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INSIDE COVER “THE ECSTASY OF SAINT TERESA” BY LORENZO BERNINI (SANTA MARIA DELLA VITTORIA, ROME)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN MELOMANIAC MAGAZINE ARE THOSE OF THE RESPECTIVE CONTRIBUTORS AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY SHARED BY MELOMANIAC AND ITS STAFF.
MELOMANIAC VOLUME 1
ECSTASY EDITOR IN CHIEF / CREATIVE DIRECTION
PATRICIA M. MEDICI EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
MARIANA CARDENAS COPY EDITORS
FIONA MA ANDREIA PEDRO CONTRIBUTORS
LESHA BEREZOVSKIY HASAN BITIRIM LASSE DEARMAN CLARISSE CHEVAIS VICTOR CORDERO LAURA HINMAN SERGIO MEJIA SUSAN WALSH
THANKS TO ANDREW TUCKER, GLENN WALDRON, SOLJANA CILI, MARIA CHAIT, ANTHONY MILLIGAN, THE LONDON RADHA KRISNA TEMPLE, IAN STONEHOUSE, ELLA WILLIAMS,
TRADE EAST, FRIENDS AND FAMILY. MOM & DAD.
Have you ever been to a concert and felt so transported by the music, that you actually forgot where you were? Or perhaps you’ve resorted to deep prayer at a difficult time and felt the hand of god literally guiding you? This overwhelming feeling of joy and transcendence is usually known as ECSTASY. We have dedicated this first issue of MELOMANIAC to exploring how this otherworldly feeling can serve as a connection between music and religion from many different perspectives. In order to do so, we have divided the issue in two parts: INFORMATION AND INTERPRETATION. For the first part, we sat down with audiologist Maria Chait, for an explanation on the way we process sound and how it can be used to create mystical experiences in HEARING 101; followed by interview with Tomatis Method expert Ella Williams on the psychological and spiritual effects of perceiving higher frequencies in LISTEN UP. Then we marched around Oxford Street, singing for enlightenment with the HARE KRISHNA; and tackled the question of whether music can serve as a replacement to religion, in GOD IS IN THE RADIO. Finally, we embark on a “trip” to the beginnings of psychedelia in TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP OUT to uncover the relationship between drugs, ecstasy and rock music. Since both music and religion are extremely personal subjects, we thought it would be fitting to dedicate the second part of the issue to personal analyses. This includes everything from a mockup 7th Grade assignment from (in CORPUS CHRISTI), to a modern interpretation of a greek myth (EURYDICE’S SONG); dealing with subjects that range from raves as sites for escapism (ESCAPE), singers as prophets (MARCHING CHURCH), to society’s decline (SYMPTOM OF MORAL DECAY). Finally, we have included a carefully curated playlist (available on Spotify) aimed to accompany (and inspire) you in your personal journey through these pages and ideas... WE HOPE YOU ENJOY MELOMANIAC! PATRICIA M. MEDICI
GOD IS IN THE RADIO
24 TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP OUT
SYMPTOM OF MORAL DECAY
As human beings, ears are one – or technically, two - of our most valuable tools, regardless if we are music-lovers or not. They are responsible for things like balance and spatial awareness, but most importantly HEARING. In order to talk about the emotional impact of music, we need to understand sound perception; and we can’t do that without first understanding how hearing actually works. Hearing, much like every other sense, is a reflex impulse, something that comes naturally to us, rather than a learned behaviour. The fact that we are able to listen involuntarily may lead us to assume that we know all about it, but the human ear is a very complex organ. I sat down with Dr. Marie Chait, head of the auditory cognitive neuroscience department of the Ear Institute, at the University College of London (UCL), to have a conversation about the mechanics of hearing, sound processing and how music can trigger mystical experiences... You may think you’ve heard it all, but there’s much more to ears than you though.
