So! If you know how I do this (from the last time) then you know that I give an embed to the playlist, but have a break down of every song below with what I like and how it makes me feel or what I think of it.. So go ahead! Press play and read, or not or just one or the other.
Flesh – Black Crown
I’ve only come across this recently, but the foreboding atmosphere and use of (perhaps too much) reverb, the lingering saw waves, the way the hats ring, it all comes together as a kind of slow entering. It makes me think of not just mystery but danger. You know where you are going there lurks so much unknown about not just the threats but yourself. In the end, you are the threat. You, are your own Shadow. It’s perfect.
This playlist has a general thematic metaphor of a Jungian Descent into what I’ll call the “Abyss” since it’s the mindset I had when choosing these tracks. Those familiar with the subject probably get what i mean but I use the word Abyss a bit differently. Perhaps one day I’ll explain but for now… the music.
Reaper – Altum Silentium
This playlist is about the descent, or rather the first stages of it. We will get to the point where you hit rock bottom, eventually. All falls begin with a small tumble, then the tempo picks up and there is some kind of beauty to the forces of nature that pull you towards the Earth, towards foundation. The saws are vivid, the light fades as you fall into darkness but there is a beauty in the melody, in the Abyss.
TB-303’s hint here and there, and the bass is as acting as a pad as well as umph. The delay is on point with the supporting synth and the drums while simple, do their job with punchy claps to emphasize the off beats. It’s all straight 4/4 but it still feels like a good rhythm due to superb mixing.
Sunstryk – Designer Drugs
Psychedelic Trance can be just as dark as industrial. The pulsating bass is largely subbass with high frequencies in the resonance and the kicks are so punchy and powerful, that the atmospherics allow everything to collide as a dark journey. It slides as if down a steep incline. Different sounds income and go out, the bass never lets up.
The drums feel as if they are getting more intense through the changes to other parts of the structure until finally the hihats come in, bouncing off the left and right channels and the payoff comes at 2:20 when the acid finally hits. In distorted glory it informs the supporting synth to echo it and the continued effects and swooshes pull you deeper in a dark meditative state.
Silent Enemy – Diabolic
There is dark psytrance and then there is the genre Dark Psytrance. The former is sometimes known as forest but this here is on the other end, all about those even faster tempos, often around 180BPM. The choir draws you in, telling you that this is actually becoming nightmarish. Then the bass and kicks hit. Choirs continue to inform you that yes, this isn’t just another dancing song. Squelches are surrounding the stereo field, no as stereo but fully as a field. There are half times, where you are forced to reflect on what you are hearing. Everything here, it’s when you have to face not just the beauty but the profane as well.
The Enigma TNG – Kathedral
Thematically, this shouldn’t go here, but music wise it fits. Faster, tempo, upbeat energy. A bounce back. But it’s celebratory of the darkness. You feel evil and you like it. You are reveling in your Shadow. Has it won? This descent isn’t over, it’s just one of many steps but oh god does it feel good. The guitars and distorted wubs fit seamlessly and choirs are now singing praises to Darkness itself! Imagine it, a huge Satanic cathederal, the beauties of the tyrants corrupted into something twisted and even cooler than it ever could of been. Even the little whimsical melody that drifts throughout is shimmering with a kind of sick intent. as the intervals hit so satisfactory. It hits low, then high, and when it hits high again it’s hitting right on the right dissonance that is contextually pleasant. It attains the grace of darkness.
Obsidia – Possession
Slow, but not melancholic. There is power in this, in possession and communion with the powers of Hell. I imagine as if the gates have swung forth and the Leviathan itself has brought it’s gifts upon the magicians who have entered thus. But the range of the lead changes, just as the nature of the magician does who has entered that realm. The Shadow and it’s embrace leads one to change, and not just create a new Shadow, but a new conscious self. If one is to become more dark, does not their darker side too?
