Dark Moons

This is it, the final installment of The Long Night series. Before I prattle on about the background behind the last record on the list, Dark Moons, let me offer sincere thanks for taking the time to read, listen, and maybe laugh along with me during these ten days of darkness. Your time, virtual camaraderie, and support are truly appreciated, so thanks again…. Perhaps I’ll make this an annual thing… my Purge… we’ll see.

Dark Moons had pieces of itself laying all over my Audio Sanctum, scattered like body parts from a date with Jason Vorhees. Some bits were from unresolved ideas, some were snippets originally intended for other compositions, and others were sound beds made for this work in particular. The shit was making me crazy…. er…. Each of these disparate pieces was like an independent entity, all orbiting the idea, all saying slightly different things to me, and all of them seemed to obfuscate their meanings. The one bit they all shared in common was their shrouded natures. Dark moons…..

A new moon, a dark moon, is still up there in the cold vacuum of space, it’s just not generally visible to the naked eye. Whether or not a dark moon can be seen, it’s influence is still felt, tides still rise and fall, it still helps protect the Earth from space rocks, it still affects the Earth’s crust and the magma beneath, and it still drags on the Earth’s rotation. Thus, even unseen our dark moon exerts its effects on our world.

Dark matter could’ve been chosen to serve as my example, for it too exerts its influence without us being able to see or observe it in any fashion save by the most abstract methodology. Nevertheless, in this instance I think a dark moon provides for reflection on things we can sometimes see and other times we cannot. The moon also has a more deeply rooted place in our mythology, at present, than does dark matter. When you interpret information about the moon it is often colorized by its place in your mythology, and here I use the term, mythology, as metaphor for whatever you believe, whether or not that has any connection to actual facts. You mythology might support the opinion that the Moon is green cheese or Chang’e, Hecate or torn out chunk from an impact in Earth’s distant past, a wandering satellite captured by Earth’s gravitational field or Sin, and so on… in the words of the master philosopher, Bob Ross, “you decide.”

The moon is also an example of the cyclic nature of so many things. Days and nights, seasons, a night path that is sometimes illuminated, sometimes not. It is generally easier to navigate a path when it is illuminated, one can more easily see pitfalls and objects that might trip us up. Yet, when the moon is dark, when its illumination isn’t present, we actually see the stars far better. It can be very similar with the navigation of own essence. We more easily navigate immediate hazards when we can fully see them, yet sometimes the fainter things, the things farther away from where we are, are easier to see if we don’t rely on our illumination, but rather seek enlightenment from the unknown, the obscure, and the incredibly distant. When your mind cannot grasp, observe the obscured with your heart, with your essence… this is the place and time of the Dark Moons….

In closing, for this installment and the series on The Long Night, consider that our knowledge does a great deal to guide us, to aid us in navigating both the inner and outer worlds. Yet I posit that the unknown and unformed can also be equally beneficial in our understanding. To walk through a place unknown, a place of dark stillness, is to trust without understanding, and thus trust grows more keen. Stillness can create ripples all around it. A perfectly still rock with water rushing around it creates a flow and a current. Even deep in stillness, you still influence the world around you. Your words, your actions, all leave a part of you with everyone and everything they come into contact with, and that influence is there whether or not your physical self is. Even unseen, like the dark moon, your influence still happens.

This is the substance of The Long Night, to choose not to fear the unknown, to understand the power of creation whose promise can be obscured by illumination and is sometimes born from destruction, to see revealed in darkness who you are, no mirrors, no reflections, to let your existence be confirmed and valued by just being.

Your mileage may vary…..

Finally, for those who celebrate the western New Year, I hope each of you has a (darkly) joyous, safe and happy New Year… Very best…. =)

The Fearsome Isle

The Fearsome Isle was initially inspired by the work, The Fearsome Island, by Albert Kinross, who claimed to have appropriated it from, Silas Fordred, Master Mariner of Hythe. It is a tale of shipwreck on an uncharted island replete with supernatural entities and events, a dangerous mystical castle, and more eldritch things to get into the mind just before a long evening of nightmaring.… the garbled heavily treated voice that dresses some of this auditory dish is, Ruth Golding, narrating the tale penned by Kinross. You can find the original recording on Librivox.org.