HOW DO OUR EARS WORK? Sound enters your ear, which makes the eardrum vibrate and because it vibrates, these three little bones that are attached to the eardrum, called the Auditory Ossicle, get pushed in and out. It’s all a mechanical process, you can think of it as a series of strings, much like an instrument actually. So, because they vibrate, this little window pulls in and out, and that allows for sound to go into the cochlea, which is essentially where hearing happens. If we unfold the cochlea (which is a little snail-shaped structure), we would see a membrane similar to a sheet, called the basilar membrane. When the eardrum, and the three little bones move, they change the pressure in the cochlea and that makes the membrane inside of it vibrate, a bit like when you’re making a bed and rearrange the sheets, so they ripple. Depending on where the vibrations happen you get different pitches and frequencies, progressively going from high to low. There are little cells, that look like tiny hairs, (which is why they are called hair cells). As the basilar membrane moves, it rubs against the tectorial membrane, which is located on top, and as they rub against each other the hair cells bend. This generates a chemical reaction that triggers an electric spike that then gets sent to the auditory nerve. That’s essentially the beginning of hearing. It’s where mechanics like sound, energy and pitch are transformed into electric signals, which the brain then processes.
WHY DOES HEARING LOSS HAPPEN? Hearing loss basically happens when the hair cells get damaged, and die. If you are exposed to loud sounds, like a concert for example, the strong vibrations make basilar membrane rub really hard against the tectorial membrane, thus causing erosion, and breaking the hair cells. Once they’re broken, they will not regenerate, so you loose permanently loose the ability to perceive that frequency.
CAN WE PERCEIVE DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES IN EACH EAR? No, you can only perceive different frequencies in each ear due to hearing loss. The inner structure in our ears, although symmetrical, are completely independent. There are various reasons why you may get hearing loss in one ear, and not on the other. We have inherent hearing loss as we age, which is sort of symmetrical, but there might be slight physiological differences between the ears, so it is possible that one ear may be able to pick up a broader range of frequencies than the other, but it’s not a natural characteristic.
SO WE MAY UNDERSTAND THINGS BETTER DEPENDING ON THE SIDE WE HEAR THEM? There is solid evidence that at least the linguistic systems are located on the left hemisphere, and we know the processing in the brain is crossed, so if you listen to speech, then presenting it to the right ear would be better than presenting it to the left, but that has as much to do with attention, than it does with sound perception.
WHAT IF WE LISTENED TO TWO COMPLETELY DIFFRENT THINGS? HOW WOULD THAT AFFECT OUR PERCEPTION? Actually, I’ve recently been approached by several journalists about bi-neural beats. That’s the scientific name for this strange kind of sound that you can create by misaligning the audio input into the two ears. There’s been a lot of claims about how this can lead to outer-body experiences or improve concentration, but there’s still no proof of this on a scientific level.
SO WE COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE BY ISOLATING THE EARS? The thing about sound, is that, because it affects us so deeply, it’s very easy to create new experiences, especially over headphones, by changing how sound is perceived. In reality, most times, the sound that we receive in both ears is relatively similar because there is a central source. With headphones, you can generate unnatural experiences, by misaligning perception, but it’s essentially just the body’s inherent reaction to strange sounds.
WOULD YOU SAY IT’S MORE OF A CHEMICAL REACTION THAN A PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE THEN? We know that music activates these very deep structures in the brain that control parts of the body that secrete hormones that affect how we feel, so music is very deeply engrained in generating emotions; which is why there is a strong relationship between music and spiritual experiences.
FROM A SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE, DO YOU THINK THERE IS DIRECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MUSIC AND RELIGION? There are numerous artifacts that prove that generating sound is something that has accompanied human evolution from the earliest point, and there is a hypothesis that music serves as a means to create human communities. Aside from that, if we look at historical facts, all religions have used either communal singing, instruments, or gathering in places with lots of echo. I think that’s where the more scientific or technical connection lies: in the echo.
BECAUSE IT ALTERS THE SOUND EMISSIONS... Echo is basically sound bouncing off of surfaces, so for example, you would hear my voice coming into your ear, but then it bounces off the wall and reenters later because it travels along the trajectory. Depending on how the sound gets modified as it bounces off surfaces, it might change completely from the original source. Temples have always been constructed to create the illusion of sound coming from several different places simultaneously, therefore creating a sense of something grander, which usually triggers feelings of divinity or holiness. In the end, it all comes back to processing.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;...music is very deeply engrained in generating emotions; which is why there is a strong relationship between music and spiritual experiences.â&#x20AC;?
Ella Williams is the visionary music consultant and therapist changing the way London listens. The former Opera singer and stage performer, has been using the TOMATIS METHOD to recalibrate ears of all ages, in order to address issues ranging from speech-impediments to lack of inspiration. A Tomatis patient herself, Elita – as she is known by her clients – preaches the life-changing benefits of music therapy from the Listening Centre London, which she established in 2001.
