Friday, 20 October 2017

LUCIFER RISING - Jimmy Page's chilling soundtrack

Step into the fun house where music, cinema and the occult finally mix.

The music itself is wonderfully perverse: a languid but steadily building Middle Eastern-sounding drone, festooned with evil chanting, tabla, screaming mellotron, a sonically shifting low frequency foreboding ambience and shimmering 12-string guitar work. It’s a mad, diabolical symphony of beautiful evil; a fascinating piece of unconventional aggressively avant-garde music from one of the rock era’s most mysterious living legends, so intertwined in mysticism that he even sent an assistant out to Egypt to buy the 'Stele of Ankh-ef-en-khonsu'. The stele is also known as the "Stele of Revealing" and is a central element of the religious philosophy Thelema founded by Aleister Crowley.

In Rolling Stone’s December 2012 cover story “Jimmy Page Looks Back,” Page said “...there was a request, suggesting that Lucifer Rising should come out again with my music on. I ignored it.”

Guitar World: There was always a certain amount of speculation about your occult studies. It may have been subtle, but you weren’t really hiding it.
Page: I was living it. That’s all there is to it. It was my life – that fusion of magick and music.
Guitar World: Your use of symbols was very advanced. The sigil on Led Zeppelin IV and the embroidery on your stage clothes from that time period are good examples on how you left your mark on popular culture. It’s something that major corporations are aggressively pursuing these days: using symbols as a form of branding.
Page: You mean talismanic magick? Yes, I knew what I was doing. There’s no point in saying much about it, because the more you discuss it, the more eccentric you appear to be. But the fact is – as far as I was concerned – it was working, so I used it. But it’s really no different than people who wear ribbons around their wrists: it’s a talismanic approach to something.
Young filmmaker Fabrizio Federico says the music and Lucifer Risings feel have been a big influence on his new film Loon, ''I think the vibe that they came across is phenomenal, it's eerie and exotically fascinating in that it feels evil. It's a very heavy creation, it's a beast. One day when I get a chance I'm going to replace Bobby Beausoleil's soundtrack and replace it with Jimmy's, he'd like that, him and Kenneth should make peace before it's too late.''

Being able to picture Jimmy in the dark at Aleister Crowley's haunted Boleskine House creating this music has always fascinated in that it feels so dark and hypnotic like a cobra. Where was this different music coming from, in 1972-73 with the speed of Zeppelin's ascent the adrenaline of success mixed with Jimmy's 'Do what though wilt'' evocation on the groove-out to Led Zeppelin III seems to have done the trick. But this music was different to what Page was recording with Led Zeppelin.

Page's soundtrack was finally released in 2012 after decades of it being a sought after prize and one of Led Zeppelin's biggest bootleg's to own. It's the type of album you put on before an Eyes Wide Shut naked virgin scene as she lies down on the alter and the ceremony begins. 
At 31 minutes the soundtrack is a short and sweet spell, entrancing the listener mere seconds into it's first peculiar Moroccan drone, similar to some of Brian Jones's experiments in 1967 on The Rolling Stones 'Satanic Majesties Request' album inspired by the Master Musicians of Joujouka in Morocco and their pipes of pan goat sacrifice. 
Page in his home studio
The band Mao on Federico's soundtrack for Loon taps into this pagan/kashmir atmosphere. ''I recorded the guitar parts at Boleskine House, I had my walkman on with the backing tracks playing along and brought my portable guitar amp into the house and recorded in the burnt bedroom with the pentagram mattress on the floor, which was used as an ouji board by local kids. Then I recorded in the hallway which is still sublime. At one point the toilet flushed by it's self, you can hear it on the mix. I recorded the guitar into my mobile phone, smoked some weed and it's some of the most supernatural music I've ever played.''

Director Fabrizio Federico

Eventually Page’s music escaped in 1981—probably sourced from the magnetic track from an early 23-minute-long “to be continued” print of Lucifer Rising that Anger showed potential investors (I’ve seen this, it’s pretty incredible)—when it hit the bootleg market as “Solo Performances by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant,” a limited edition LP with a green wax seal. Another blue vinyl version was released in a Kabbalistically numbered limited edition. Better quality digital versions started making the rounds on torrent trackers around 2005 and last year Jimmy Page released the music he’d composed for Anger’s film via his website on very limited edition red vinyl that sold out instantly.

Listen for your selves on the extended edition:

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT CHARLIE: 'LOON' the making of a serial killer.

