Adam Gopnik reviews recent literature deciphering the gospels:
And yet a single figure who “projects” two personae at the same time, or in close sequence, one dark and one dreamy, is a commonplace among charismatic prophets. That’s what a charismatic prophet is: someone whose aura of personal conviction manages to reconcile a hard doctrine with a humane manner. The leaders of the African-American community before the civil-rights era, for instance, had to be both prophets and political agitators to an oppressed and persecuted people in a way not unlike that of the real Jesus (and all the other forgotten zealots and rabbis whom the first-century Jewish historian Josephus names and sighs over). They, too, tended to oscillate between the comforting and the catastrophic. Malcolm X was the very model of a modern apocalyptic prophet-politician, unambiguously preaching violence and a doctrine of millennial revenge, all fuelled by a set of cult beliefs—a hovering U.F.O., a strange racial myth. But Malcolm was also a community builder, a moral reformer (genuinely distraught over the sexual sins of his leader), who refused to carry weapons, and who ended, within the constraints of his faith, as some kind of universalist. When he was martyred, he was called a prophet of hate; within three decades of his death—about the time that separates the Gospels from Jesus—he could be the cover subject of a liberal humanist magazine like this one. One can even see how martyrdom and “beatification” draws out more personal detail, almost perfectly on schedule: Alex Haley, Malcolm’s Paul, is long on doctrine and short on details; thirty years on, Spike Lee, his Mark, has a full role for a wife and children, and a universalist message that manages to blend Malcolm into Mandela. (As if to prove this point, just the other week came news of suppressed chapters of Haley’s “Autobiography,” which, according to Malcolm’s daughter, “showed too much of my father’s humanity.”)
HipGnosis is the recording name of the Des Moines based electronic musician Eric Young. In addition to producing, Eric also DJs the Glitch.fm online radio show Between Zero and One every Wednesday from 10PM-12AM (CST).
Klint Finley: How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?
HipGnosis: Wow. Hmm. Experimental, psychedelic, electronic dance music combined w/ elements of hip-hop, classical, and plain weirdness.
I was classically trained, though I don’t play any “traditional instruments” any longer. Now I play a computer.
So you’re a Gnostic bishop, are you not?
Indeed. Consecrated in the lineage thru Tau Allen Greenfield (who is of Doinel lineage.) Also I have a chartered Memphis-Misraim lodge, though I have yet to find people in physical proximity to get the lodge very active. It’s currently a research/study lodge, primarily, with work done online at the moment.
How does your experience of Gnosticism effect your work?
Glad you put it that way. With a name like “HipGnosis” people often assume i am a Gnostic Christian (which is quite far from the truth.)
I am of a rather interesting strain of Gnosticism that probably shouldn’t be capitalized. I consider my own strain to be an innate sense of the divine within (and ANYONE can be that kind of gnostic), but also I am what I call “chemo-gnostic” as I am definitely not afraid to talk about the effects of chemicals/entheogens on my spirituality (again for lack of a better term).
I am very much of the 23-current, which when embracing chaos as much as I do, kind of creates its own inherent divinity maybe. Formerly a TOPY member, Discordian, and general chaos magick weirdo. The
Discordian side is NECESSARY so I don’t take anything too siriusly.
I know you use binaural beats and other methods to enhance your music by making it consciousness altering. Can you describe some of the methods you use?
Well, much of my music is a sort of “hypersigil” imbued with specific frequencies designed to induce altered states. When combined with psychedelics, it can be intense. I have done much research on cymatics/sound healing/binaurual tones.
I started making acid house as the first electonic music i did, and binaurals were first introduced to that music. I am heavily influenced by Coil, who also did much work w/ frequencies to transmit information/altered states-specific qualities. Psychic TV is an early influence as well, which was less about traditional sound-mind altering, but more about raw feeling/energy.
And as a raver since the early 90’s UK hardcore/jungle/garage, “techno” and old-school “trance” play huge roles in the type of vibe i try to get across. Pure butt-shaking, mind-quaking funk. Also heavily effected by hip-hop and breakbeat/sample culture, that kind of cut-n-paste mentality carried over.
But what, more specifically, do you do to make your music mind altering? Or is that a secret?
Semi-secret. Much of it is energetically imbued, but as far as technical wizardry goes: binaural tone generation and specific frequencies mixed in at nearly sub-liminal levels.
I’m afraid that’s *about* all i can say to that. I do a lot of my music when in trance states, so honestly SOME of my method is not even known to me.
Do the binaural effects carry over to MP3s or other lossy formats?