It’s a particularly foggy morning in London.
bit of a hypnotic trance, so you start to loose
Mrs. Ella Williams has agreed to meet me at
consciousness and get into a sort of hypnotic
the Listening Centre London, located on 15
state. It’s not necessarily bad, but it isn’t very
Highbury Hill. Judging by the name, I circle
the block a couple of times, looking for a starch-looking establishment, until I hear
Mrs. Williams came across the work of Dr.
a sweet voice calling my name from a vine-
Tomatis while performing as an Opera singer
clad brownstone. After only a few minutes,
in Sydney.Fascinated by what she read, she
it is clear to me how someone would feel
originally underwent the therapy as a way to
comfortable opening up to Mrs. Williams.
improve her singing, but instead experienced
There’s an innate sense of harmony to the
a life-changing transformation. Based on her
way she speaks - a possible evidence to the
own results, she decided to pursue studies to
efficiency of her practice.
become a consultant at the Alfred A.Tomatis
The first thing I notice upon walking into the
Foundation in Lewes, East Sussex, before
Listening Centre, is how homey it feels. With
relocating to London, where she established
books and paintings scattered amongst plants
The Listening Centre in 2001.
in turn-of-the-century planters, the room
feels more like a Romantic’s apartment than
a treatment facility. That is, until she informs
Tomatis in the early 1950s. It involves a series
me of the strict no food, drink or cell phones
of controlled listening sessions (usually of
works by Mozart or Gregorian chants), carried
As soon as we sit down on the terracotta
on over the course of several weeks, divided in
upholstered chairs, Ella – as she asks me to
2 or 3 stages. The main purpose of this system
call her- dives eagerly into explaining what it
is to imitate the initial development of the ear,
is that she does. “The Tomatis method is about
tracing it back to the womb, in order to allow
recalibrating the ear to perceive different
for a “sonic rebirth”. Specialists believe that
frequencies” she goes on “modern music
simulating the sounds we heard in the womb,
often lacks high frequencies, so whenever
provides us with a sort of auditory blank
you get something that’s very repetitive, like
canvas, that in turn lets us revert any hearing
techno music for example, it’s very much a
problems caused by psychological trauma.
low pitch sound, which actually puts you in a
“Sometimes the most insignificant things can
LISTEN UP “Sometimes the most insignificant things can cause ear problems or trauma.” Williams explains. “Maybe a new sibling is born, or we experience a situation that generates anxiety when we are young. The way we deal with this as children, is often to close down the development of our ears so we don’t hear about the issue. By doing this, we’re defending ourselves; it’s a subconscious defense mechanism, however if we don’t address it, we are most likely stuck with this limitation forever.” According to Williams, most of her patients experience a sense of freedom, of being more empowered, inspired and overall happier after the treatment. Some even claim to have had profound spiritual experiences both during and after the sessions. She says this has to do with the increased sense of awareness you get from recalibrating the ears: “When your ears aren’t operating in a higher calibration you can get great information come your way, but it can’t be really utilized. So opening the perception, definitely accelerates any spiritual journey exponentially, which lets us ascend into a greater version of ourselves.” As incredible as this may sound, it makes complete sense considering the different (less obvious) functions ears perform. Aside from their essential purpose of hearing, our ears also control things like balance, depth, spatial awareness and even our ability to perceive colour. Yes, COLOUR. From a physics point of view, colour is the result of combining light and wavelength (or frequency). These frequencies are too low for us to hear, so they’re perceived as electromagnetic impulses rather than as sound waves. In other words, even though we can’t really “hear colour” inherently (that would be synesthesia, which is a completely different thing), we can still pick up the intensity of a shade with our ears. So in turn, recalibrating the way we listen, would literally affect the way we see things. “The intensity of colour and textures takes on a new life.” Williams carefully points out “In Buddhism they talk about how basically everything is an illusion created by fast moving particles. I would say Tomatis brings you to the brink of that perception, where things seem to be alive.” And with this, I’m left to wonder if perhaps, to her patients, Ella Williams is as much of a spiritual guide as she is a music therapist…
HARE KRSNA HARE KRSNA HARE HARE KRSNA KRSNA HARE RAMA HARE RAMA 21
Have you ever walked down Oxford Street in London or perhaps Union Square in New York, and noticed a jolly group of people in orange wraps singing and playing instruments on the street? (Let’s be honest, they’re quite hard to miss.) Not only did we see, but we sat (and sang) with them: Here’s all you need to know about the HARE KRISHNAS.
