Sunday August 27, 2017

Mind-junk, like resin, needs to be scraped clean sometimes as with the shrill trilling of Evan Parker’s Monoceros. The cosmos never should have allowed us as a species the right to unhear that. My love lies, too, with The Keith Tippett Group’s Dedicated to You, But You Weren’t Listening, even with and perhaps partly because of the keyboards dipping every now and then into Peanuts territory.

Readers, I have to confess: I’m only just now learning about Ivor Darreg and “xenharmonic” or “microtonal” music. Keep tumbling and you’ll find Dolores Catherino, and behind her, J.F. Martel and his book Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artifice. One is pulled via language toward specific words and images as toward a cult. “The house is on fire,” says Sarah. “I’m clarifying a path.” I, meanwhile, am successfully and happily awake, especially in brief moments before turning in each night. And I needn’t go nuts about my inability — because unpropertied — to design grounds into terrestrial gardens, shrines to Being built floating in space as atop a cloudy consciousness. Sweeping leaves to clear a deck is a way of making the world presentable at the feet of those with whom we share the journey, the struggle, the ascent of Mount Analogue. Upward, comrades, upward! As I pull the cover off the grill I say, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to bug thee” to the spider crickets contained therein. Upward, comrades, upward! I hope one day to devote myself to the study of the theory and practice of Japanese gardening. At that, the call of activity subsides. A spider plant reaches toward me, fingers pointed. “Are you an effective evangelist,” it asks, “winning others to a cause that is just?” Parts of me wish to reply in both the affirmative and the negative. And others, I believe, have even less certainty of my worth than me. Since when have I assented to the placement of my heart opposite a feather on some “slave morality” / “servant religion” scale of justice? I will not tolerate any further belittling of immanence through reference to an afterlife in the design of my political theology.

Saturday August 26, 2017

I found some hollowed-out nutshells the other day in the hollowed-out trunk of a tree. I interpreted these shells (because why not?) as a sign that I should dine at Five Guys. Is it wrongheaded to equate mental space or consciousness with something more fully social (or so I presume) like language or discourse? “All we have to do,” I’m told, “is speak our minds.” Singer-songwriters channel generic personal language from the muses. The cosmic babble that results achieves meaning only upon contact with Robbie Basho’s “Variations on Claire De Lune.” Join that with Popol Vuh’s “Ah!” and you have my weekend. This soundtrack to the first stage of my new journey culminates, by the way, with the nature-worship of Bridget St. John’s “Ask Me No Questions.”

What can I say? My psychedelic war-chest skews toward the folksy. I become absorbed as I listen, my eye wrapping around my fingers as I wrap around my fingers the string from my hoodie. Trust me when I say, it’s a glimpse of the earthly divine. The inexplicable mystery of Being. And we can run with that directly into Asa-Chang & Junray’s “Hana.”

As Henri Lefebvre said of space, “our senses and our thoughts apprehend nothing else” (The Production of Space, p. 12). Lefebvre’s is a Marxism that can accommodate the satisfaction that results from tending to what psychologist Abraham Maslow called “metaneeds,” including the drive to know and experience truth, beauty, and goodness. Lefebvre’s writing also implies an everyday practice (or so I imagine) in line with the teachings of Anthony Storr’s Solitude: A Return to the Self. Make sure to parse all of this, though, via Nietzsche’s theory of the psyche as constituted by multidimensional layers and possessing an unfathomable complexity. Down we go, stricken with both terror and delight, into the depths of an unmapped maze. Fireworks in the space behind the back of one’s head: lean into them and absorb them as spasms shivering up one’s abdomen. “Get a load of the pull on that one!” shouts a young dwarven-shaped thing, afterwards becoming angered by the genocide that its country committed, the alternative lineages of consciousness extinguished. History has deprived us of whole peoples and whole ways of being. Get a load of the way this next part is spoken: I’m not here to virtue-signal. I’m here to touch the void.

Monday August 21, 2017

Everything in darkness brought to light. Imagine trying to know the world exclusively through shadows. That’d be like reducing the objects of the object-world to nomenclatures and calculations of quantity. My friend’s cat raises his eyebrows as Sarah administers to him his eye drops. I ride out my day to the plunderphonic future funk of “CD Player IV” by death’s dynamic shroud.

