Original Format: mp3
My speech is finished which I have spoken concerning the solar work.
Therefore, I Have Turned to Magic Father Evil
At first I tried to read these lines from Faust myself, but I never liked how they sounded. So I ended up paying a lovely (if nominally evil) guy on Cameo to do it. It turned out well I think.
Os Alquimistas Estão Chegando Jorge Ben
You Don’t Know What I Know/Rational Culture (Pt. 1) Tim Maia
It was one year ago today that I went to see the Wood Brothers at the Arkley Center in Eureka (little did I know that it would be my last chance to see live music for the foreseeable future). During the intermission between the opening act and the headliner, something super-funky was playing on the sound system; Shazam told me that it was Tim Maia’s “Rational Culture,” which I actually owned on the Luaka Bop compilation album World Psychedelic Classics 4: Nobody Can Live Forever – The Existential Soul of Tim Maia, but somehow had paid scant attention to. Reading up on Maia’s “Rational” phase sent me down a rabbit hole I still haven’t fully emerged from. But though the song “Rational Culture” is indeed funkier than a mosquito’s tweeter, at 12 minutes it is sometimes a bit much, so I’ve split it up into three parts here for easier digestion.
I Have Always Been Here Before Julian Cope
This is a cover of a Roky Erickson tune, but Julian changed the lyrics to suit his own personal preoccupations (Neolithic standing stones, etc.). He also interpolates a bit of “We Sell Soul,” a song by Roky’s pre-13th Floor Elevators band the Spades. But it’s the bassline that really makes it.
They’re Having a Lovely Time The Beatles
Until now I never really had much use for that bootleg CD of Magical Mystery Tour-related material I impulsively splurged on a couple years ago.
Nice, Nice, Very Nice Ambrosia
“In Cat’s Cradle [Kurt] Vonnegut laid out Bokononism, a mash-up of various Eastern philosophies as expounded by a double-speaking guru encamped in the Caribbean paradise of San Lorenzo whose hymnal was composed of calypsos. The second chapter in the book lays out calypso number fifty-three as follows:”
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen —
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice —
So many different people
In the same device
“A decade or so after Vonnegut wrote this calypso a band out of Los Angeles named Ambrosia turned it into a song for their first album. When they started out they were influenced by the harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the prog rock experimentation of King Crimson. They were ‘discovered’ by conductor Zubin Mehta and played with the LA Philharmonic, and were the back-up band for the first Alan Parsons project album before they were ever able to get a recording contract. Most don’t remember their early songs like ‘Holding on to Yesterday’ as much as they do their later soft-rock schlock ’You’re the Biggest Part of Me,’ ‘How Much I Feel,’ and ‘You’re the Only Woman.’ So sad. But when they still had their souls they managed to add a few more verses to round out Vonnegut’s and had themselves a little classic FM hit.” —David Elzey
Wot’s… Uh the Deal Pink Floyd
“‘Wot’s… Uh the Deal?’ is a song from Pink Floyd’s 1972 album, Obscured by Clouds. The song features multi-tracked vocals by David Gilmour, and lyrics by Roger Waters that describe taking advantage of certain opportunities life gives and how they affect a person later on. The lyric ‘Flash the readies, Wot’s…Uh the Deal’ is reported to be a phrase by roadie Chris Adamson.” —Wikipedia
The New God (Excerpt 1) René Halkett & David J.
“When the idea came up to rerelease the [“Nothing”/“Armour”] single on CD…. I dug out the original cassette tape that René had sent in 1980…. There was this other unused track, a long narrative piece that René had recorded as well because, he wrote in an accompanying note, it happened to be in the same folder as the two other poems, ‘and there was all that lovely tape on side two.’” —David J. Haskins, Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?
Word on a Wing David Bowie
“Bowie’s brand of fascism, while it embraced irony, was basically serious; or was taken seriously by a certain hermetic compartment of his mind, wherein it dwelt. The rest of him… was deeply uneasy about it; so uneasy that he included on Station to Station a song, “Word On a Wing,” which semi-seriously kept a line open to God in case the demons evoked elsewhere in the album should get out of hand.” —Ian MacDonald, “White Lines, Black Magic”
Magical Mellotron Music The Beatles
I may get my money’s worth from this damn thing yet.
Hermes Trismegisto e Sua Celeste Tábua de Esmeralda Jorge Ben
“This is the high-point on the album, the song from where the album takes its title and, yet, I won’t translate it here. Why? Because there is already a translation of this song…. I have already tried to outline of the Hermetic philosophy here and I think I’ve mentioned that it was deeply related to alchemy. Alchemy’s chief text is this piece here, known in its Latin name as the Tabula Smaragdina, or Emerald Tablet…. The Emerald Tablet was originally an Arabic text and then was translated into Latin and other languages.” —Brazil 70 Translation Project
- This is true and remote from all cover of falsehood.