I love old tales of times past, and thus I drew from the imagery that the story presented, focusing on the unease, the constant vigilance, the feeling of something not quite right…. and removed it to another place, another time. Whether this place is a worldly location hidden somewhere on the seas of this Earth, some other world in another backwater of our cosmos, or an otherworldly realm glimpsed while scrying the reposed liquid black character glistening on the fluid of the soul, I leave deciding such matters to the listener.

In truth, as is so often the case with these things, the short composition but hints at the stories therein. A story such as this can be repurposed, rearranged, lengthened, abbreviated, and generally applied to a variety of tellings, each more fantastic, or mundane, than the last, building to a crescendo of suspense and myriad endings. My initial inclination was to summarize the work as a whole, and create an overview that touched on the characters, the motivations, and the backstory of the place itself. It was not to be, at least not right now….

Instead, I kept circling back to the introduction of my sonic investigations, almost like trying to capture only the damp of a cave and nothing else. Maybe it’s more of a signpost on the road to some oblivion one is not yet aware of, but whatever its constituent parts or lack thereof, it became about the setting of the scene. The tale as scribed by Kinross became a glimpse into possibility, and for this piece, that became my desire, to set the stage for entering another realm, another plane of existence, not simply another story but a plethora of stories piled high on a mule train of giant worms. Without venturing too far inland, there are shapes, vague impressions of possibilities grown fat with their own potential, yet none so distinct as to demand attention at this primordial juncture. It is standing on the precipice and looking down. The vertigo of this moment whirled about as the vastness of what might be hammered my frail psyche with promises of indiscrete oblivion. It seemed important to simply stand and look without the need to define, categorize, or otherwise attempt to make sense of what I saw, to guess at what could be there…. but also to be wary of traps unseen, of cloying scents and titillating visions, of siren songs and the ignis fatuus, for a misstep at the threshold might cage one’s soul for an eternity on The Fearsome Isle.

detail of cithara (zither)

The eighth installment of this ten part series is about the story behind, Strands In The Mind’s Eye, a record that is a combination of found sound, found broken old instrument, and manipulation of frequencies that may or may not have an effect on the pineal gland… or maybe the third eye…. or maybe the abused beast that is cloaked with the title of the psyche…. can’t remember for sure…. but I digress, which is far from unusual.

I inherited an ancient zither, gifted to me by a friend who no longer had room in their life for excessive numbers of broken and decaying instruments. Initially, I thought it might make for a few good photos or perhaps I might end up repurposing the parts for other projects. The photos were taken, but in that process, before I really paid much attention to the random sounds emanating from the old beast, its essence began to infect me.

During the process of taking the photos the intimacy of the act conjured audio visions of what tunes might’ve been played on this aged construction of wood and metal. Ghostly sounds wafted through my mind like smoke, curling about, taking shape only to dissolve again into something else. While I continued to find other angles and more details that told some of the history this decaying zither, the handling of it was creating little incidental noises, sounds that were at once representative of the instrument’s current state as well as hinting at the ghosts that were trapped within…. my karmic penance for once being a trapper of things roused in dissent, I must free these auditory ghosts!!!

And so I did… The camera was put away and the microphones were brought out. Over the next couple hours I prodded, poked, picked, banged, scraped, and otherwise performed intimate ancient rituals of sound exorcism on the aged cithara until we were both exhausted…. well I was…. the zither seemed no worse for wear in spite of my occasionally heavy handed approach to the exorcism of its old ghosts… Nor was there much, if any, resistance. The old box seemed more than happy to give up or, at the least, share her ghosts with me.