My view of the song sours, though, mid-listen. It is hard to put thought out to be observed and critiqued by others. We call that “surfacing.” The hiccuping auto-tuned vocals and stately gait of “Tell Me Your Secret” is more to my liking. The Krull tower sends out information-rich bolts of energy. We call these “signals.” There are characters in this town, remember? I am approaching a narrative crisis involving the naming of names. We’re each broadcasting to one another instructions that become like fate. But actors in supporting roles are beginning to show signs of exhaustion. They bite off their lines mid-sentence; they grow visibly impatient. The typecast communicate their readiness to abandon script. A voice states, “Listen with care to the words as they come to you.” The news media deliberately manipulates and casts aspersions, activating doubt patterns to re-contain the militancy of the political unconscious. I waste an embarrassing portion of my life shuffling awkwardly in line through social transactions with service workers in burrito bars, my performance of self choked with a nameless, incommunicable sense of guilt. Part of me imagines a sense of justice in these workers plotting an underground revolutionary conspiracy without me, due to my failure to establish meaningful authentic conversation with others. I wish I possessed divinely conferred charisma or grace or favor, that way I could lead others through the amorphous, self-transcending midsection of “(BALLAD OF) THE HIP DEATH GODDESS,” the rest of the track discarded as a derivative, Airplane-aping pop-psychedelic simulacrum. Mediocre works are more exemplary than what is best, I offer — a claim I then withdraw for lack of merit. See, for instance, the sentiment organizing Tommy Allen’s “Sea of Same.”

The album art for the album of that name shows the artist as one who floats Indian-style atop action figures poised mid-play. If I were a jukebox, though, the record that would keep playing within me would be “The Worst Band in the World” by 10cc; though I’d attempt to wake myself now and then with eruptive outbursts, as if I set as my alarm Patrick Miller of Minimal Man shouting either “Pull Back the Bolt” or “Show Time!” That’s how I make myself teach.

Sunday August 20, 2017

I release hold of my ego, or maybe I just re-leash it. Emails sound like military bugle calls. The gift of meditation and prayer. The black hole, the abyss that throws up memories. Churches are major structures of social discipline. They create prisons of doubt and fear. But ISAs are everywhere. Clues left behind in the minds of individuals. Drugs can help us release the devils from our brains. Massive criminal conspiracies. Have I mentioned that I became friends recently with a Marxist Baptist pastor? I am excited by the arrival of this figure on the world-stage. Churches remain giants; and as my friend said, “Theology never goes away.” Can churches be reformed so as to help usher in the Kingdom of God? It’s still cops and robbers — but maybe the robbers can act again as Robin Hoods. Perhaps religion is the staging ground for the launch of a new counterpower. We must re-approach the adults who believe the secrets, and for whom the spell has been cast. So many damaged people out there in our midst. Haunted by demons. Survivors of skirmishes in modernity’s and postmodernity’s culture wars. One needs to maintain a distinction, though, between art made for a trip (as a kind of tool or supplement), and art made to re-present in place of a trip. Play “Sensory” by Kill Alters, though, to illustrate reality’s defiance of the above distinction. And follow this with “Ego Swim” as the next phase in our sequence.

What a time to be alive, I proclaim, arms raised to the sky. And the illusion, I should say, looked many-eyed and sang back to me, clothed both in “The Holder” and Do Pas O’s “History of Comedy,” where the universe melts like taffy.

Fierce grotesques profiled as by Diane Arbus. One must command a choir of alternate personalities, each waiting to overtake the others’ transportive ecstasies. Eyes that reveal eyes within. All of us are angels with amnesia, living as humans in the void or simulation we call “embodied presence.” Some of us are pouring fondue on ourselves online. Which makes a lot of sense! Altering, leveling, getting THERE to THAT, begins with our behavior toward one another. It means placing productivity on hold midafternoon. Flip-flops descending a staircase. The world reverberates in affirmation when we allow ourselves entry again to the garden. Calm, deliberate enjoyment as one treats oneself to existence. Uncommunicative, reserved, and quiet, but filled with joy.