Be weary of how your children grow up. The psychology that goes into the making of a serial killer will always be complicated but what happens when two people whom should never meet cross paths?
17-year-old Charlie and his cousin Georgia lead a desolate life in a small town in the UK.

Even at a young age, life does not offer any prospects for the young people in LOON and we witness the transformation of two emotional, disillusioned, soulless characters become another case of 'folie a deaux'.
History is littered with such cases, most famously:
  • Bonnie & Clyde
  • Ian Brady & Myra Hindley
  • Sid & Nancy
  • Kurt & Courtney
  • Charles Starkweather & Carol Ann Fugate
Films such as Natural Born Killers and We Need To Talk About Kevin have addressed the issue that goes into the making of a murderer. The beauty of Loon is that it takes the primal experimental side Natural Born Killers and the poetic stillness of We Need To Talk About Kevin and transfuses them together. 
In LOON you witness the family environment, even by how the NHS is responsible for encouraging the parents to judge their children and label them under the umbrella of a medical condition. But mix it with delusions of grandeur, unrequited love and a lunatic streak, what you get is a ticking time bomb.

The backdrop of the movie is the state of the nation's minefield that is Brexit, and you feel the seething racism, homophobia and hate of the British working class towards the EU. The film is nonlinear and multilayered by an improvised Cinema Verite style, it is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by an obscure film company (in this case Ants Productions) working with a micro-budget, but using enormous flair and imagination by filming with non-actors and amongst crowds, such as the settings of Dismaland and the unsettling paranormal investigation and Oija board games in a haunted elementary school. 

Charlie brings to mind lone killers who one day snap and go on an uncontrollable rampage such as Charles Whitman, Mark Chapman and Jodie Foster's stalker John Hinckley Jr. A person can change his home, religion and passion but not his family. What this film understands is the root of what creates a serial killer. The invisible puppet master from your past trauma, pulling the strings that creates new tragedy.

LOON will be release on Halloween, October 31th internationally.

Monday, 16 October 2017

VEGETABLE MAN: A Lost Psychedelic Classic by Syd Barrett

Considering Syd Barrett's relatively slight musical output, the absence of "Vegetable Man"  leaves a sizeable hole in his canon, thankfully both songs have finally been released. The former was penned in 1967 as a spontaneous response to manager Peter Jenner's request for a follow up to Pink Floyd's then-recent single, "See Emily Play." Though often interpreted as a self-portrait of his own mental disintegration, it actually vents his contempt for the vapid nature of fame and his own role as a pop star. Delivered with a sarcastic sneer, it's disturbingly direct in its anger.
The name of the song, Vegetable Man, is based on a 1572 painting called Summer by an Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo who created imaginative portraits made entirely of vegetables, fruits, flowers, fish, tree roots and books. Summer featured a composite man made from intricate painted vegetables; a vegetable man, if you will. Syd even appeared in a promotional photo with spring onions tied to his head. The song has also proved inspirational to British underground filmmaker Fabrizio Federico. ''LOON's main character is based on Vegetable Man, he's pilled to the gills on med's and his world isn't real. He doesn't want to think or feel, it's a life choice that many people make.''
According to Peter Jenner, the song was written in his apartment moments before leaving for the recording session. "On 'Vegetable Man,' the description of the person in there is him," he told author Rob Chapman. "What he was wearing, what he was becoming. I was with him in the room when he was writing it. He was in one corner and I was in the other. Then he read it out and it was a description of him and what was going on in his head."

The track was recorded in the second week of October 1967 and earmarked as the band's third single, backed by another Barrett composition, "Scream Thy Last Scream." Promotional videos were recorded for both songs, but their release was cancelled at the last minute for fear that they were too dark. Uncomfortable with the pointed lyrics and troubling imagery, the band also decided to leave both songs off their second album, 1968's A Saurcerful of Secrets.

Though Jenner admits that the songs expose Barrett's fragile psyche "It's like psychological flashing," he's quick to argue in favour of their artistic merit. "I always thought they should be put out, so I let my copies be heard," he said in 2005. "I knew that Roger [Waters] would never let them out, or Dave [Gilmour]. They somehow felt they were a bit indecent, like putting out nude pictures of a famous actress. ... But I thought they were good songs and great pieces of art. They're disturbing, and not a lot of fun, but they're some of Syd's finest work – though God knows, I wouldn't wish anyone to go through what he's gone through to get to those songs."

Monday, 9 October 2017


For better or for worse, In Utero seemed then & now to be the most accurate representation of what it sounded like inside Kurt Cobain's head — i.e., a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't necessarily want to live there. He certainly didn't, as he committed suicide just six months after this recorded swan song was released.

