Sunday, November 24, 2013

Spanish Absurdity

Imagine being a "master" of the old world; an artist with the vision who has lived through French and Spanish revolutions/civil wars, and is in the century on the brink of the 20th century.  Being a contemporary of idiot kings, Napoleon, military depravity and savagery, witchcraft hunters, and a non existent family support, what would you do? If you are an artistic genius who has painted Spanish royalty,atmospheric tapestries, and historic snapshots of historic revolutions, what do you do?  Well, if you are Francisco Goya, you move into a house and begin work on the "Pinturas Negras", or Black Paintings.

I was fortunate enough to visit Madrid and Del Prado in high school, and immediately searched out the Black Paintings.  The paintings were made with oils directly on the walls of Goya's house, affectionately known by the locals as the "Quinta del Sordo", and being burnt out on mankind and its depravity, Goya put some of the most interesting pieces of work into the consciousness of humankind.  Demonic?  Demented?  Sure, but also likely an accurate representation of one artist's state of mind of the world prior to all the horrors of the 20th century.  Goya never intended the paintings to be seen by the public, so the state of mind Goya must have been at when the paintings were made was likely infatuated with the absurdity of the times. So, dear friends, I give you my personal favorite five Black Paintings, in order, with my first impressions that have stuck with me for a very long time.  I'd be interested in getting others first impressions as well - so please, leave comments, if you feel so inclined.  Here we go!

Up first, "Saturn Devouring His Son". Not much really to say outside of the Greek legend regarding Cronos and his consumption of his children for fear of losing his life and legacy.  Demented and a favorite of others in my high school class way back when, this one is too visual for me.  I see a ton of insecurity and insanity in the eyes of the Cronos/Saturn.

Next would be "Two Old Men Eating Soup".  All I could think of when I first saw this was the scene from Texas Chainsaw, wherein the family of Texan inbreeds carries a decrepid/rotted grandfather down to a family meal regarding a young, attractive blonde woman. I certainly thought the grandfather in "Texas" was dead, but was disturbed when he began to move when the group attempted to crack open the blonde's skull. I can only think that a similar situation occurred in Goya's vision almost 200 years ago.

What to think here?  "Fantastic Vision" screams of a Utopian ideal in my mind.  Set amidst Naopoleanic warfare nonsense, two figures are pointing to a fortress high above the insanity of death.  The imagination can only provide an answer to the figures ability to levitate, and to what the fortress holds.

Ah, the "Witches Sabbath".  What an interesting piece.  This one takes up an entire wall at Del Prado and any online/print reproductions really do it no justice.  Quite the scene; a goat/demonic entity that has been summoned by cowering humans.  A young, innocent girl at the right; a sacrifice?  A dead nun protruding from the ground immediately to the right of the of goat-like entity.  So much fear and despair in the audience, but an audience willing to be present, nonetheless.  One of nightmares, this one screams of the horrors in our psyches.

And finally to my favorite, "The Dog".  This one screams so much to my senses.  Alienation, desolation, loneliness; you name it, this one has it.  So simple yet so powerful.  A dog looking at something but is alone on a beach or a slope.  Years later, after discovering Joy Divsion, I always thought this one would have been a great album cover for the great Manchester group.  How do all of us not, at one point in our live, feel like the central character of this great painting?  A true masterpiece that never fails to deliver.

So that's it.  I hope to do a similar top five of Goya's etchings in the future.  Goya has always been a favorite of my artistic library; I hope others will find similar beauty in his works.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition"

I was trying to find a video to post to this blog that I had heard a while ago on Greg Bishop's Radio Misterioso...something about Skymen, so I naturally began to "google around" in search of the song. I was hoping to read a bit about the song writer's biography, and somehow I ended with a Roky Erickson and then a Joe Meek play list on youtube.  Joe Meek - of course!

I am a terrible juke box hog when I'm out on the town, and one of my favorite "inebriated" classics I love to play ahead of the young kid's music today is the Tornado's Telstar.  My parents had a bunch of instrumental recordings in their basement, and my brother and I spent hours listening to Telstar, Duane Eddy, and Dick Dale and the Ventures.  Of course, Joe Meek was the guy that composed Telstar.  He also was the guy behind the Honeycomb's "Have I the Right" production; another favorite of mine. As I kept flipping through a Joe Meek playlist, I then found this gem which I had not heard before.  Behold Night of the Vampire with some slick editing.