Man With No Name – Broken Promise
I don’t have much to say about this, in a philosophical or psychological sense. This is bittersweet. Have I regretted what I’ve become? For some, the brush with the Shadow is once. Mine is many. I’ve often sought the proper word for how this makes me feel. It’s as if nostalgia, but sadness and love at the same time. Acid notifies you of the spiritual path this is taking you, as it nests itself on the extreme left and right, just behind the ears then finally one in the center as it goes up and down filters. The kick is powerful and defines the structure and eventually the melody kicks in just beyond 2 minutes.
The mystery of what you are becoming, and the longing for innocence as well as what you loved of your past are colliding. You can never have, never be what you once were. You are lost in a sea of psychedelic, darkness, sadness and mystery. This is when, perhaps in this metaphorical journey, one would reflect on how they got here. By the end, there is some new determination and it reintegrates with the reality as the main melody returns but more powerful after the breakdown.
Party Heroes – Astral Vision
This song… I have meditated to I’m not sure how many times. It always lulls me in with that repetitive yet so satisfying melody. But everything is built in a context, especially by the mark of the first minute of going into a slower brainwave pattern. I feel, as the filters sweep down (as it does on many effects) that I am descending into something more basic and fundamental. The percussion dominates and everything else becomes muted and yet it’s the focus with the kick drowning out everything else. After the mid-song breakdown things start to energize. I’ve come here for answers. Jung says we project our shadow on others. Is this your journey, or mine which I’ve walked many times?
Eventually the melodies take prominence again at the end of the breakdown, the filters open up and in meditation an ascent starts… and after some time of the kick coming back the acid hits. Hard. In all it’s distorted glory. Oh satans… I can’t even express how surreal that acid is, something about the way it’s distorted. It’s brief and makes me crave more. It sneaks in and all of a sudden there is just this amazing revelation of music, spirit and excitement. All these tiny flourishes with the filter going with the melody, and then all of a sudden it shrieks in held notes on that rhythm and it screams as the filter lets up. Choir like pads on gates fill the sides and the bassline faithfully lets you keep a hold of focus.
Salvador Ali – Mahadeva 2010 (Remix of Astral Projection’s Mahadeva)
What even is this? Look, I’ve climbed, and am climbing all the time. And always falling back in. Maybe I jump in on occasion for fun. This last track is when you’ve integrated the shadow and the light, the darkness and the sun. I wonder if any of this has to do with why the Setians call it the “Black Flame”. Anyways, the bass is amazing. The melodies true to the original. This always makes me feel this dark edge, this power. And it just goes on and on and is perfect for a short meditation at it’s staggering 9 minutes and 40 seconds. If only it was longer!
Just before 4 minutes the power comes on full as one becomes the side of Shiva facing away from the light, the Rudra inside. A Bhairava of music and then within 30 seconds the tattva of the NataRaja dancing *on* the sun as the melody changes and a sawy synth plays and a more tight, fast decayed synth substains over it and then they explode in a glory of staccato? Gates? At certain points are just indications.
Seven minutes, plucks are abound and the bass stays amazing and you can hear a little catch in the hats from time to time if you listen for it. By 8 minutes there is a final bridge melody and the main theme returns. In the end, the excitement returns. There is darkness and light scattered throughout. One has integrated their darkness with themselves. And at least for a while duality ceases into one.
In the end, instrumental music is open to even more interpretation than music with lyrics. However there is a certain energy particularly when listened to in certain orders and contexts. And even in magical contexts you can induce certain effects from the music alone.
In this metaphor about the Abyss I’ve not attempted to influence anyone, or necessarily say how I felt about it in real time but to rather give a context for how I relate the feelings the songs induce into me in relation to my own spiritual journey. A skirmish with the Abyss I generally don’t take lightly. It’s a process that occurs over at least days if not weeks or even longer, and one thread of it can overlap with others. Humans are after all very complex beings, more so when you become aware to who you really are inside.