There was a certain reverence emanating from the old zither that began to be revealed during the ministrations, like thoughts stolen by a dream thief, somewhat surreal and fragmented, but taking shape like a phantom revealed by the receding fog…. the travels, from tall tree and unrefined ores to this thing of shapes and sounds, were documented in the essence of the sounds I was hearing. It’s stories, the life it lived, the lives it touched and the life it continues to build upon, were all becoming more defined, revealing secrets I never thought of asking until now.

The next several hours were spent in the audiens laboratorium, pairing the sounds coaxed from the old relic with new sonic palettes and hints of melodic structure, aligning parts, dilating and severing here, contracting and multiplying there… It was a slow build, but in reverence for the source, I thought it best to allow it whatever time seemed necessary to find the Strands In The Mind’s Eye.

Ill Winds Blow

Ill Winds Blow, and that can be a good thing…. a loose paraphrasing of the idiom, “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.” The typical meaning behind the phrase is that no matter what is seemingly bad, someone or something likely benefits from it, and if nothing benefits then it is very bad indeed. I offer the following slightly off-center interpretation: what is perceived is only necessarily the perception of the perceiver, and might be wholly or completely different to another, hence bad could be good and vice versa, when perceived by more than one perceiver, but if all agree on a thing, then it bodes ill. When everyone recognizes goodness as good, there is already evil.

The above is something to perhaps ruminate on while I detail a bit of the background behind the track. It started early on a weekend morning, the sun barely spilling over the shadows of the trees, the air still transitioning from warm blanket of night sounds to the serene sounds of a late autumn morning…. That is, until my peaceful reverie was blasted asunder by howling banshees in the form of an army of leaf blowers…. to be fair, I harbor no ill will towards the workers that were brandishing these screaming artifacts, pushing air, debris, and my serenity along a path to disposal. I accept there is money to be made and that money buys food for full bellies and puts clothes on backs. That said…. really? on a weekend…? at this hour…?

My mind quickly played out relentless scenarios where the people that were paying for this job to be done, who recycle, wear hemp, drive a hybrid, and go to the gym, implode and return to a state of never being… of torturing them slowly while pointing out they could further reduce their carbon footprint by skipping the gym, raking leaves by hand, thereby saving on fuel and vehicular wear and tear while simultaneously not engaging in inconsiderate noise and air pollution being pumped out by the two cycle screaming blower army that howled relentlessly in the pursuit of a pristine yard…  and they’d get a good workout. Nevertheless, none of the scenarios of death, destruction, self righteous indignation, or anything else occurred. Just the ongoing, relentless droning of the blowers… the droning… harmonic overtones, oscillating sounds… I grabbed my recording device…

That device, my iPhone equipped with a Shure MV88 microphone, I laid in the now open kitchen window and began capturing the symphony of hell machines that were rending my thoughts of a mellow morning of contemplation into a torn and bloody mass of twitching sensibilities, open and bleeding, but now with renewed purpose. I recorded this cacophony of howling, sputtering, blue-smoking artifacts, this mechanical murder herding decaying tree matter like some biomechanoid cowboys corralling animated bits of dismembered zombies, for fifteen minutes or so.

Once I got this recording into my audio lab, I laid bare its soul with my instruments of dissection. Here I carved a huge chunk of frequency, there I pitched down the din, and elsewhere time was dilated or stretched. Many more twists, oscillations, filters, and dark rituals later and I had three wonderfully tasty sonic paintings of several seconds each. These offerings to the Lords Of Audio were joined by other tapestries, other sounds that would decorate this space… and eventually, I was thankful for the ill aspected noise that had sundered my early morning reverie.  There is a special kind of joy that comes from changing one’s perception so that even something grating and annoying can be turned into… well, a different kind of grating annoying thing…. but it’s my thing…. Ill Winds Blow.

Leviathan Ship

Of The Kingdom Of Darkness grew from a swan dive down a rabbit hole littered with mythology, largely threaded with tales of the Leviathan. I’m sure there are facets of those stories that have become lodged in Of The Kingdom Of Darkness, but at one point or other the track became it’s own story. The catalyst occurred after coming across a document called Leviathan by, Thomas Hobbes, a deep tome about western statecraft. Part four of the book is entitled, Of The Kingdom Of Darkness, and it tries at length to reconcile christian scripture, secular law, and the common views of the times, and this is decidedly not what the musical work that now bears the same title is about… but it did form  a part of the inspirational ingredients from which this particular sound dish was stewed.

