I’ve never really experienced an altered state. Now, those who know me might think I am never UNaltered… but no, it’s all natural there bub. Let’s just say life has cracked open other doors into that room. Being as music is my life and I relate to everything through it, I can’t help but think about which I’d like to experience in a state beyond everyday consciousness. Somewhere in inner space where one can swim on the sound waves and of color and maybe – just for a bit – lose the line where you end and the sound begins. Yeah yeah I know, just shake it off. It’s not contagious. But dig this – we’re atoms, right? Just like everything else physical, right? And atoms are a couple of little mammerzammers spinning around each other, kind of like – oh I don’t know – a tiny little solar system? Right? OK. That space; that movement. It’s all vibration, friends. It’s only solid to us. And being as that vibration effects vibration (think harmony, dissonance, transference as resonance, nothing physically touching but suddenly that guitar over there is humming to this piano note), music affects us deeper than we think. You still there? Yes, I SWEAR I’ve never tripped; life has been a trip OK? OK.
SO… in that deeper state, with access to that level of involvement with the music filling the air around me and the space around the little spinning doohickeys giving me form, (and – of course – sentiently transcending ALL of that outwards) I imagine I’d like to listen to Alice Coltrane’s World Galaxy album. “Alice Coltrane With Strings”… it’s a dense, layered, lush soundcape and I know somewhere deep it’s beautiful but it’s just on the other side of the line for me. I’d love to REALLY taste it. Same with a lot of the – for lack of a better term – “Spiritual free jazz” of the ‘60s, like all those super cool Pharoah Sanders albums. Coltrane’s A Love Supreme always moves me and is about as “out” as my ear goes, though the occasional Sun Ship experience is enlivening. But I know I’m not getting everything out of it that was put into it. It’s frustrating. I really want to be one with this stuff. Something in it calls to me deeper than my mind can access to answer.
Chanting from all over the world gets me as close to where I want to be as I can get at this time, but there are also other kinds of sonic sailing I’d sign on for. I bet Blue Cheer’s first album Vincebus Eruptum at sufficient volume with a speaker on either side of your head in a dark room would really be something. Count Basie’s big band stuff… I’d weave my consciousness through all those layers of brass. Anthem of The Sun by The Grateful Dead would be colorful I bet. One you’ve probably never heard of that I find a bit vibrationally shifting to begin with is from a band called The Electric Prunes. Mass In F Minor was a slapped-together, studio-musicianed attempt to perform a Catholic Mass in Latin to psychedelic rock with just miles of wailing guitar feedback, that just about broke up the band yet somehow completely transcended itself. If that sounds the least bit like something you’d fancy, go find it and it’ll be your new favorite album. Me? I want to EAT it. I want to CONSUME it and have it shine out of every hole.
Am I the only one? I know I’m only one, maybe one-and-a-half on a good day. While toying with the eggshell in any kind of far out, socks off, Terence McKenna’s balls manner holds no appeal at all – and frankly neither does anything altering, numbing or nodding while my tools are working and I’m still taking on the world - music has always done things for me differently than others. This is why I became its devotee as a young teen and have followed it into the fall. This is why I think about these things. Is there a way to experience it more fully? Am I able to be more present with it? Can I possibly become more intimate with it? Perhaps someday I’ll dissolve into it; I don’t know. But between now and then there are a bunch of instruments to build, Friday updates to write, and probably a carburetor or two to work into their own state of more blissful mechanical consciousness. Have a great weekend and I hope you never look at music the same after reading this… or your “self.” If the genie doesn’t fit back in the bottle, thank me later.
Listening to: Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros Café a Go Go; Aerosmith Rocks; The Brian Jonestown Massacre We Are Radio; long instrumental Grateful Dead jams from ’73; Allman Bros. Eat a Peach.