My music release Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines was meant to be a gentle and hopefully enchanting affair that embraced an ecological message and the idea that places can stir up a strong sensation without reason. During the genesis of this release I happened to be reading Phil Hine’s excellent Cthulhu Mythos and Cthulhu Pathworking chaos magic work The Pseudonomicon. Just by simply reading a book one can raise all kinds of unexpected occurrences and consequences.
It is without question a strange and beautiful thing to find oneself in a place not known to you that you’ve been somehow magically transported to. After an afternoon appointment escorting my elderly mother to a cataract pre-op appointment in June 2021 in Bristol our driver John was suddenly forced to make the decision to change his direction after hitting a solid brick wall of traffic that aimed at adding an extended two hours to our journey home. As the full-time carer of an elderly disabled parent I was more than happy to have options that improved the quality and shortened length of the journey.
A series of local accidents had seized up the flow of traffic across the system and created something of a perfect storm. John’s top drawer driving skills in tandem with the on-board built-in GPS map gave him the necessary guidance and opportunities to take the vehicle out of the vast and quickly expanding traffic jam. Accidents it seems can sometimes be serendipitous gateways to new and unusual places. It was only after some 15 minutes that I found myself in a part of North Somerset that I’d previously been unaware of. Avonmouth according to Wikipedia is “a port and outer suburb of Bristol, England facing two rivers: the reinforced north bank of the final stage of the Avon which rises at sources in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset; and the eastern shore of the Severn Estuary.” This I found to be correct. However, one aspect of this place had remained completely unbeknownst to me.
Four Senvion MM92 wind turbines were energised in Avonmouth at the end of November 2013 which now produced roughly 20.9 GWh of power supplying 5,232 homes. These surreal and allegedly infrasound producing wind turbines are slowly but surely taking over from the now iconic hum producing pylons that so haunt our landscape and imaginations. The swooshing spiralled sounds that emanate across the rural plains mix in with the butterflies, bees, birds, and local natural sounds. I took a photograph from the car as I travelled past these waving armed ghostly leviathans. My mind drifted and saw that the future would be filled with these tall and seemingly friendly ghosts. Was it a friendly wave or a warning that those spinning blades were wildly gesticulating?
Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines is an album of two long form experimental ambient pieces which are inspired by the random event of happening upon an unfamiliar place. The tracks feature electronic and organic elements therein. In her paper Geography and the Visual Image: A Hauntological Approach by Elisabeth Roberts she states, “Like ghosts, visual images have an undecidable, ‘in-between’ status, haunting between material and immaterial, real and virtual. Both are theorized as dead and alive, representation and presentation, as deadened, flattened copies of reality or animate, affective, transformative, having a ‘life’ of their own.” These wind turbines are indeed alive and in their swirling and vortexing sounds speak to us in a new language of air currents and hidden whistling messages. The very wind of the earth is now being harnessed to transform its power into electric energy.
Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines is my humble offering back to these ghosts of land and air, and to the earth spirits, bringing with it dreams of hope, renewal, and inclusivity within a rich and diverse habitat that all species, spirits, ghosts, deities and the abundant ever-evolving multidimensional aspects of nature can encompass in serene co-existence. The entities that dwell in this endless windblown realm now hide inside this very recording, huddled, swimming in their own newfound worlds, literally oozing out of the spool. A group of children visited the wind turbines. A face-painting activity was offered to them. Out of all the subjects that were offered to them as facial design options the most popular were “Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines”. Children are the visionary dream merchants of the future. May their innate and unsoiled wisdom and courage protect us all.
Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines was meant to be released in a limited-edition cassette run on a small cassette label on the 26th of November 2021. A photograph of myself reading a copy of Phil Hine’s chaos magic book The Pseudonomicon was a part of the publicity package for this album along with a quote in the accompanying essay that came with the album.