After reading Hobbes book and in particular part four, Of The Kingdom Of Darkness,my original concept of a great space faring being, a living ship perhaps (a whole other rabbit hole awaits there….), a great derelict drifting through the Void, altered to the current concept; the story of the craft’s origin. From whence did this great ship come, what culture, what beings, could create such a ship that I perceived through my mind’s eye?Details of the ship, its construction, materials, decoration, purpose, all became small insights to the place from which this massive vessel was launched. It was ancient,  traveling through the cosmos across untold eras, eldritch symbols visibly worked into the construction, some almost painfully familiar but still alien, as if encompassing a prototype, but also something pure, unembellished, and unflinching in purpose. Like the utterance of the first word, understandable only by the speaker, yet the power of that simple thing perceivable by all who heard it. All these perceptions seemed to change after regarding the vessel for any length of time, much as the meaning of words can change after numerous iterations or a change of locus… focus.

Over the course of many days, or nights, I coaxed ancient tales from this ship that rested becalmed in my mind. The oft fluid and changing shapes of the hands that formed its bow, the length of the crew’s stride, or slither, the unknown lands from which ores were coaxed to the surface, there to be smelted, diluted, flayed, and eventually stretched across the frame of the ship to form the hull’s skin…. The strange stars that these worlds orbited, the spaces in-between that birthed the beings that would navigate on the great ship’s decks, this was the source, the kingdom of darkness…

The kingdom of darkness appears to have no stars that light is sky…. it is cloaked in unending night, stretching endlessly in every direction. Immense in its scope yet akin to claustrophobic in its feeling. This is a place of the unknowable, a place of human ignorance as we are bereft of the senses to perceive what is here. I strive to grasp this place, to hone other senses so that I may know this place. It is impenetrable and will not yield before my pitiful powers to comprehend…. but in a moment of quiet, my struggles to understand subsiding in gentle waves that wash over me, I am changed, relieved from my relentless pursuit to grasp the ungraspable with hands that have no fingers and eyes that see nothing. In that moment it is as if the veil of light is drawn back and darkness becomes us.… and now spires rise across the horizons, filigree dresses the corners of my vision, hinting at the shapes beneath that undulate like a familiar lover’s sigh…. the darkness is abundant with, flowing with, distracting the eye with, even as the heart sings a new melody that, and I relax into, and I need know no more, Of The Kingdom Of Darkness….

The Null Infinite

One of the dictionary definitions of epoch is, “the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of someone or something…” Thus, it is fitting that the track Epoch falls here, for this begins the outward journey of The Long Night, The struggle within, to be formless and to take shape, seeking silence with a mantra of screaming, listening with intention to the mute prophet within, heeding their council as the words of understanding overwhelm and clutter the empty space therein…. and when that din finally subsides, and all is dark, all is silent save the waiting space… so begins the Epoch, the distinctive moment when everything from that point forward can be measured against this sliver of insight…. this moment of clarity, just before we drown in the inundation, the flood of distinctions.

There is no way other than forward, there is no choice but forward, there is nothing but the herald of all the things to come, bristling like an angry rose bush, full of thorns but innately tempting in sight and scent…. forward. And thus forward our journey takes us.

Bearing witness to the the possibilities that are so many, so rich, like a heavy sauce over a perfectly prepared dish, the ideas trying to escape like the steam from the surface fissures…. that is magic, and madness, and majesty…. And so we mark this demarcation in our time, in our being, in our desire… this distinctive period that carries us back to the Yang, You can feel the churning of activity, impatient, just below the surface, seething with creativity and the overwhelming desire to fill the void, the empty space we took such care in making formless. A desire to forge shape, to pound the metal into submission, to bring the heat fanned by the bellows to bear on the ideas that vie for position, making them pliant, into something it was, and is not.