- Whatever is below is similar to that which is above. Through this the marvels of the work of one thing are procured and perfected.
- Also, as all things are made from one, by the [consideration] of one, so all things were made from this one, by conjunction.
- The father of it is the sun, the mother the moon. The wind bore it in the womb. Its nurse is the earth, the mother of all perfection.
- Its power is perfected. If it is turned into earth,
- Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle and thin from the crude and [coarse], prudently, with modesty and wisdom.
- This ascends from the earth into the sky and again descends from the sky to the earth, and receives the power and efficacy of things above and of things below.
- By this means you will acquire the glory of the whole world,
- And so you will drive away all shadows and blindness.
- For this by its fortitude snatches the palm from all other fortitude and power. For it is able to penetrate and subdue everything subtle and everything crude and hard.
- By this means the world was founded.
- And hence the marvelous conjunctions of it and admirable effects, since this is the way by which these marvels may be brought about.
- And because of this they have called me Hermes Tristmegistus since I have the three parts of the wisdom and philosophy of the whole universe.
- My speech is finished which I have spoken concerning the solar work.
Rational Culture (Part 2) Tim Maia
I highly recommend Allen Thayer’s entry in the 33 1/3 book series, Tim Maia’s Tim Maia Racional Vols. 1 & 2. I can lend it to you if you like.
The Western Lands (Dangerous Roads Mix) William S. Burroughs & Material
“The Western Lands is a 1987 novel by William S. Burroughs. The final book of the trilogy that begins with Cities of the Red Night (1981) and continues with The Place of Dead Roads (1983), its title refers to the western bank of the Nile River, which in Egyptian mythology is the Land of the Dead. Inspired by the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Burroughs explores the after-death state by means of dream scenarios, hallucinatory passages, talismanic magic, occultism, superstition, and his characteristic view of the nature of reality.” —Wikipedia
The Fire Has Brought Us Together Shriekback
Secret Medicine Vagabon
All the top search results for “secret medicine” have to do with the video game Final Fantasy 7. That’s probably not related to this song; then again, isn’t everything related?
The New God (Excerpt 2) René Halkett & David J.
“After René died, in 1983, I inherited the marvellous luta — a cross between a guitar and a lute that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century — that used to hang on the wall of his study…. On the eve of my departure from Camelford, I decided to take a stroll, and I was suddenly arrested by a compulsion to follow a certain trail. It was very odd; I felt that René was directing me. I ended up in a field full of chomping cows and consequently a vast spread of cowpats. On closer examination, I discovered that there were a great many psilocybin liberty-cap mushrooms sprouting from the bovine deposits…. When I returned home to Northampton, I sat in my study with the luta, now newly hung on the wall. I made a pot of tea from one hundred of the mushrooms and drank it down. I had a distinct feeling that the luta’s former owner was present at that moment, and as if to announce the fact, all six of the instrument’s strings rang out loudly, apparently strummed by an invisible spectral hand.” —David J. Haskins, Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?
Bright Red Laurie Anderson & Arto Lindsay
“But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.” —Isaiah 13:21
Hermes Trismegisto Escreveu Jorge Ben
Another of Ben’s songs about Hermes Trismegistus (Hermes the Thrice-Great). Yer Google translates the lyrics like this; I can’t vouch for it.
Two thousand years before Christ,
the pharaoh Hermes Trismegistus wrote
the wonderful hermetic treatise
with a diamond point
and an emerald blade
which was found several centuries later
by the soldier of Alexander the Great
in the famous pyramid of Giza.
Hail, Hermes Trismegistus who has the three parts
of the universal philosophy:
It is true, it is a lie, certain, very truthful.
The board of emerald
was written by Hermes Trismegistus
with a diamond point
and an emerald blade, he wrote.
That which is below
is like that above.
That which is below
is like that above, he wrote.
Rational Culture (Part 3) Tim Maia
“I can only imagine the reaction of your casual Tim Maia fan who managed to listen to Tim Maia Racional Vol. 1 when it was released in 1974; confused, excited, confused, dancing, and then left with a spinning head after digesting the most epic funk jam to ever grace Brazilian wax.” —Allen Thayer
The Philosopher’s Stone Van Morrison
Van’s website optimistically — or stubbornly — lists a series of tour dates starting in London on April 15. It also says that his “new double album Latest Record Project: Volume 1” — the official title I guess? — will be released on May 7. The quest goes on.