The Chaos Magick Audio CDs, Volume 6: The Singing Tadpole & Best Before the End of the World, performances by Ray Sherwin & Nigel Mullaney; commissioned by Peter J. Carroll
CD: New Falcon Publications, 1-56184-262-1
The first CD, The Singing Tadpole, contains the poem of the same name, by Thessalonius Loyola, read by Ray Sherwin against a musical backdrop reminiscent of those old meditation tapes – poor sound quality and a twangy instrument in the background, but still sort of neat sounding. Five short electronica pieces follow, with the last titled ‘Nothing is True’ with this phrase repeated throughout.
The second CD, Best Before the End of the World, consists of eight tracks, titled ‘Best Before Sex’, ‘Identified Alien Intelligence’, ‘Unnatural Selection’, Kundalini Me’, ‘Mayday’, Darkbud’, ‘Never There’, and ‘Androgene’, though you wouldn’t know this to look at it. The only place I found the song titles was the New Falcon website. No liner notes accompany the CD – there’s not even a cover. It seems sort of pointless to name tracks then but not identify them to listeners. The music is predominately instrumental, electronic, but fairly laid back. Likely suitable for use in ritual, though one may want to have listen through first before incorporating them into one’s practice.
That said, I’m not certain exactly why it’s dubbed a chaos magick CD set. The Singing Tadpole does weave in a mention of sigil work, but I don’t see that as being exclusive to chaos magick, nor is electronica particularly associated with it as far as I’m aware. Perhaps simply it is virtue of the fact that Ray Sherwin is half the team, and Peter Carroll is associated with it? Either way, it’s a neat set, perhaps more so if you’re a fan of electronica. Personally, while I dig the poem, punk rock better suits my musical tastes and my chaote aesthetic.
The Chaos Magick Audio CDs, Volume 2: Liber Bootleg, performances by Peter J. Carroll, Ian Read, Ingrid Fischer & Charly Brewster
CD, New Falcon Publications, 1561842524
This is an interesting CD set. It is a re-release of some out of print cassettes that were previously available. The first disc is introduced as being a collection of basic magick workings. Most of the rituals on this disc are protective rituals that can be used as alternative banishing rituals. The introduction suggests that some of them can be used for basic personal fortification, protection from nightmares, or from poltergeist activity. It also warns against attempting these rituals while heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The first two rituals come from the Golden Dawn. The first being a version of the qabalistic cross, the second being a “Dispersion by Pentagram”. These are followed by “Mass of Chaos C” and a reading apparently from “Theogony of Hesiod”.
An “Asgard Pathworking” is next, which for me is one of the highlights of CD1 of this set. The pathworking takes you on a journey to Asgard where you must pass Heimdall before reaching Valhalla and having an audience with Odin. This is the easiest of the rituals to follow but some knowledge of runes would be of use to the listener.
Next is “Pillar of Chaos” which aims to improve visualisation and can be used to relax and recharge the individual at any point of the day it may be required. It is quite a simple techniques to follow and I certainly found it relaxing.
“The Mummy and The Mirror” is an interesting guided enegry movement, which uses Egyptian mythology and iconography to help one create a protective shell around oneself. I can myself using this ritual a lot as it is easy to follow and works with a paradigm I don’t normally use.
“Green + Black” is an odd ritual that could do with a lot more explanation before I could say much about it.
The cd finishes with a basic gnostic banishing ritual.
All in all I think this is a very interesting CD that could be very useful for the Chaote to get inspiration for new workings if they feel their practice is getting a little stale. The introduction to this cd gives the impression of being an introduction to magickal practice. I thing it does have the potential for this but most of the rituals are not fully explained, which would leave the novice wondering what is going on. If this had been accompanied by a short booklet explaining each track then I would highly recommend it to novices.
CD2 in this two CD set is much better in my opinion. The introduction gives much more insight into what is to follow. It states that the rituals presented are only presented as a historical record of the practices of the individuals at the time of recording. It also suggests that invocation and evocation are exercises not suitable for the beginner who should begin with the other disc.
The first ritual on the disc is “Mass of Chaos B”, which is the mass of Chaos published in “Psychonaut” by Peter Carroll. I always find it fascinating to hear others performing rituals that I myself have engaged in and this is no exception.
The next track is “The Enochian Call of the 10th Aethyr”, which is quite drawn out and is one of the least interesting tracks on this disc, though it may appeal to those iwth an interest in Enochian/John Dee.
“Disursus Cum Daemone” is an invocation of Choronzon to ask advice. Invocation is an area I haven’t yet experimented with so this made for interesting listening. This ritual and the one that follow it are the highlights of CD2, in my opinion.
The next ritual is “Evocation of Tiamat”. For me this is the best of the historical records on this disc. Tiamat is invoked to give advice for the Chaotes present. Tiamat comes across as quite funny and is obviously enjoying the experiment and amused by the humans. This track on the CD alone is worth the money for me.