Saturday August 19, 2017

Weed affects my perception of my relationship to luck. I find a greater bounty in the bins at Goodwill when I hunt while stoned. And my relationships with others become improvised and more casual. In a word, life becomes serendipitous. The surprise and delight of good fortune can raise my spirit for days to come. Like Horace Walpole, those interested in the phenomenon should read the fairy tale, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” While noting serendipitous occasions, I make no claim that these occasions necessitate belief in a competent cause — though in the midst of the experience itself, I suppose, one assumes this. Sarah toured me the other day through what is now one of my favorite works of residential architecture, Ray Kappe’s home in Los Angeles’s Rustic Canyon. The home as harmonious relation between human and non-human nature. The Strimling House, as it’s sometimes called, with a tree growing through its atrium. House porn is utopian through and through. For cloudform-like extravagance, seek “Live at Goers” by R. Lee Dockery & Smokey Emery.

Astral Spirits is killing it. I’m fascinated, too, by the remarkable self-investigation undertaken in “Note to Self” by Jill Pangallo. Disturbingly aware of selfhood’s manufacture. My most impressive psychedelic aesthetic encounter of late, however, came to me in the form of Eisprung’s “Ivan’s Need.”

Sexuality as synesthetic inner-space fantasia: ASMR-intense, but giggly and filled with joy. And of course, lathered in Freudian condiments. How else shall I conduct my days? Swimming, reading, returning to work under extreme financial duress. I enjoy retiring to the crisp air of my basement on hot summer nights here in the South. The basement is also a place to bunker down — a bit head-in-the-sand-ish, maybe, but necessary for one who thinks of himself still as “from up north.” I relate to life as do the figures in the foreground of Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts’s “Soul and Cigarette.” The singer indulges hints of Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman. ‘Tis the video, though, not the song, that does it for me. When Sarah and I started the Netflix Original documentary miniseries The Keepers the other night, I immediately noted parallels between the show’s initial foci (the 1969 Baltimore murders of Sister Catherine Cesnik and Joyce Malecki), and the murder of Barbara Ann Butler, an event that occurred in Dayton, OH the year prior. William Clark wrote about this latter case in his 1971 book, The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor. Tentatively optimistic, but impatient for connections, the true crime genre holds great potential for cognitive mapping of the social totality. But the crime at the map’s heart must be the crime of capitalism. Whereas the crime at the base of The Keepers is the priesthood.

Saturday August 5, 2017

I listened as a wonderful time-lag unfurled between the sound of my voice and the act of my speaking. As I sat up from my reveries beside a fire-pit the other night during magic hour, the air rich with a choir of cicadas, something in the experience awakened in me a memory of the drunken interplay of voice and sampled sound in the virtual acoustic space of Blonde Redhead’s “In an Expression of the Inexpressible,” a track I hadn’t blasted in at least a decade. Like the spinning double-sided mask in Jean Cocteau’s The Blood of the Poet, one always contains at least two.

“You have but one solution,” says the statue, as one’s hand whispers in one’s ear. “You must enter the looking glass — and once there, you must walk.” When the shadow of what looks like a telephone gets a pin in its ear, I wince and shudder. Through the process of identification, I become other. Through a keyhole, an angel captures me with a spinning Hypno Disk. The poet’s eye is pulled as if by gravity, whereas off to the side springs the Cartesian Ego. Cocteau advises, “Mirrors would do well to reflect more before sending back images.” Like in videogames, creation often requires repeating levels. Have I broken too many statues? I work by associative logic and montage. A small voice beside the pounding of my heart says, “I can’t think, I can’t think!” against the unsynced clapping of a crowd. René Gilson’s assessment captures the essentials: “That which reveals itself is a vision of the invisible.” One must “dream the film subjectively,” by identifying it with one’s own experiences. One may think of it as the equivalent of sensing invisible tapestries with one’s dead antennae. But sometimes one’s own experience is just one’s own experience, as when my head goes nuts to Mariah’s “Hana Ga Saitara.”  Shoulders dance and my neck unbolts into the neck of an ostrich as I hurtle down the air-conditioned carnival of the open road. Sarah packed us a delicious lunchtime feast the other day of salami, provolone, and bread. Our love, like A.R. Kane’s, is from outer space. Clinic’s “The Second Line” enters the transmission, another trance-script classic.

The Left should serenade itself with tales of its stolen pleasures, tools of consciousness used to tack the sails of subjectivity away from the Towers of Capital-Time toward the gardens of Utopia. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins really lets us have it on his version of “Monkberry Moon Delight.”

Catch up, cats and kittens, don’t get left behind. We on the Left should follow suit.