Let’s start with the basics: HARE KRISHNAS ARE BUDDHISTS. Buddhism is a religion and philosophy that originated between the 4th and 6th century BCE in India, from where it spread through much of Asia. It includes several different variations, beliefs and spiritual practices that center around the idea of “enlightenment”. In Buddhist philosophy, “enlightenment” refers to the point in which a person comes to terms or encounters the absolute truth in life. The interpretation of this term varies within the different denominations of Buddhism; however, it usually stands for a state where wisdom is achieved in terms of selfawareness and acceptance of the world as a whole. Sounds quite overwhelming, doesn’t it? Luckily, this is precisely why the Hare Krishnas sing: as a sort of wake-up call for all of those who remain “asleep”. The Harinama-sankirtana (the congregational chanting of the names of the Lord) or Hare Krishnas are one of the most popular and iconic schools of Buddhism. You may recognize them from seeing the followers –the jolly group of people we mentioned before- out in the streets, dancing and chanting the mantra Hare Krishna, accompanied by mridangas (two-sided drums) and karatalas (hand cymbals). This tradition centers around the idea that Krishna’s holy names hold a strong mystical power and therefore, their sound vibration can reawaken a person to his or her spiritual identity and existence; think of it as pumpup music for your soul. Jai Nitai Prabhu, Temple President of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in London tells us why it’s important to be reawakened: “We have forgotten our real identity as spiritual beings, and this forgetfulness is the root cause of all our suffering. When a person is asleep he forgets who he really is and in his dreaming he assumes one illusory identity after another, in each existence suffering unnecessarily.” Their practice goes back 500 years, when it is believed Lord Krishna appeared as Lord Gauranga - a devotee of Krishna (Himself) - to revive all the sleeping souls through group singing. He would go with his followers into the streets and chant the names of Krishna so that people’s suffering could be ended, and they could focus on the real challenge: developing spiritually to one’s greatest potential. Despite it’s longstanding history, the Hare Krishna movement didn’t really reach the Western world until 1965, when Head of Church Srila Prabhupada, traveled from India to New York City to establish the first International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Since then, the ISKCON has expanded to include centres in over a hundred countries; sharing their message of spiritual enlightenment through music, with both the woken and asleep in all corners of the world 23
GOD IS IN THE RADIO
Words by Patricia M. Medici. Photography by Hasan Bitirim
My relationship with religion began exactly 10 days after I was born.
My parents were so adamant about baptizing me “as soon as possible”, that the priest performed the service under the assumption that I was at great health risk. In fact, my initiation into Catholicism was such a pressing matter, that my intended godmother was unable to attend, and thus had to send my cousin as a replacement. That pretty much set the tone for my frantic relationship with religion: A hesitancy between adoration and alienation spanning over 24 years. As a child, learning to cross myself at night – and remembering to do so on my own-, had the same (or more) significance as being able to brush my teeth. Sunday Mass became implied, and my Guardian Angel - whom I would occasionally address by a given name that I no longer remember- became an omnipresent entity, a sort of overly virtuous imaginary friend, if you will. Numerous relocations between cities, states and countries over a short period of time, lead for this friendly ghost, and other heavenly beings to become a reliable companion amidst constantly changing friends (or should I say, acquaintances?). That is, until I discovered music. My first conscious musical memory feels somewhat reminiscent of people who report encountering Jesus on a piece of toast or Mother Theresa on a cinnamon bun (the latter actually happened in Tennessee, ironically, around the same time). My 16-year-old cousin, who had come to spend summer with us, was aimlessly flicking through channels and decided to settle for Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged which was being played relentlessly as a tribute to the late Kurt Cobain. In an attempt to be “cool”, I held back my partiality towards cartoons and joined her. It was confusing to say the least. They were nothing like the pop stars on magazines or the musicians my parents listened to; they seemed annoyed and disheveled, and sounded as such. I particularly remember being fascinated with Cobain’s infamous beige cardigan, asking myself if perhaps he wasn’t aware that he would be on TV. I’m still unsure if it was out of dislike or appreciation (probably, the first as I
*The title for this article is a reference to the song by the same name , in Queens Of The Stone Age’s 2002 album Songs For The Deaf.
highly doubt I had such an elevated taste at age 6) but the image and raspy melody stuck in my head forever. At 8, a final move from the US to Venezuela sent me into an abrupt language revision. As Spanish took over my every interaction, I often found myself wordless or misunderstood. With social networking on its very early stages, my only accessible source of English content was cable television, more specifically, MTV.