And so it goes that the Moontrekkers' electronic hit "Night of the Vampire" from 1961 was banned by the BBC in that bygone day and age due to the nature of the music.  Definitely an early 60's gem.  Meek apparently had the chance to work with the Beatles, Bowie, and even Rod Stewart, but declined.  I find that odd; Meek was somewhat of an occultist who had "come down" from a seance in the 50's with knowledge of Buddy Holly's death.  He went so far as to warn Holly; but the advice was not taken.  If Meek had been privy to the ether, one would think the Beatles and their early chord progressions would have stood out to Meek.  Not to be (but quite a fantastic team the group would have been).

So now I have to find a book on Joe Meek and read more. His music definitely brims with astral energy and geometry.  Could there be a mystic quality to his work?  I have no idea, but will definitely search it out.

Oh yes, and the Skymen song was recorded by Geoff Goddard.  I found that through a Joe Meek playlist as well (of course again!)  As the UK's Guardian puts it, Goddard  :
was the soul, in-house composer, general factotum and eminence grise of record producer Joe Meek's RGM Sound. Operating out of a tiny flat-cum-studio in north London's Holloway Road, RGM was a cauldron of other-worldliness, funfair vulgarity, tunes drenched in echo and technical innovations that changed studio procedures forever."

So many things tying together this blustery November Saturday afternoon...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Blundering in Where Angels Might be Terrorized

One of the best list of UFO related axioms I have ever read comes from Trevor James Constable and his work "The Cosmic Pulse of Life".  Among the list, Constable's working hypothesis regarding UFOs includes:

  • UFOs are spaceships, but their vibratory makeup is not fixed in the physical material density; they are mutants
  • UFOs have their main existence in a density that is invisible to human beings of normal vision
  • There are normally invisible living things in space that are not spaceships
  • Space is filled with primary energy currents of which existing earth science knows nothing
  • Infrared film, exposed between dawn and sunrise in high, drive locales will frequently objectify invisible objects of various kinds living in a passing through the atmosphere
I'm still not quite through the book, but I continue to find Constable's work absolutely fascinating.  His approach and exercises continue to be amazing (although I have yet to attempt to burst a cloud).  Of course, having a western scientific minded approach to such things begs the question : wouldn't it be excellent to have an area of the globe that etheric and orgone experiments could be held with complete experiment objectivity?  Well, I believe such a place may indeed exist : Hoia Baciu Forest in the country of Romania.

Again, Ghost Adventures provides some very synchronous experiences in respect to the life of this blogger. On their recent Halloween special, the trio traveled to Romania to investigate the locales of the Vlad the Impaler, but more interestingly, decided to investigate Hoia Baciu Forest.  During the show, images photographed by 1960's Romanian military technicians were displayed; a couple of the images immediately struck me as being of the "sky critter" origin.  The group even encountered and replayed a famous Keelian orb; a sphere that changed in size, changed colors, and then disappeared from view.  The orb was luminescent enough to bounce light off of nearby trees and branches.  

Of more interest is another paranormal "reality" show's experience in Hoia Baciu.  The SYFY show Destination Truth also encountered bizarre lights in the tree line, as well as a frightening encounter with an invisible force that literally knocked an investigator backwards.  Quite an episode; I remember the cast looking quite disturbed when investigating the area.

So where does that leave the discussion?  Could it all be hoaxed?  Of course it could all be fake.  However, I would highly recommend readers to watch both the Destination Truth episode and the Ghost Adventures episode for starters.  I would also recommend readers to look at the photographs of Emil Barnea and Florin Gheorghita on the web.  And without a doubt, please read the works of Meade Layne and Constable.  I have no doubt (again, just my theory; I don't have proof) that the energy behind the occult and the ufo phenomenon are one in the same.

Should this author have the opportunity to win the lottery, I will most certainly put a call to volunteers to assist with the purchase of equipment, the design of experiments, and to travel with me to perform a legitimate study of the Hoia Baciu Forest.  Don't expect a Nobel Prize, but the work would no doubt peel a layer away to the true realities around us all.