The possibilities unfold like a map to an ancient treasure, the first self, now without form, but hungry to take shape, roars its existence into being, reverberating across the vistas of the mind, with furnace fires fed by the soul of that which lies within. Essence incorporate, giving shape through its heat and definition through its light, through understanding without trying…. and we see…

We see the great seas rise up, on fire, the night suddenly alive with flame, growing, revealing, watching shadows take quick uneasy steps back toward the solace of darkness, and the light grows…. The air grows dry…. the earth cracks, fissures open, the essence escapes, into the world, into the outer darkness, into the great outer void… into the light made from the searing fire of formless pregnant possibility. Just at that moment of realization, you behold the essence of all this drama… It is balance, one helps the other, not competes with, not challenges, nor opposes. They complete the other, they aid the other, they contain all possibility… together…. and in the soft fog that hangs across the scene after the violence of corporeal communion, shapes of that which is beyond hint of another place, a new way, that has always been there… And thus the Epoch….

 

Primordial

Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae. The words are often found in morgues, as a way of saying the that the dead help the living learn their secrets, we can likely assume the means is forensic investigation and deduction, but I suppose necromancy wouldn’t be off the mark either…. Regardless, as it applies to the fourth track from The Long NightDeath Rejoices To Succor The Living, the term carries a more generalized meaning… all things live by the death of another. We all survive and thrive because of the consumption of matter, living or dead…. whether you eat animals, plants, or tofu, whatever it is you’re eating once consisted. or still does consist, of living cells, and to continue in this existence we must consume such things. We are remarkably evolved to feed off of both life and death, but feed we must.

Our choice of matter which we consume and the manner of that consumption are generally driven by necessity and availability. When only bread and water are available, there is no choice beyond choosing to live. Doesn’t matter if you’re a strict no-carb Atkins diet zealot and simply go into seizures when presented with a loaf of freshly baked bread, if you choose to live, bread is a better choice than nothing. I’m not picking on bread, love bread in fact… Just an illustration.

Some of the dead and dying things that rejoice to succor the living might be rejoicing because as they are consumed, so their seed is passed on to the consumer, sometimes quite directly, and thus they, their species, survives… sometimes these seeds end up far from the source, carried to new places by the consuming host, deposited with little thought and almost no effort beyond normal bodily functions. Immobile species like certain trees might end up covering a wide area even though they do not move simply because another, let’s say, highly mobile creature finds their fruits to be tasty morsels…. These mobile creatures leave behind their feces filled with seeds from the fruit that was eaten, thereby increasing the range of the fruit bearing trees, and that in turn provides more food for more creatures to consume, carry, defecate, and continue spreading seeds.

Other species that may not directly consume the fruit might enjoy the taste of the fruit eaters and eat them…. Yet other species don’t directly consume either fruit or fruit eaters (nor eat the eaters of the fruit eaters….) but find edible fungi in the cool dry shade of the fruit trees which now spreads far and wide, steadily increasing the territory of the fungi eaters and due to a strange toxic chemical in the feces of the fungi eater, all the eaters of the fruit eaters catch a virus and die, which causes overpopulation among the fruit eaters, and they run out of fruit to eat. Out of necessity the fruit eaters eat the leaves from the fruit trees, and the fruit trees die, and soon the fruit eaters die as well…. eventually the trees fall and the shade goes away and the fungi dies as do the fungi eaters. Thus the fungi killed itself and everything else in this particular eco system.

The whole point of this happy story of life is to impress that all of us, whether seed or consumer, fungi or fruit, are interdependent on everything else…. What we eat, what we discard, things we ignore out of choice or ignorance, all of it is connected and all can have dramatic impacts on much larger systems. Similar forces caused humans to evolve for instance, and I’ll categorize that as a good thing… And the same processes caused ticks to evolve, and ticks just suck (though I understand wild turkey find ticks quite tasty…). There’s probably not much point in attempting to stop or to too closely regulate anything to keep it from changing too much, nor in creating a utopia of mango groves, as things will change whether we try and stop it or not, whether they are good or not. However, we can pay attention, and we can find a new place with fruit trees that are far from fungi, or maybe we can learn to eat the fungi, once sautéed with onions, habaneros, and smothered in ghee….

