30 September 2010

Some Noise for You

Neil Young's new album, Le Noise, is out. Not only the album, but a companion film also, which has just been released on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU5B53b9ntQ

Yes, a 40 minute video covering the whole album, with some nice aesthetic footage of Young playing, free to view (and listen, obviously) by everyone. Now that's the way to do it. Let the audience really fall in love with the album, the whole album, mind, not just some little samples. What better way can there be to sell records? I'd buy it right now, if I just had the money. A lot of artists and record companies could learn a lot from this. (I hope the video also stays online permanently.)

The album itself is pretty cool. Somewhat experimental, in fact, yet thoroughly Neil Young. It's just Young playing guitars, no backup band, but with some fairly cool post-production effects and stuff thrown in, courtesy of producer Daniel Lanois. There's a couple of acoustic songs, but mostly it's pretty edgy electric material. Neil's still the man.

20 September 2010

Coincidences and Occult Interior Décor

Parallels drawn between various symbols are an important element in occult traditions. Symbolic systems like the Tree of Life, planets and zodiac signs, or the four (or five) elements all correspond to each other, and to pretty much anything you can imagine, from spirits and deities to alphabets, plants or minerals. The more symbols you can include in a talisman, ritual etc. that somehow relate to the object at hand, the more powerful it is. Simple psychology, and perfectly logical.

This preamble really has very little to do with this post, other than (once again) stating my interest in occult symbolism.

So onward: I've got a few anime/manga posters hanging on my walls. Nothing particularly strange about this, knowing me. It's a pretty random selection. There's a Nausicaä poster and a Lum I've had for years. A couple Masamune Shirow posters, plus a Ghost in the Shell movie poster, bought more recently specifically with decorating this current room in mind. Not with any particular plan in mind, simple because I'm a fan of Shirow's work.

However, one day sitting here in the middle of the room, it occurred to me that the five posters correspond surprisingly well to the five elements, as follows:

One of the Shirow images is of a woman warrior pictured against a rather chaotic background. Behind the woman is a flame red bird resembling a phoenix. This is obviously the element 'fire'.

The second Shirow poster has a woman (probably a cyborg) in a more metallic, science fiction environment. In occult tradition the element 'air' is often associated with conscious thought and knowledge, which goes well with the science fiction theme. The woman also appears to have one ethereal wing behind her, which further creates an association with air.

The Nausicaä poster pictures the princess standing by the eye of an ohmu. The shades are mostly brown and earthy, but of course the story itself is enough to create an association with the element 'earth'.

The Lum poster is a dreamy image of Lum pictured against starry space. Space and oceans are of course frequently figuratively linked. The element 'water' is also often associated with dreams and the subconscious.

Last, the Ghost in the Shell poster creates an association with 'spirit' already through the title. The white background of the poster only strengthens the association.

Coincidence? Yes, of course it is, but that's hardly the point.

12 September 2010

Ode to Suburban Helsinki

This is my home,
the scenery of my youth,
and it is Magic.
Where else would you find
grey blocks of flats,
melancholy in the autumn rain,
standing side by side with little houses,
with gardens tended, in bloom,
or wild with hanging Hallowe'en bats long after October,
and patches of green,
a wilderness in an acre,
or a man-made park, exotic, if sparse,
all bound together with winding streams,
here muddy, here sparkling silver?
A patchwork rug,
all Existence rolled into one,
to be taken in
over the course of one stroll.

4 September 2010

Filth, Garbage and Other Junk

This is mostly a procrastination post, and sort of carries on from my previous post. I'm currently sitting in a dark room, nursing a headache and listening to Cradle of Filth. It's been a gloomy couple of days, autumn seems to have suddenly launched a surprise attack on us.

Yeah, Cradle of Filth. Another band I wouldn't have pictured myself listening to just a year back. Some might group them in the same genre as Bal-Sagoth (who I already love, and have written about before), but of course they're totally different, both in terms of sound and lyrical content. (Though I must confess I haven't gotten around to really delving into Cradle's lyrics yet, the shriek style being less than easy to follow without simultaneously reading...)

While I was drawn to Bal-Sagoth primarily due to their wonderful dark fantasy stories and cinematic synth sound, Cradle of Filth's pull was mostly aesthetic. There's something about their crude, dark elegance that appeals to me. There's some decent guitar work mixed in there too. (A few songs, like Coffin Fodder, almost give me NES vibes!)

Though it might sound counter-intuitive, I have a habit of listening to dark, even harsh, fairly fast music when I have headaches. Garbage is a frequent choice, almost to the point I associate the group exclusively with dark rooms, gloomy nights and headaches. There's a part of me that enjoys these melancholy moments, almost revels in them, and doesn't want to let go (assuming the headache's not too bad, of course). A line from Garbage springs to mind, 'I'm only happy when it rains...' (Of course avoiding anything very cheery or bright when you've got a headache is perfectly logical. But it does go a little beyond that, I think.)

I'm sure there was other stuff I meant to write about, but I've been staring at this window for a while now, drawing a blank. So I guess it's time to hit 'publish'.