Off to Oz…Inayat Khan, Crowley, Seth Godin & the new Dost EP!-PART ONE

Hello all,

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Catchy title today yes? And yes it’s true. The new HuDost EP is almost ready for release and has been sent to Be mixed by Mr. Oz Fritz. Final stages!

There’s a mixture of elemental threads that seem to be going into this new music. First off, it’s the first time since working with Malcolm that I’ve returned to the ‘producing helm’. I personally have been oscillating these days between reading ‘Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings on Philosophy Psychology & Mysticism’ and Crowley’s ‘Eight Lectures on Yoga and his new biography ‘Perdurabo’mixed in with a daily dose of Seth Godin & The Daily Show. This all relates somehow and leads up to the manifestation of these new songs that we’re about to unleash on the world.

The inspiration to write this was inspired by and began last week with Oz’s Blog posting called ‘Weaving Threads Part One’ and Part Two with him using Crowley and E.J. Gold’s Bardo teachings to explain how he Works with sound. As we’ve seen in life, there are varying levels of ‘forgetfullness’ and I started to realize and re:member more fully the reason I’ve always enjoyed working with Oz. Even though I’d known and met Oz starting in 1990 during various ‘Death & Dying’ workshops I participated in, we only first worked together when my mid-90s Gainesville, Florida band SERAPHIM was mixing our album ‘Love Light Fire. (WHICH, by the way, is about to be re:released on Open Sesame Music very very soon.) Oz also mixed HuDost’s ‘In an Eastern Rose Garden’ album and the song ‘Waiting’ off of ‘Trapeze’.

The Crowley theme has been present in my life pretty much since my high school friend Dave introduced me to Ozzy Osbourne. Well, I didn’t even know who he was but liked the tune you know…And then strangely  in 1988 when my psychedelic punk band ‘The Smegmas’ recorded our first ‘tape’, we did an experimental noise piece (complete with backward messages) at the end of the ‘album’ and titled it ‘Do What Thou Wilt’. I had read no Crowley whatsoever at that point nor did I realize who he was yet. Go figure.

What Oz communicates here is the basic idea how how he approaches engineering and mixing music and why I have always enjoyed working with him and ‘trust’ him with ours not to mention his level of focus and attention is astounding and masterful. He writes:

“For those who may not know, Crowley called his system of spiritual development, Thelema, an ancient Greek word that means Will. Thelema adds up to 93 in Greek Qabalah. Another ancient Greek word, Agape, which means love, also adds up to 93 in Greek Qabalah. This indicates that Thelema and Agape, or Will and Love, have an equivalence expressed as “love under will.” I think of this as directed, or intentional agape. My own term for this, High Velocity, is the name of the sound engineering company that I work for.”

“Sound can act as a practical weapon against death. The traditional method involves reading aloud to the spirit or being of the person who has recently died. The reading transmits practical instructions for handling the bardo space…….Apart from a human voice reading instructions, there are other ways of using sound to help the being through death. One of the first times I met E.J. Gold, author of the American Book of the Dead he told me that sound can be used to navigate the Bardo.”

All my favorites artists and groups have had this kind of approach and feeling in their music being ‘guiding voices’ leading One through inner landscapes on a voyage through darkness and light whether it be Jon Anderson and YES (“I still remember the talks by the water”), The Grateful Dead (“Let it Be known there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of man”), Moody Blues (“This Garden Universe vibrates complete”) or Steve Kilbey and The Church (“All I ever wanted to see  is just Invisible to me”) (which by the way HuDost covers on this new EP and who by the way was one of my personal influences during the extremely impressionable ‘psychedelic years’).

When Oz and I worked on mixing the Seraphim record in the mid-90s, I was amazed how I could sit behind him with eyes closed completely in the voyager space and say something like, “Ok, so, can you make the voice take a right turn here and go down and enter into that small opening doorway down by that fountain and then once it’s made it’s through can the guitar come pouring out the other side?” and Oz would tweak a few knobs and off we’d go! So much music these days has forgotten about the balance of the inner and the outer.

Oz continues in his blog: (Go ahead and read the whole thing!)

“When a group of musicians is fully present with their music, they are effectively dead to their ordinary lives and personalities. They engage in a form of non-verbal communication, perhaps a form of telepathy, and take a journey together within the spacial contours of the music. I maintain that this musical journey simulates a bardo voyage. Going on a simulated bardo voyage = bardo training. As Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, and Aleister Crowley were fond of saying: We are here to go.”

A recent Seth Godin Blog entry called ‘Avoiding Momentum’ seemed to tie even more threads together. Also back in the 90s, a Peruvian Shaman I was working with at the time told me very plainly and clearly while peaking with San Pedro, “The ONLY thing you have mastered is mental masterbation!” What did I do when he said that? I laughed. A lot. Because it was true and because it was sad and all of the above. What else could I do? He was right. This Seth Godin blog also hit home and made me realize that I have grown a bit since then even though this ‘Avoiding Momentum’ thing coupled with a left over ‘Inevitable doom’ complex has kept things at bay to a certain extent over the years. Godin writes:

“Momentum gives you a reason to overcome your fear and do your art, because there are outside forces and obligations that keep you moving. Without them, you’d probably stumble and fall.

And yet…

And yet many of us fear too much momentum. We look at a project launch or a job or another new commitment as something that might get out of control. It’s one thing to be a folk singer playing to a hundred people a night in a coffeehouse, but what if the momentum builds and you become a star? A rock star? With an entourage and appearances and higher than high expectations for your next work. That’s a lot of momentum, no?  Deep down, this potential for an overwhelming response alerts the lizard brain and we hold back. We’re afraid of being part of something that feels like it might be too big for us.

Hint: it probably isn’t.”

GOD how I relate! Old habits die hard. So yes, it’s constant Work and sometimes slowing down even in the slightest or taking the faintest hint of a break in Work flow feels like momentum is being lost; like the clock is ticking even though we all know time is imaginary. Some folks may even see me as an extremely highly focused productive person, but I have nowhere near the level of concentration and attention toward the Work that I seek and know is possible. For God’s sake, I still can’t seem to sit down daily and learn my guitar scales (after 23 years of playing!) and it’s to get me to read a technical manual….zzzzzzzz.

I’ve yet to mention Hazrat Inayat Khan who seems to currently be the in the center of all of this. I read Inayat Khan daily and will move onward to his book on Mastery next. I feel it’s a living text and all of these threads are weaving together without any effort and continually unfold in synchronicity.

“A musician in India, before playing on his vina, used to greet his instrument saying, ‘You are my life. You are my inspiration. You are the means of elevation for my soul. I greet you humbly. You will stand by me when I play.’ No one can know of its effect except the one who has spoken these words; he knows what life he has put into the object. That instrument which was an object has turned into a living being.

All manner of practices such as invoking sacred names, repeating spiritual chants in a new house, are suggestion and affect even objects. However foolish it may look from the outside, still the fact remains that all things and beings represent life, the one life, although some are more open to suggestion and feeling, and others seemingly less open.”

So yes, we have a new EP coming out called ‘Waking the Skeleton Key’ and yes I’ve begun talking to my guitars and I talk to the songs as they’re being developed. They are living Beings that resonate and give back. Part Two will be coming soon as we go into deeper detail of the new material and progress of the mixing. Oz is mixing away as we speak and it sounds amazing so far. Feel free to share your comments here or with Oz on his blog…..