture and surfing that tide. You come across all kinds of peculiar stuff this, stuff you didn't know that you wanted until you buy and play it - that's my version of "Pop Magic", I suppose. Most recent score was a very interesting "Zydeco Blues" LP on Monday.

    Hmmm... I haven't brought a record for nearly 48 hours. I'm getting all itchy!
  • Should probably add. I do use eBay as much as the next record obsessive, it's pretty essential. But as an experience in itself, it's not very satisfying. Going out and wandering around and finding weird stuff (which is not that hard to do in London, if you put some hours into it) cuts against this, makes things physical again.
  • Lady Lex on Peckings!

    Boom tune!

    (edit: Hmm, maybe these ain't reissues then?)
  • Immediately after I posted that, 3 LPs turned up in the post for me!

  • That's a lovely tune Danny, that Lady Lex! She's got a beautiful voice, real sweet shades of Billie Holiday in there. I think she even mentions "Stormy Weather" in the lyrics. Thanks for that...and yes, we must do that record night soon!
  • I was listening to the fabulous online radio station a few months back and heard a great tune called "No Moon At All" by 50's vocal group The Ames Brothers. Here's the lyrics:

    No Moon At All

    No moon at all, what a night
    Even lightnin' bugs have dimmed their lights
    Stars have disappeared from sight
    And there's no moon at all

    Don't make a sound, it's so dark
    Even Fido is afraid to bark
    What a perfect chance to park
    And there's no moon at all

    Should we want atmosphere for inspiration, dear
    One kiss will make it clear
    That tonight is right and bright moonlight might interfere

    No moon at all way up above
    This is nothin' like they told us of
    Just to think we fell in love
    And there's no moon at all

    The track can be found on their 1958 LP, Destination Moon, which features a number of Lunar and space inspired tracks, including a cover of "It's Only a Paper Moon". I don't have this record yet, but recently scored a copy on ebay for $3.00 and am now eagerly awaiting it's arrival.

    The peculiar thing was that I did actually first hear this song the day after some particularly heavy, late night mojo-time out under the Dark Moon....yes, spooky...

    Who would have thought that the Spirits can communicate via the medium of obscure 1950's Lounge, Exotica and Easy Listening tracks? I'm finding more and more that they can and do indeed!
  • You might be interested in Captain Beefheart's 10 commandments of guitar playing.

    It kind of comes at this from the other side. I read it and started feeling guilty that I haven't been leaving my Telecaster a bowl of water.
  • That's fantastic Grant, thanks for that! It's all perfectly clear now why I'm such a crap guitarist...

    I've not been playing out beside bushes underneath the moon too often, nor have I been eating enough multi-grain bread. I'm going to remedy this tonight and let's hope my technique will improve accordingly.

    Note: I do listen to the birds though...
  • rosie x:

    Nina Simone was also a big fan, have you heard her versions of "Obeah Woman" and "Dambala"?

    They can be found on side B of her 1974 album "It is Finished".

    rosie, thanks for the tip re. Nina Simone - I had no idea. 'It is Finished' now on my ever-expanding "must have" list!
  • For a slightly more dark journey, I tend to like the longer instrumental pieces of GODSPEED YOU! Black Emperor, especially They Don't Sleep Anymore (On the Beach).

    It's the kind of music that makes you readdress the landscapes around you, especially while driving.
  • Nice Beefheart article there. I've never seen that before.

    Interesting that there's a comment about the Orishas in the comments section too.

    His "exploding note theory" is explained here if you're interested. Its a great little clip about the captain's musical methods.
  • Ash tray against the wall!
  • I only use music for meditations. Oh there is a egyptian tune by a Soliman Gamil I sometimes use for Sun-rituals. For meditation, ambient stuff without too many surpirses. Here is a godd site for that: and this:
  • Sometimes I sing or dance along to Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" for St. Kevin. The lyrics have got so much of him in them. Fear, foxes, miracles, allusions to Christianity the idea of romancing a terrifying other. I don't really know if he likes it, but he likes the attention and he doesn't not-like the song, so it works for the moment.
  • Does anyone here honor Yemaya with any radio music? I'm having more trouble picking songs for Her than for anyone else on my list, and that seems strange to me, because I have whole playlists of "water music", but nothing seems focused enough to say the kinds of things I'd want them to say about a being who could be like Yemaya, or from a perspective that could be Yemaya's.

  • Hi Ember, I've actually got quite a bit for relationship with Her has really been deepening over the last two years. It's mostly Cuban artists: Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Xavier Cugat, among others. I don't know how that would square with your Umbanda line. But it's some beautiful stuff.

    And about a year ago I just happened upon a great album called Mother of Dreams and Secrets by the jazz composer Barney McAll. Its a complete devotional work to Yemaya.