Yeah binaurals can carry over to mp3, since binaural tones are not actually tones that can be *heard*, as much as just perceived on a consciousness level. With binauruals, you have 2 tones, slightly offset by a small amount.
Say if you’re going for a 7Hz brainwave state you can put one tone at say 50 Hz and another at 43 Hz. You modulate the two together, and your brain actually picks up the *difference* between the two and matches that difference. In this case 7Hz.
In addition to the mind altering aspects of your music, is there any magical intent behind any of your works?
Very much so, but I’m afraid if i said anything about that it might negate the effects. I assure you it is nothing less than the upheaval of all societal norms, though.
I understand you make your living making music and doing mixing and mastering. About what percentage of your income comes from actually making music?
Not much, as I have given a lot of it away free. I get paid for gigs, but I’m not exactly greedy, so i don’t gouge people on fees. I actually make my “living” (if you can call it that), from disability. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 19, and after several years of constantly being in and out of the hospital I was put on disability.
It has allowed me to make music, which is a form of therapy in and of itself I feel. Perhaps part of my sickness (aside from being morally opposed to most of western culture’s ideals) was the inability to express myself due to having to work 50+ hrs a week in order to survive. Unable to finish school due to mounting mental health issues and a distinct sickness of the soul, and also being trained in mostly just music and philosophy/comparative religion, i am not qualified for much beyond this.
I have tried nearly every type of job under the sun – from corporate sales/HR, to debt collection, to telemarketing, to bar-tending. I seem to fail at living a normal life.
I currently live on approximately $400/month from disability and whatever little extra I can make from playing out and sales of music. Mixing/mastering work is few and far between, even at the EXTREMELY low prices I charge. I am both blessed and cursed by my illness, I am fully aware.
Well, that answer my question about how viable mastering is as a career path for musicians…
Ha. Yeah. It’s not a career path, but more of an “odd jobs” path.
What software and equipment do you use to produce your music?
These days I use Ableton Live for nearly everything, as it has proven to be the most versatile and functional tool for my particular style.
Hardware-wise, I’m using a Hercules DeeJay Trim 4&6 audio interface for live performance (since i can use it with MIDI-control vinyl/turntables and also with Ableton). For controllers, i use an M-Audio X-Session Pro for the mixing side and keyboard controllers such asAxiom 49 and (soon) an APC-20.
You were doing some music production in a Linux environment a while back. How was that?
I was experimenting w/ open-source audio software, and honestly, it still leaves a lot to be desired.
Yeah, there’s really nothing in Ableton’s class yet. Did you try Freewheeling though? I’ve been curious about that app.
Yeah, it has some interesting features, it was one of them that i played with a lot, as well as BEAST and Hydrogen. It sucks that each one is its own entity, though, and VST support is not exactly awesome with Linux.
Did you try LMMS?
Yeah, and was fairly disappointed with LMMS. partly because in order to make music with that stuff it would require configuring an admittedly screwy Linux Audio set-up (with less-than-optimum real-time audio driver support).
So you caused sort of a stir on Twitter a couple months ago with your commentary about DJ Shadow’s new online store. What exactly was it that set you off?
Hahaha oh boy, DJ Shadow…. Well, he was very much a hero of mine, and one of the main reasons why i decided to go into audio production. He also was an independent music icon, who sold his soul to Universal Music Group.
He published a (self-admitted) old-man, anti-technology rant about piracy and how it’s ruining the music industry (read: MAJOR LABEL MUSIC INDUSTRY, of which he is now a part.) He waited a couple days
for it to spread around the net… and BAM, he announces his new web-site where (*gasp*) you can buy all his MP3s!
He then proceeded to suck UMG’s dick and talk about how they “have it set up so any MAJOR LABEL artist can now sell their own MP3s too!” They being Universal, coz you know they’re so awesome and all.
Now, DJ Shadow made his career on ILLEGALLY sampling other people’s music for his records. All of his music is samples and he holds a Guinness record for the first completely sample-created album, with no “original” sounds. He was sued and his first few releases were taken off the shelves, because he didn’t list or license any sample material. And he could only release those things (due to money) on independent labels because
a major label would have made him license the stuff. His early releases were vinyl-only.
I just think he’s being entirely hypocritical.
So are you working on anything new that you want to plug before we finish up?
Well, I am currently working on a bunch of remixes for various people (official, not bootlegs) and getting ready to buckle down to begin this new production collab project called “The Blac Thumb” and subsequent live performance set-up. It’s going to be a wonky, funk-glitch-dub-hop project. Think 60’s-70’s psychedelic jazz-funk but whomped and glitched out. It will be headnoddingly, buttmovingly awesome.