Initially it served as white noise, creating a linguistic
My quest finally led me to sign up to be a counselor
comfort zone where I didn’t have to dissect and restructure
for Catholic summer camp, at 16, where during one of
every phrase in my head to avoid miscommunication. As
our weekly talks with the camp’s priest, an idea was
I grew older and began to grasp the content, the white
implanted: “the feeling that something’s missing may
noise turned into stimulus, providing far more interesting
be God calling”. That phrase was stuck in my mind
companionship than my celestial beings. Each time one
for days while I scavenged my memory for missed
of my parents would go on a trip, I would hand them a list
signs of a godly vocation. Over the following weeks, I
of albums (among other things) so as to reconnect with
spoke to everyone I considered reputable and trust-
my lost civilization; their indulgence in this, allowed me
worthy enough to give me spiritual advice on this,
to amass a collection of over 50 albums by the age of 12,
and by the end of the summer I had set my mind to it:
a habit that was not shared amongst many of my friends.
I was going to be a nun - an “edgy”, bass-playing one,
but a nun nonetheless-. GOD HAD ME ON SPEED
Despite my growing fascination with music (and bands
DIAL (disclaimer: I don’t think he was actually calling.)
eventually replacing guardian angels), my faith remained
I became much more diligent about my pious activities
strong, mostly thanks to my parents and
and a near-denizen at religious houses. I
the Catholic school curriculum. Morning,
was taught in the kindest way possible to
noon and evening prayers, mandatory weekday masses, confession, tutorials with the priest, bible studies, offerings and numerous other ceremonies were part of my routine. I always saw proximity to God as a sign of maturity; I deduced that if my parents, teachers and relatives felt so strongly about this greater presence, it was incontestable: it had to exist. I aspired to understand it, as I thought that would accredit me as an adult; however, as time
GOD HAD ME
interpret doubt as vocation and suppress any rising skepticism with prayer. It
ON SPEED DIAL worked (Disclaimer: I don’t think he
for a while, until a concerned
friend lent me a book, under the promise that he would cease all persuasive attempts if I read it before taking my oath. The book was about an Opus Dei priest (the
congregation I was joining) who changed
considering I’d already been through every
his mind, which seemed predictable possible utterance of how much I would regret this decision. I started reading it –
went by, I realized that I had too many questions and the “just believe” answer didn’t suffice.
listlessly- for the sole intent of keeping my promise, but
Instead of turning my back on religion (which I did later on
instead stumbled upon the phrase that ignited my entire
anyway), I decided to dive into it. With my iPod in full blast,
ecclesiastic journey. Everything was there, absolutely
I attended spiritual retreats, engaged in prayer circles
everything I’d been told over the past few months,
and visited nunneries, tirelessly asking God for answers.
quoted almost literally. I remember he kept referring
In this time, my curiosity for music grew parallel to my
to these phrases as “recruitment techniques”.
interest in religion. I had finally traced back the origin of
It felt as though someone had turned on the lights
that life-changing beige cardigan, and was going through
in the cinema while the movie was still playing.
an intense punk rock phase, obsessively listening to
Suddenly, devoutness wasn’t a sign of wisdom but
Paramore, Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy. I wrote
of obliviousness, and what made matters even worse
suburban-angst-filled lyrics, accompanied by poorly-
is that, in my head, I had bought into it voluntarily.