And so, after much rumination, Death Rejoices To Succor The Living, was born as an ode to the processes, an expression of invitation, an explanation of the essence of being but one small part in myriad systems, the majority of which I’m generally oblivious to…. but just because I’m not aware, or worse that I choose not to be aware, does not mean the connections and interdependencies cease to be, far from it…. the consequences of consumption are quite an apt metaphor for Death Rejoices To Succor The Living.

 

Folding Moments

“What we observe is not the nature itself, but the nature exposed to our method of questioning.” – Werner Heisenberg

What I thought was there was changed by my method of seeing… Something glimpsed in a dark room is transformed from a eldritch shadow of foreboding to a brilliantly hued smoking jacket hanging on a shiny chrome coat tree by the flick of the light switch. Did the jacket change form and color? No, but in order to observe it more carefully, I wanted to see it in brighter light, and that changed what I saw….

The term, observer effect, may be defined as changes that the act of observation makes on a phenomenon being observed. The act of quantifying, measuring, categorizing, can all be agents of change on many observable phenomena. A particle physicist needs to detect an electron, so a photon is introduced into the mix, and this interaction allows the physicist to detect the electron, while at the same time it changes the electrons path…. Altering the electron to be able to observe it.

In a similar way, something as simple as categorization can alter the perception of something, even though the something itself has remained unchanged. Eggs (seemingly) started out as a good food. In the past, the cholesterol content in eggs had them categorized as a bad food. Now, we find that when cooked properly the cholesterol in eggs is actually good, and hence eggs are again a good food. In all those decades of changing from one categorization to another, the humble egg did not change, only our perception of it did due to advanced understanding of our measuring techniques.

But enough on the scientific methods and terms for now… There are ample volumes from which to glean more knowledge should one desire it.

The third track from The Long Night, The Observer Effect, shares a great deal of it’s existence from something very akin, if not an iteration, of the observer effect. Excerpt from wikipedia: “wired in series or parallel to the circuit, and so by their very presence affect the current or the voltage they are measuring by way of presenting an additional real or complex load to the circuit, thus changing the transfer function and behavior of the circuit itself. Even a more passive device such as a current clamp, which measures the wire current without coming into physical contact with the wire, affects the current through the circuit being measured because the inductance is mutual.” Anyone familiar with synthesis, especially modular synths, will likely appreciate the analogy. The track in question grew from my “journey into darkness,” my annual purge, my yearly pilgrimage that occurs as the long night draws near.

It began by examining, pondering, musing, as these things often do. A (virtual) wire was plugged to an output, to an input, to an output, or sometimes to an end, beginning, or middle… In short, were I actually using physical hardware, the poor sound creation device would have resembled a spaghetti monster attacking a box of lights…. Routing, re-routing, iteration, reiteration. An apt metaphor for life. Sometimes the purpose does not present itself until the intended purpose has grown obscured, all but invisible, draped in new hues, revealing itself to be something so much more (or sometimes less) than it was. Again, an apt metaphor of life.

Voidborn – a word that, for me, references a plethora of definitions. The term, as applied to this second track from The Long Night, means that which is born in the inner void, the inner space of stillness… In a more inclusive fashion, it can mean born in the void of space… As are we all. We are, in all likelihood, descendants of the star, Sol, and although I wasn’t there for it’s birth, I’m fairly certain it was born in the void of space. Thus, there is an analogy between this inner void of the self, and the void into which our star was birthed.