    I don't feel comfortable at all posting on LN right now, so I think I'll just have to leave it at that. But I'll PM you some song and album details as soon as I've got time to.
  • rosie x:

    And about a year ago I just happened upon a great album called Mother of Dreams and Secrets by the jazz composer Barney McAll. Its a complete devotional work to Yemaya.

    This is a bit random, but I've come across an LP box set by Les Percussions de Strausborg titled "Iemanja de Jean Courtioux" - I probably would've ignored it, but it had a big picture of crashing waves on the cover. Been wondering if there's any connection - and how if so. I'll investigate further...
  • I've been finding that the instrumental versions of the modern rock songs I enjoy are great for putting me in an active mental space but leaving me without exact focus - which I can then apply to anything requiring concentration. A guess is that the mix of the familiar, heartbeat pacing, and being free from parsing words is doing the trick. It has also been important that I avoid karaoke mixes that have drum machines or backing vocals added. But bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Daft Punk put out acoustic covers, which are studio mixed to be non-vocal. Works great.

    I got the idea because my guy likes classical for drawing, but classical and chamber music makes me very angry/bothered/distracted.

    That is if I want to focus. I've learned not to try to drive with many Dead Can Dance albums playing, especially Spirit Chaser. So yes, Mordant Carnival - definitely Dead Can Dance.
  • More seriously, despite Dead Can Dance being one of those bands that I joke about Goths liking, I do use them a fair bit. I like to have their albums going during work where I plan to elevate and engage in fire resistance etc: that particular kind of music puts me into the right kind of trancey state without evoking rage or other strong negative emotions, so I end up with a smooth, lucid elevation rather than going into break-things mode.
  • have to agree about the instrumental thing - unless the music is the main object of ritual, rather than simply another tool, i can't really use music with words. lyrics are all i end up listening to. as a result, most of the stuff i use is instrumental post-rock type stuff. so, firmly putting my vote in for Eno! also Stars of the Lid are drone ambience awesome for ritual. and Explosions in the Sky if i'm feeling chariot-emo. been reading The Red Goddess to Red Sparowes albums which works just fine for me...

    in terms of lyric'd music, Saul Williams' Amethyst Rock Star is the greatest work of occult rap i have ever come across. it spans; from spoken word to d'n'b, from hiphop to trance meditations. if you cannot afford to buy it, which i strongly recommend, i will upload and send you a link. amazing. really.
  • Mardol said it, but I'll say it to- Eno, Eno, Eno.

    Just picked up Nerve Net and After the Heat- both are totally brilliant for meditation and trancework.
  • Out riding last night, just before i came to a woodlands crossroads and nearly going over the handle bars as a deer shot out from the woods in the moonlight, i had a thought about cunning folk, but more in the terms of folk music, i wonder if there are any recreations of old cunning songs used for spell working in folk music. Some of them should be easy to find in European folk musics.

    I was listening to some undodgy neo folk at the time, so i guess the two moments just came together, their has to be charms and spells that entered popular songs of the time.
  • ^^ You know that's a really interesting idea. I pride myself on having a somewhat obsessive interest in folk music; especially how British folk songs entered the American canon and picked up new verses or a different tune and how it all got melded together into some aspects of the blues, but nothing immediately springs to mind. There are plenty of hoodoo references in rural acoustic blues in America (I think the incredible luckymojo site contains a load of stuff on this) but I can't think of any spells in British folk music, which is mostly built around story-telling and the bardic tradition, so while supernatural references are quite common in the older tunes I don't think explicit references to magick-working are. There's probably a whole genre of it though, that I've never touched. Go ask an ethnomusicologist!
  • everyone should check out the Karl Sanders solo album, "Saurian Meditations"

    Excellent for these purposes.
  • @mardol & AA: There's a long tradition of songs about songs being sung in a magical way. The first that comes to mind is "Cruel Sister," which Pentangle sung. The last section is about minstrels playing a harp made of a murder victim's bones and hair, which then proceeds to accuse the murderer, in whose hall they're playing.

    It's a version of an older song, which also (predictably) has a fairy tale version. The story told in prose, though, misses out on the whole meta-thing of the song you are listening to being the song that reveals the crime. Taken that way, it's a song that writes itself.
  • Today on campus the Interfaith meeting was on this topic. We were each to share one song of religious/spiritual significance on a personal level. I'm the only Pagan in the group as far as I know, but not the only Non-Christian. I don't make many meetings, so while I'm the Token Pagan, I'm not a core member (yet). I wish I had the time to be, and they know it, so they keep me in the loop just in case ;)

    Anyway, there's just SO much music in my practice on all sides. It's one of three major threads of practice keeping everything together for me on a personal level (the other two being trance work and arts/crafts).