executed bass guitar melodies. In a sense I feel like that
Disenchantment lead to ineffective rebellion, as is
acted as both a counterbalance and an outlet for all the
often the case in adolescence, and even more so
when one is dealing with earth-shattering realizations. Naturally, I turned to music for solace. 29
CHANGING TUNES Once again Kurt Cobain came to the rescue, and in another demonstration of teen cliché, Nirvana’s cover of
The Pixies’ “Jesus Doesn’t
Want Me for a Sunbeam” became my anthem. I fluctuated between a short-lived obsession with Marilyn Manson, Rammstein and Rage Against The Machine’s confrontational rock that challenged (or shall I say mocked?) the beliefs I had once held dear; and an (even odder) affinity for Blues songs about “falling out of grace with the Lord”. To say this didn’t sit well at home would be an immense understatement. Regardless, I wanted to get as far away as possible from Catholicism by all means necessary; whether that meant parading a copy of Nietzsche’s Antichrist in front of an impressionable Religion teacher, refusing to do my Confirmation or reciting the Qur’an in incongruous situations. Actions which more often than not resulted in
SOMEONE WITH A VACILLATING SENSE OF DEVOTION, A CONCERT CAN BE THE CLOSEST THING TO A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
accusations of “being under the influence of the devil” and getting sent to speak to a priest for hours. Thankfully it all simmered down after after a headshaving incident led my mother to ground me under false speculation that I had, in fact, joined a cult. By the time I turned 18, I’d gone back to being in good terms with Catholicism, while struggling
an atheist - I now realize the irony in this. I had just moved to New York City for my undergraduate degree, and although I would have never acknowledged it at the time, I was
“right” religion, but of embracing the one
experiencing a massive culture shock. Religions,
thing that had always made me feel at ease.
points of view, upbringings, nationalities, all
What if holiness could be found in a post-punk
album, or an indie rock concert in a sketchy
pouring in all directions and most importantly,
bar in Brooklyn? Or listening to a particularly
no labels. I learned about different beliefs and
good verse accompanied by the right melody,
lack thereof, dissecting and collaging elements in
could bring as much inner peace as attending
attempts to sew my tattered faith back together;
a service? Sure, it may sound unlikely, but
and always going back to music when it failed.
I guess in some cases, for someone with a
Soon I began to contemplate the idea that
vacillating sense of devotion, a concert can
perhaps it wasn’t a matter of finding the
be the closest thing to a religious experience.
TURN ON TUNE IN DROP OUT
A BRIEF HISTORY OF PSYCHEDELIA There’s A LOT more to 60s Psychelia than trippy visuals, vivid colours, undulating guitar riffs and bizarre song lyrics. Tune in, you’re cordially invited to take a TRIP down musical memory lane… It’s quite hard to trace back the origins of Psychedelia to a specific place, both thanks to its free-spirited instigators, and because it happened as a sort of “happy” (or shall I say trippy?) coincidence. In the 60s San Francisco, novelist Ken Kesey and his group of Merry Pranksters organized Acid Tests - transcendental parties where the Kool-Aid was laced with LSD – with bands like Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and The Byrds providing the soundtrack to enhance the ‘trip’. At the same time, on the other side of the country, controversial Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary began a research project that involved using psychedelics as a form of behavioral therapy. The project was shortly sacked because of its shocking nature, forcing Leary and his Harvard group to relocate to Millbrook, New York. In 1964, Leary along with other fellow Harvard renegades published The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Originally meant to be a promotional guide to hallucinogenic drugs and their psychological benefits, it soon became a sort of Bible for the psychedelic movement, granting him the title of High Priest of LSD. The Psychedelic Experience served as inspiration for The Beatles’ 1966 studio album, Revolver, which skyrocketed the budding LSD revolution in Great 33
Britain. However, it wasn’t until 1967 that psychedelia truly exploded worldwide: Rock ‘n’ roll songs were twisted out into slower jams, combining influences from folk, jazz and world music, while lyrics about everyday life were replaced by existential anxieties and picturesque metaphors, often inspired by beat poetry and children’s books, leading to what is arguably the most notable year in music history, to date. In that one year, the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, as well as a two-sided hit single “Strawberry Fields Forever”/ “Penny Lane” and their utterly successful Magical Mystery Tour; thennewcomers Cream, put out their debut and sophomore albums Fresh Cream (in January) and Disraeli Gears (in December). Jefferson Airplane issued Surrealistic Pillow and After Bathing at Baxter’s. The Rolling Stones released Between The Buttons, Flowers and Their Satanic Majesties Requests. Nineteen sixty-seven was also the year Pink Floyd put out their debut album, as did bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Big Brother and The Holding Company (Janis Joplin), Buffalo Springfield and Velvet Underground. That was also the year of the first Human Be-In in San Francisco and the 14-Hour Technicolour Dream concert in London.