Nirvana's third and final album, In Utero, is fondly remembered by most as an irascible rock classic. But when it was birthed 20 years ago this week — reaching stores overseas on Sept. 13, 1993, and the States a day later — it was seen as a problem child, to say the least.

The original title for the album was I Hate Myself and I Want to Die, which was nixed for being too obviously provocative and jokey, not too prophetic. "That's pushing it too much," said bass player Krist Novoselic at the time.

Cobain naturally drifted toward something less literal and more poetic in the end, and opted for the biologically based title and cover imagery. But for the frontman, biology wasn't just destiny, it was agony. Underground filmmaker Fabrizio Federico has said that his movie LOON is based on the In Utero vibe. ''It's a suicide album, it's your last agonising scream seconds before you pull the trigger, and I wanted the films characters to resemble that scream, I also respect the medication theme that runs through the lyrics.''
As Michael Azzerad pointed out about the album in his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana: “A medical theme runs through most of the songs… Virtually every lyric contains some image of sickness and disease, and over the course of the album, Kurt alludes to: sunburn, acne, cancer, bad posture, open sores, growing pains, hangovers, anemia, insomnia, constipation, indigestion." At the time of release, the author pointed this out to Cobain, and said, "He finds this litany hilarious. ‘I’m always the last to realise things like that, like the way I used guns in the last record,’ he says. ‘I didn’t mean to turn it into a concept album.’”

In the beginning, there was definitely a concept for In Utero, albeit a strictly sonic one: come up with something that bore as little resemblance as possible to Nevermind, the rock 'n' roll-changing triumph that preceded it by two years.
That may sound counter-intuitive, and by most standards — certainly the record company's — it was. But "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" was the last maxim that would have occurred to the contrary trio, who fretted that Nevermind had represented a sellout.

Nowadays, the surviving members of Nirvana are just fine with their landmark album. "It took me 20 years for me to realise Nevermind was a great record,” Novoselic told Mojo this year, “and it was.”
But at the time, their attitude bordered on ashamed. In 1993 Novoselic went so far as to describe In Utero as "a litmus test towards our audience…In terms of mainstream appeal, it won’t have the glossiness of Nevermind.” Cobain's hatred for the sound of the album that had made him beloved to millions was more pronounced. "I never listen to Nevermind," he said in '93." I haven’t listened to it since we put it out. That says something. I can’t stand that kind of production and I don’t listen to bands that do have that kind of production, no matter how good their songs are." The record company, he predicted, was "going to eat my s***. Of course, they want another Nevermind, but I’d rather die than do that."

Friday, 6 October 2017


LOON (2017) Dir: Fabrizio Federico
''It was a tough shoot, there was a major power struggle going on during shooting, non of the cast parted as friend's, we all hate each other. I was even stabbed with a fork during the first week. Everyone has blocked each other on Facebook and the ouija board party was a big mistake.''

Director Fabrizio Federico is an anti-filmmaker, his movies are littered with mistakes, camera blurs and noise but its real life. No script, non-actors and lots of bad blood. 
'There was some major sexual tension going on between the cousins.''

At the core of the film lies a 'folie à deux' relationship between two cousins, 16 year old kleptomaniac Charlie Sheen (who wishes to be called 'Keith' - even though nobody respects his wishes) and his poison minded 18 year old cousin Georgia, who's aggressive, cunning, sexual personality has hypnotised her younger cousin into doing anything she wants ''always do whatever I say, remember that.''

Charlie has a history of petty theft and violent thoughts.

''Charlie was actually stealing in the shopping scenes and we filmed guerrilla style when we got told not to, it's hypocritical that ''they'' can CCTV film us all day long but I cant make my movies wherever the fuck I want, that's why the film looks like CCTV footage.''

These teenagers are racist, homophobic and plain evil in many guises and the film perfectly captures that evil journey through the mind of a lost teenager. ''Political correctness is now DEAD, it started out as a good thing but it's spawned a bunch of liberal minded cry babies who dont know how to shut the fuck up about what offends them.'' 

From a psychoanalysis level the 'pleasure principle' of Black Biscuit is now given over to the 'death drive' theory founded by Sigmund Freud, believing that life's motivation for some is driven by an aggressive desire to self-destruct. An eerie cosmos and an unpredictable place to be, full of ugly faces, tiny monsters and lost souls.

LOON will be release on Halloween, October 31th internationally.