“Target Practice” is another ritual that is not given much of an explanation but is an interesting listen all the same.
The CD ends with a “Chao/Runic banishing”, which is quite basic and could be useful for those looking for ideas for a personal banishing ritual.
This CD of the two probably offers the most to both beginners and old-hands at the magick game. With the fuller explanation at the beginning of the CD novices will have more of an idea of what is going on and be able to see what kind of things are possible if they stick to their magickal practices. More experienced magickians will get the benefit of hearing other people performing rituals that they may include in their own practice. They may even pick up some different approaches. A couple of the tracks are just entertaining hearing the interactions between the magickians and the invoked beings. I’m glad these cassettes have been re-released in cd form and are more readily available.
If I were to give this a mark out of 10 it would have to get a 7. This would be improved by the inclusion of a booklet explaining some of the nuances of the rituals presented.
Sacred Sounds of Santeria: Rhythms of the Orishas, by Raul Canizares
CD: Destiny Recordings, 1594770026, 60 min, 2004
This CD is a reissue of a previously issued cassette tape. It is not likely to appeal to a large audience, since it consists of songs to the orisha of Santeria (or Lucumi as it is sometimes called). There are no translations provided.
The liner notes provide a bit of background and recommendations from a Cuban high priest on who could benefit from each of the songs included in this collection.
The songs are divided into two sections – those recorded in the studio and those recorded “in the field.” The recordings, therefore, vary in quality. The studio versions have much more polish and consistency, while the field recordings are not as crisp and sharp. For all of that, the field recordings come across with a certain level of power and immediacy that the studio sessions just cannot convey.
For those who have an interest in this faith, who have never actually attended a ceremony, these songs and rhythms can begin to give a feeling for the energies involved. For those who are occasional participants in the ceremonies, these recordings can serve as a reminder between attendances.
Because these songs were recorded in Cuba, and are primarily in the language of the orisha (various African-derived dialects), they can be used as a meditation tool without distracting the conscious mind by easily understood lyrics. One can allow the sounds and rhythms to carry one along.
One word of warning may be appropriate with reference to these songs. They are designed to invoke the orisha, so they may “ride” their followers. The orisha expect to possess their followers, and even when they don’t do so, the power of their presence may be unsettling (and/or overwhelming) if you are not used to it.
This disk is a welcome addition to an all-too-small group of readily available recordings of “traditional” or “indigenous” music. There is a need to preserve these songs and rhythms, and the technology available today should make this easier to accomplish. Field recordings offer a better feel for the culture they come from.
Mr. Canizares has added a few non-Lucumi songs, also recorded in the field. These are from faiths which are related to Lucumi, and share the same sense of power. There is an instance of a song in Spanish (after all, Cubans do speak Spanish in their daily lives), but most of the songs are untranslatable to the average listener.
The CD is enjoyable on several levels – as an example of Afro-Cuban music, as a sampling of the power and majesty of Afro-Cuban religious expressions, and as background when reading material relating to the Lucumi faith (such as Mr. Canizare’s excellent Cuban Santeria). While it isn’t for everyone, it can certainly by an eye-opening experience if you allow it to be.
The Best of Pagan Song, by Serpentine Music
CD: 0247710042, 2004
My 23 year-old daughter and I have many differing opinions, and we often agree to disagree on things, but as soon as she saw this CD, she asked if she could give it a spin on her player. Looking over the play-list she cheered the inclusion of “Burning Times” (Charlie Murphy), “We Won’t Wait Any Longer” (Gwydion Pendderwen), “Christians and Pagans” (Dar Williams), and “Magick” (Gypsy). Then she started reading the liner notes and discovered that “Every Woman Born” (Ruth Barrett) was written in honor of my daughter’s Fairy Goddess Mother’s (Z. Budapest) 40th birthday. Needless to say, that made her day. [See her impressions attached to the end of my review]
The hour’s worth of music on this disc runs the gamut from irreverent to deeply moving (kind of like the spread from Discordians to family traditions). As such, it is a great metaphor for the Pagan movement in its entirety.
Although there are some songs and artists I am unfamiliar with, many of them are old favorites I have worn out copies of tapes and LPs with, and by, some of them. I have, as a result of listening to these wonderful songs revised and expanded my “wish list” of albums to add to my collection.
I have to agree with my daughter’s comments and evaluation. I must say I look forward to exploring the catalog of Serpentine Music. I am sure I will find more treasures waiting to be discovered.
Sheri’s Comments: A magnificent compilation for ritual, parties, or even a teaching tool. Old timers like me will find this a wonderful reminder of why we have come this way and why we’ve stayed. Newbies who may not be aware of our universal presence in the arts will most likely find themselves inspired to pick up the standard. All said, it’s just an incredible album. Whether you’ve been an initiate for 30 years or a student for three months, “The Best of Pagan Song” affects all that connects to the self, the Mighty Ones, and to the universal Pagan community we can all achieve if we believe in ourselves, each other, and the Lord and the Lady.