What we are is formed from the formless. A blank. A void. A place resplendent with a lack of features or definitions, the essence of nothingness, and an empty slate…. When I say, “what we are,” I’m not referring to our physical selves of molecules and ordered shapes of flesh and bone, but rather our personalities, our character, our souls, our essence…. This state, like the void state that precedes it, is and will always be ephemeral, as we are in a constant state of flux, redefining what and why, reshaping our demeanor and attitude with the powerful scepter of thought, casting down those pieces that we do not value, elevating those which we deem important. While we may not be able to exert much control over our physical selves, the world around us, or others that share this realm with us, we do have tremendous power to shape that which is within and what we let out….

There is absolutely no reason that we need to be shaped by shit we don’t want, don’t admire, or that bring no joy. What is the point of only following the path cut by someone else? Is it actually easier, does it bring you more joy, peace, or whatever it is that you really want…? Are you simply filling yourself up with things that, like things in a house, simply take up space, you end up walking around, burying under piles of papers, books, or other detritus, only to realize after stubbing your toe on the cast iron pot you were going to turn into a planter some two decades ago…. throw it away, for fucksake…. Leave it behind, gift it to someone who wants it… So, what cast iron thing lurks in your mind, in your heart, in your essence….?

Voidborn is, for me, an audio metaphor for this process of dying, becoming empty, being birthed, and consciously choosing those pieces you want to keep. It’s a struggle, all this birthing, choosing, fighting, and dying of oneself…. Messy business. Yet it is so worthwhile, to thrash about in the pit of your essence, picking up bits of mud to shape into something beautiful, tearing off and casting away the ugly bits… And staying open to being in a somewhat constant state of doing this, for whether we are aware of it or not, this process goes on with us, with everything, all the time. Trying to stay aware of it, practicing at it, continually creating the best version of you that you can conceptualize,. Empty often, and from that void, birth….

Dusk

Over the next ten days I plan to give a short bit of background on each of the tracks that are included on The Long Night. Think of it as a twelve days of Christmas, but it’s only ten days, and it’s about dark things….

The track Dusk is the opener of The Long Night. It serves the purpose of intellectually setting the stage as well as aurally creating a starting point to begin the journey into the long night…. Dusk ushers in the evening, it’s the dawn of the night. It’s a kind of magic time, when the day creatures still linger and the night creatures begin to emerge from the shadows.  Twilight is almost gone, only it’s darker nature remains. Dusk can also be defined as growing dark, and it is with this track, the first track, that establishes our prime subject, darkness growing….

Dusk beckons, but dusk obscures. Senses not usually relied upon come into play. Subtle hints of the coming night are painted in monotones of contrast, often so faint as to be missed, yet slowly defining the shapes that begin to call the night forth. Gradually one relies less and less on familiar senses of sight, and color is barely a hint of shade. As the auditory system ramps it’s collective radar, so to do senses of feel, of position, strain against established norms. In doing so, there are moments of disorientation, or perhaps, reorientation, that resolve into new perspectives, new ways of seeing. If purpose exists here it is to let go, to give up the frail illusion of control that is clung to like a receding rope of light, to let oneself drift, unmoored, into the unknown… a place of ignorance, and a place of exquisite potential.

Embracing the dark is embracing the unknown, not to gorge on the fruits of ignorance, but to learn from it. In the beginning, just being aware is a heavy burden, wrought with a multitude of hesitation and uncertainty. This gives way to understanding, without knowing, to know without the need to understand. A sojourn into a space that one oft tries desperately to repel with fire, with light, with knowledge…. but then you miss the unknowable. Something that can’t be warmed by fire or seen in the light, that defies explanation and category. This is learning to be, without learning anything else. Learning to embrace what you do not know just as surely as you embrace a favorite scent or a well worn book.

Gradually, control is rendered not only mute but unimportant, as are so many illusions we drape across our minds. To know only that you are is a pristine place of enlightenment, rented at high price from our ever more inundated senses. A place of calm, of stillness, but a stillness born of being perfectly in the flow of the universe around and within… The joining of before and after, the absolute majesty of an infinite temporal existence. This is something far beyond the pale, far beyond the trappings of a life rooted in constructs. This is the realm of shadows, of the indistinct, of the essence….

Dusk