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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008
    Dangerously close to The Light
     
    Phew! After the arrival of two greatly-anticipated packages, from Beta-lactam Ring Records of Portland, Oregon and Dark Holler - Hand/Eye of Glenville, Pennsylvania, it seems that the theme of my holiday listening will be Lost Gospel.

    Present at Greenbelt in my iPod only will be this line-up:
    Eyeless In Gaza, with their gorgeous 3xCD pack Summer Salt/Subway Sun, its contents described by the record company as an 'astrally projected experimental fondue pot of swirling beauty and skewed rhythm that makes you feel like you’ve crawled back to the womb';

    The Trees Community, a Christian, contemplative community and music group based at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, whose 'traveling life in the 1970’s was shared publicly, across America and Canada, through original music as well as through other forms of service to others', and whose reissue of 1975's The Christ Tree is an astonishing mix of 'Incredible String Band and Moody Blues, Indian Raga and Balinese Monkey Chant, traditional American sacred folk music and Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Charles Ives, Bela Bartak and Claude Debussy' - and David's Psalms, both of alienation and of praise;
    And two works by TiMOTHy, Revelator, an artist whose night visions and haunting movements invite you to join him fluttering dangerously close to The Light:
    Lost Gospel Music Volume I: Beneath the Bleeding Moon, recorded live with vocals and ent-banjo, an instrument of TiMOTHy's own design, at Unreal House, direct to tape, in September 2004. Adopting the lyrics of 17th century English Catholic divine Richard Crashaw, 'here are moon-songs to God and the green wood, and secret songs to night angels - drawing influences from east (Ostad Elahi, Abdelah Ghania) and west (Buell Kazee, Derroll Adams)...'

    Crow Tongue - Ghost Eye Seeker in which TiMOTHy and A.E. Hoskin's first full length 'finds them summoning distant howls from the fog of night. Fingerpicked strings and Eastern instruments recall Crow Tongue’s musical heritage (the acid-folk of Stone Breath), but here they are layered with primitive homemade instruments, circuit-bent electronics, and mantric drones.'
    Breathe in to receive a thrilling stream of cosmic consciousness, because Julian Cope digs TiMOTHy too:
    In the late ‘60s, Tokyo’s J.A. Caesar advertised his apocalyptic music as being: “Voodoo rock that invokes blood and the memory of blood.” So it is with TiMOTHy. This Revelator music may claim to be Christian, but what a bloody and pagan Christianity it is. For the Revelator embraces both the blood and the darkness in the void, continually invoking the Sun, the Moon, the Twilight, the Darkness … hell, kiddies, its veritably Armenian in its worship of the Christ; it’s like some throwback to the sort of arcane early Christianity that still had to rub shoulders with the worshippers of bollockless Attis & his old lady Cybele, and with the shrill-voiced effeminate priests of Frey dragging their God/Idol through the muddy fields of Jutland. TiMOTHy’s practising an Ur-Christianity from back when it was still just one-of-many cults competing for bums-on-seats, so it had to accept the pagans upon the heath and their desire to worship this new Peace God the old way.... It’s Noah sacrificing the lamb on the Tukh Manukh stone altar on the Mithraic hill of Etchmiadzin at the foot of Mt Ararat. A bloody covenant, children. A vandal handshake through the hole of the Odin Stone up at Stenness, on Orkney Mainland; a handshake and the inevitable cutting of flesh/spilling of blood. Directly interfacing with the Divine Godhead....
    Or I may just go and listen to Beth Rowley.