Also in California, the Monterey International Pop Festival, brought together an amazing group of British and American rock artists, which included the Who, Simon and Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, the Mamas and the Papas, the Byrds and Jimi Hendrix. People were living in communes, traveling in “magical” wildly painted school buses – another initiative by Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters- , freely having sex and using drugs, and most importantly, they were willing to talk about it. This lead to new sources of information to emerge: “underground” and “pirate” radio in San Francisco and London, the launch of Rolling Stone magazine, and the use of intricate artist-made posters to promote concerts. It was period of creative explosion, of hope and freedom, self-expression and love. Finally, in 1969, The Woodstock Music & Art Fair proved to the world, once and for all, that psychedelia had become an omnipresent influence that transcended into art, fashion and literature. This was no longer a bunch of weridos on an acid trip, but a group of people who wanted to change the world - and succeeded.
Artwork by VICTOR CORDERO BY vICTOR cORDERO
SYMPTOM OF MORAL DECAY Words & Photography LAURA HINMAN
Words by SERGIO MEJIA
I. My love, my lyre, my song! I hear it! It moves, from winter’s rest, my spirit, my own Being rising back from the void where my soul has made its final nest. My song I hear again in the dark as the king and queen both sense the mark of unwelcome affection pouring down their cheek –Their love once again melting, like above, the snow in white, making way for perfumed flowers in spring. My love won’t be weak. O Orpheus sing! Sing a tune long yearned for in my forgotten lair. Sing the songs transcending: inherited in you from divine Memory and Light. Sing a melody that can go through me like air
II. Sing in hoping I return from the longest Night.
me your music of Elysian Fields where jovially walking in bliss we picked on the fruit autumn yields; budding, blooming Love.
The burning release of the Heart’s pulse in plain air. O sweetness of touches! The zephyr caressing your hair and my hands reaching like the branches you animated out of dirt. O the notes composed in your sweet speech! No tree could match in height or girth, no bird’s song alike in mountain or beach: As holy as Olympus; no, not of this Earth. You who all silenced with might not with force nor plea: Light the passage bright and Hades we both shall flee. Please don’t look back.
III. Oh yes! And why not sing of Love like ours? But where would you begin such an epic journey if not in the early hours when gentle blushes fill the skin of youthful lovers, O sing spring! Sing forth flowers! Transform too the chariot rising east where the lotus –mystic– feasts on the radiating flashes around Phoébus’ lashes –On the eye of Truth. Sing Sing Sing
me colors too for proof that your magic veers death’s dark enchantment. me red, sing me green, sing me yellow, sing me violet; but mainly sing me blue so that I hold your tune inside my frozen veins –since Pluto too has the reins IV. of my attention. it all with pure intentions. Venture into forests and find yourself a stream From our ethereal and eternal union too: my love; though you must have courage, Orpheus, sing me blue! not all is gold that gleams. You know Narcissus’ story along the water’s rim, loving one above others he made his ending grim. Sing of all creations the gods have made to be. Burn sage and myrrh in temples for both the miniscule and supreme. Unleash all of your hound-dogs if it’s hunting that you please. From your song keep no thoughts, now rise all cosmos with just ease. Sing a song enchanting! Inspirit with your voice! My love, don’t lose your tempo through the clamour and the noise. O sing your muse! Hell or Heaven? –For you to choose.
V. Orpheus, here he comes. You have come for me. It is me that you have come for. For me you have come. Through cavernous riverful thresholds, you have come for me. It is me that you have come for. For me you have come for time new and old you have come for me. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s me that you have come for! You have come to bring me back to my fleshly home. Orpheus here, he comes! Upon your sight I point my nose in your direction, saying: Orpheus, here! He comes!
VI. And what of the roses? The ones I wandered off to pick for you? Did you see those were collected in a ribbon, wrapped for your view? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d found them on my walk among the play of Naiads thinking of your kiss alone, like ambrosia for the drunken Maenads as they dance the passion around the drum, as their thyrsus glides and rapture opens in their eyes like sirens mid-hum. And what of those dead roses? Were they put to any use? Had their beauty wilted? Had petals been abused by the venomous dozes of my gaze as I perused what your poesy had quilted for my hearing. Was it not Adonis nearing death away from Aphroditeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s forces that appeared inside the roses I collected for you? Was it not a nymph like I, wandering under the abundant sky, who left her fragrance in the roses when for her soul her body closes near the riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge?