“Of course, there are other forms of Gateway which can be entered. Examples of these include pictures (such as those painted by Austin Osman Spare), angle webs, crystals, scrying mirrors, and a state of consciousness described by Lovecraft which is characterized by an intense sense of nostalgia for that which has long vanished. A place can stir up such a strong sensation without obvious reason, as can a painting, or an arrangement of patterns. – The Pseudonomicon by Phil Hine.“
The photograph of myself reading The Pseudonomicon was then subsequently printed as small cards without my permission by the label. It was then inferred by the tape label owner via email very close to the scheduled release date on the 16th November 2021 that the racist values of H. P. Lovecraft and his similar sounding book The Necronomicon could in some bizarre and weird way be interpreted as being the values held by the cassette tape label.
The label stated: “Someone pointed out to me the potential connotations of the Pseudonomicon – I know is an occultist tome which I have no issue with at all. What was pointed out to me was its relation to The Necronomicon, a cornerstone in the writing of HP Lovecraft. Whilst I know Lovecraft is a highly respected supernatural and science fiction writer, I am highly aware of the spectre of racism that always hangs over him. Releasing something on our label that could be interpreted that way got me incredibly anxious and rather than contacting you about it I panicked, hid, and sent you the cards without any explanation at all.“
Offended by the ignorance displayed by the label I wrote to them stating emphatically over a number of emails that myself, Phil Hine, and the book The Pseudonomicon were not racist or supported racism in anyway whatsoever. I replied: “I am saddened to read that you have fallen for the mistaken views of “someone” that you have thought of as knowledgeable. They are not. They are very silly indeed. Why is this? Let me take some time to fully explain. The Necronomicon, also referred to as the Book of the Dead, or under a purported original Arabic title of Kitab al-Azif, is a fictional grimoire (textbook of magic) appearing in stories by the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and his followers. H. P. Lovecraft was raised in a time that supported racism. He had and grew up with racist views. I do not in anyway whatsoever support, condone or believe in racism at all. I think discrimination is utterly repugnant. Phil Hine or his book The Pseudonomicon (though sounding very slightly like The Necronomicon) does not espouse racism or supports it. Whomsoever has made this connection to racism and this book has obviously not read it. There is “potential” for anything being totally misconstrued as anything. Phil Hine is not racist. He’s written a classic book on chaos magic reinvigorating a staid old idea.”
The label then wounded over a number of emails by my assertive, logically reasoned argument and the occasional withering putdown (“Assumptions make an ass of you and me.”) then decided to not release the music and stated that they would destroy and “repurpose” all copies of the release in what can only be seen as a mindless act. The label’s owner stated: “This is a hobby for me, one that costs me money – I run the label at a loss – and I am not prepared to spend what little money I have on an artist or release I no longer believe in.”
Racism is evil. Ignorance however is the fuel and oxygen that fans it. Ignorance is the single most dangerous and all pervading problem that faces humanity today. Before you or anyone around you decides to cast any aspersions about anyone seen reading a book that you think might possibly be offensive in some way either directly or by association please read the actual book first before you cast them. While I will remain strongly sympathetic and compassionate towards the person who runs the label who suffers daily from chronic illnesses, severe issues of pain management and the subsequent mental health difficulties that they may encounter I do not appreciate, being a practising Buddhist shaman, any suggestions from anyone irrespective of who they are that my ethical or personal behaviour is nothing less than benign, inclusive and non-discriminatory. As Phil Hine states “A place can stir up such a strong sensation without obvious reason, as can a painting, or an arrangement of patterns.” Indeed they can Phil and a book jacket cover, the name of the book, the author and its inspiration alone can equally stir up strong sensations which can sometimes be founded in ignorance, without any obvious reason and knee jerk anxiety.
I will be releasing Butterflies, Birds, Rainbows and Wind Turbines on the tape label’s own now aborted release date without the support of a physical tape presence on the 26th of November 2021 onto my Bandcamp account. I would like to thank Phil Hine, Mum, John Conway, Kristian Pont, Mae Surasatee, Insulate Britain, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Shelter, Andy Wood at TQ zine, The Thai Occult, Rituals & Declarations zine, Paul Watson and Hookland. Audio production and mastering by Sheer Zed. Photographs by Sheer Zed.