    I wracked my brain for a while trying to come up with a single song that summed it up for me. I present as Pagan(Heathen) to the group, rather than Dual Trad mainly in order to simplify, but also because I'm at least Heathen lay-clergy, and I'm not in my Umbanda house, per se, so I don't really do Umbanda house outreach unless asked a specific question that prompts it, because I feel underqualified.

    So anyway, I ended up singing what we call The Summoning Song, which has many ritual uses, but most folks who have heard it know it from the Hrafnar/Seidhjallr Oracular Seidh ritual. I actually sang most of it for them. I... don't think they really knew what to make of it. They complimented my singing voice and asked a couple of questions and I explained as best as I was able. I did clean it up a tiny bit, (replacing a reference to "blood" offerings with "mead", and a reference to spells with "songs", because they're liturgically equivalent, and I thought the song might be too dark for the audience as it was).

    So anyway, I know the humans involved are all really nice, welcoming, open-minded, non-judgemental people, and I like them a lot. But I still freaked out a bit. This time I wasn't even presenting in the Mission Church like last time, it was just the meeting room over in the student center.

    So I'm not sure if my freak-out is
    A) purely psychological, in which case is it just social anxiety, or have I picked up too much of the ambient Pagan Oppression Complex despite never actually experiencing any significant oppression for being Pagan?
    B) the Catholic (Jesuit) equivalent of wards set up around the whole campus, not just the Old Mission area kicking me for invoking Pagan Gods inside their shiny sacred space?
    C) me letting my school shields down because I shifted gears into Priestess Mode, and that's not well aclimated to my school environment sensitivities?

    I think it's mostly A and C, but the possibility of B keeps nagging me...

  • It's quite rare to find an article that genuinely touches upon the tension between the musical and functional magical use of musical instruments, so I thought I'd share this one with you.

    It's an article about the music of improviser, drummer and percussionist Ken Hyder, and touches on many aspects of his work with Siberian shamans:

    Here's a couple of sample quotes:

    Will Montgomery: "Since the early 1990s, Hyder's great passion - developed alongside Hodgkinson, who trained as an anthropologist - has been Siberian shamanic music. For the two musicians, shamanic ritual appeared to offer an answer to some of the questions that their improvisation was throwing up - might the performer's psychological state, for example, be more important than musical technique? Shamanic practices had been vigorously suppressed during the Soviet era and were only just re-emerging when Hyder and Hodgkinson began to visit the vast Russian territory of Siberia, itself as large as Europe and the US put together. They have since travelled widely in the region, performing in all sorts of contexts, from open-air, open-country events, to community centre gigs. What really interested them was the improvisational and musical aspects of shamanic ritual, in which the shaman enters a trance state and uses drum and voice to intercede with the spirit world on behalf of the community or a specific individual."

    Ken Hyder: "When they're using the drum and shamanising, they're not doing it for the client at all. It's not music. It's not regarded as music and it's nothing to do with the client. It's actually a kind of loop which the shaman hears as representing how his or her spiritual energy is fluctuating inside. Rather like an electrocardiogram machine."

    Tim Hodgkinson (Hyder's chief collaborator): "The Western world is relentlessly imposing itself on all the other human worlds on this planet. As individuals, we can't alter this process. But we can modulate what this world of ours is, we can ensure that the friction between worlds which should take place really does take place and that the other worlds are not simply crushed in silence… The point is that the friction should be real, that the touching surfaces should not be dissociated from their roots in social life, and that the impact between different musical cultures should therefore be thoroughly worked through. Only in this way can we avoid the kind of impressionistic World Music now being produced by some of our more careless contemporaries."

    Lots more food for thought in the article itself.

    Of particular note is Hyder's respect for the traditions from which he comes (Scottish folk music) and his intriguing attitude to the overlap of time and place in his manipulation of recordings:

    Will Montgomery: "It's music with a large embrace and can best be heard in the latest K-Space release, Going Up. On the final track, for example, there are three drum kit parts on the go at once, all in different tempi. The album incorporates recordings that go as far back as Hyder's and Hodgkinson's first visit to Tuva. Instead of compiling, say, a chronological document, they have reconfigured the recordings digitally, making a giant montage of different performances, in the open air and in concert spaces, in Western Europe and Siberia. Nothing is done to homogenise the widely varying acoustics of the recordings. The different times and places simply co-exist alongside one another. One piece contains material from 18 separate environments - nothing new for a sample-based or concrete project, but a departure for work rooted in folk or improvised music, where the replication of the actual performance event is usually the order of the day."

    That's an interesting take at creating a representation of many occultist's ideas of all times and places being one, with a blurring of boundaries that you might typically only find in altered states of consciousness (the gestalt of people and places and times that you might find in a dream, for example).

    On his latest album with his trio K-Space, appropriately called "Infinity," he goes even further, using software to create an album that never plays the same way twice. Memory, time and place all become confused, pieces of music are lost forever on each playback but there is continual discovery. I wrote a lot about that album here:

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