VII. “Farewell” I did say! In a word –my lips escaping from slumber into rays of Sun outside the gates. Ascending you turn your head to peek: breaking the immortal spell –The godly promise that was yours to keep. The gods might know where to now, if I fell a second time into the flow of oblivion, into the dreamt up constellations, for I do not. Who knows where I’ll go slipping out of your rhyme into the deadly hour –Lo! Feared unannounced time! Farewell once more my prophet, my bard. Inscribed in my prayers forever your Heart. Remember me long though twice now apart. Remember me lover in your song; in your art.
Photography by LESHA BEREZOSKIY 63
Photography by PATRICIA M. MEDICI 72
By ICEAGE Now there just passed on another day Where I really wanted to get away From the problems that I built up Can only see one way to make it stop Unable - I'm too bound I wanna get away from what I found Each day another rock upon my head Each night I lie awake in bed What shade Of joy Will hit Me first I hope It lasts A burst In bliss Pressure Pressure Oh god no Pressure Adorned in carnal ecstasy A hazy focus blurs and sharpens sight Now my senses are leading me A mere blow of wind could turn me into light Hands everywhere, covering me Feels so overwhelming I can't breathe But bliss is momentary anyhow Yet worth living for - take me now What shade Of joy Will hit Me first I hope It lasts A burst In bliss Pressure... Pressure... Pressure Pressure Oh god no Pressure
By LOU REED They call you ecstasy nothing ever sticks to you Not velcro, not scotch tape not my arms dipped in glue Not if I wrap myself in nylon a piece of duct tape down my back Love pierced the arrow with the twelve and I can't get you back Ah, ecstasy ecstasy Ah, ecstasy Across the streets an old Ford, they took off its wheels the engine is gone In its seat sits a box with a note that says, Goodbye Charlie, thanks a lot I see a child through a window with a bib and I think of us and what we almost did The Hudson rocketing with light the ships pass the Statue of Liberty at night They call it ecstasy, ah ecstasy Ecstasy, ah ecstasy
Some men call me St. Ivory some call me St. Maurice I’m smooth as alabaster with white veins runnin’ through my cheeks A big stud through my eyebrow a scar on my arm that says, Domain I put it over the tattoo that contained your name They called you ecstasy, ecstasy ecstasy They call you ecstasy, ecstasy ecstasy The moon passing through a cloud a body facing up is floating towards a crowd And I think of a time and what I couldn’t do I couldn’t hold you close, I couldn’t, I couldn’t become you They call you ecstasy, I can’t hold you down I can’t hold you up I feel like that car that I saw today, no radio no engine, no hood I’m going to the cafe, I hope they’ve got music and I hope that they can play But if we have to part I’ll have a new scar right over my heart I’ll call it ecstasy
By NEW ORDER
On a thousand islands in the sea I see a thousand people just like me A hundred unions in the snow I watch them walking, falling in a row We live always underground Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be so quiet in here tonight A thousand islands in the sea Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a shame And a hundred years ago A sailor trod this ground I stood upon Take me away everyone When it hurts thou From my head to my toes From the words in the book I see a vision that would bring me luck From my head to my toes To my teeth, through my nose You get these words wrong You get these words wrong Everytime You get these words wrong I just smile But from my head to my toes From my knees to my eyes Everytime I watch the sky For these last few days leave me alone But for these last few days leave me alone Leave me alone Leave me alone
PLAYLIST AIR CONDITIONING Diiv ORGAN ETERNAL These New Puritans LAGO EN EL CIELO Gustavo Cerati ONE THING Beach House VOX CELESTE Deerhunter THE LORD’S FAVOURITE iceage MARY-CHRIST Sonic Youth PAGAN POETRY Bjork COMPLEX HEAVEN Brian Eno WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER The Doors AT THE GATES Night Beats SINNERMAN Nina Simone GOD’S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN Johnny Cash I AM A WICKED CHILD Radiohead I WANNA BE ADORED The Stone Roses ASTRUM ARGENTUM Cult of Dom Keller SILENCE Tales of Murder and Dust
ECSTASY n. 1. an overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement. 2. an emotional or religious frenzy or trance-like state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence. 3. an illegal amphetamine-based synthetic drug with euphoric effects, originally produced as an appetite suppressornt.