Who are you collaborating with on that?
A young producer called iLford Brimley. I’m also beginning a collab w/ MusSck (of Daly City/Glitch Hop Temple/Car Crash Sets). And likely collabing with Mindelixir (a dubstep producer extraordinaire, who is making a lot of waves in the SE). I am playing a Winter Music Conference event March 27th in Miami, where I will be meeting him for the 1st time in person.
Underground comic artist Robert Crumb has recently joined the ranks of the perennial heretics known as the Gnostics. According to an Agence France-Presse report, Crumb admitted he was a Gnostic during a press conference for the international launch of ‘The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb’. This announcement, along with his new book, reveals for the first time the theological leanings of an important cult figure. Crumb is best known for his ‘Fritz the Cat’ and ‘American Splendor’ comics.
“The Bible is not the word of God. It’s the words of men,” he said at the press conference in Paris. “I take it all as myth from start to finish.” This attitude was echoed by the ancient Gnostics, who saw Holy Scripture as a tool of dominance from oppressive religious institutions and embraced mythology as a vehicle for spiritual liberation.
A couple people have expressed skepticism about Crumb’s Gnosticism based on the article linked, and the article that article cites. Here is an interview with Crumb in Vanity Fair where he says very clearly that he is a Gnostic:
I would call myself a Gnostic. Which means, I’m interested in pursuing and understanding the spiritual nature of things. A Gnostic is somebody seeking knowledge of that aspect of reality. That’s more of an Eastern idea, like Buddhism.
More light is shed on his spiritual beliefs in this interview.
Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” is not a true translation of the Hebrew.
She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world — and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals.
Prof Van Wolde, 54, who will present a thesis on the subject at Radboud University in The Netherlands where she studies, said she had re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole, and in the context of other creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia.
She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb “bara”, which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate”.
The first sentence should now read “in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth”
A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.
If such a messianic description really is there, it will contribute to a developing re-evaluation of both popular and scholarly views of Jesus, since it suggests that the story of his death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.
How deep does the rabbit hole go? Gnostic Media is proud to present the official online edition of The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007. If you enjoyed ‘Zeitgeist – The Movie’, you will love this video; the creators of this video are listed as one of the sources for the Zeitgeist Movie. The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007 is a video version of the book, ‘Astrotheology & Shamanism’ by Jan Irvin & Andrew Rutajit. The painstakingly detailed and heavily footnoted research in the book comes to life in this video and is now available to you for FREE! For further research of the claims made in this video, please read AstroTheology & Shamanism – this book is available to order as a combo with the DVD. Thousands of years ago, in the pre monarchic era, sacred plants and other entheogenic substances where politically correct and highly respected for their ability to bring forth the divine, Yahweh, God, The Great Spirit, etc., by the many cultures who used them. Often the entire tribe or community would partake in the entheogenic rites and rituals. These rites were often used in initiation into adulthood, for healing, to help guide the community in the decision process, and to bring the direct religious experience to anyone seeking it. In the pre literate world, the knowledge of psychedelic sacraments, as well as fertility rites and astronomical knowledge surrounding the sun, stars, and zodiac, known as astrotheology, were anthropomorphized into a character or a deity; consequently, their stories and practices could easily be passed down for generations. Weather changes over millenniums caused environmental changes that altered the available foods and plant sacraments available in the local vicinity. If a tribe lost its shamanic El-der (El – God), all of the tribe’s knowledge of their plant sacraments as well as astronomical knowledge would be lost. The Church’s inquisitions extracted this sacred knowledge from the local Shamans who were then exterminated…It is time to recognize the fact that this Pharmacratic Inquisition is still intact and destroy it.
AMID much publicity last year, the National Geographic Society announced that a lost 3rd-century religious text had been found, the Gospel of Judas Iscariot. The shocker: Judas didn’t betray Jesus. Instead, Jesus asked Judas, his most trusted and beloved disciple, to hand him over to be killed. Judas’s reward? Ascent to heaven and exaltation above the other disciples.
It was a great story. Unfortunately, after re-translating the society’s transcription of the Coptic text, I have found that the actual meaning is vastly different. While National Geographic’s translation supported the provocative interpretation of Judas as a hero, a more careful reading makes clear that Judas is not only no hero, he is a demon.
That said, I think the big problem is that National Geographic wanted an exclusive. So it required its scholars to sign nondisclosure statements, to not discuss the text with other experts before publication. The best scholarship is done when life-sized photos of each page of a new manuscript are published before a translation, allowing experts worldwide to share information as they independently work through the text.