Saturday, 6 July 2019
Michael Cashmore - The Doctrine of Transformation through Love 1.
Album: The Doctrine of Transformation through Love 1
Artist: Michael Cashmore
Catalogue no: GG284
1. The Gateway to all Understanding
2. Perception Should not Influence Perspectives
3. Before the Crown there Lies Thorns
4. Do not be Consumed by the Concept of Death
5. There is a Way out of the Dark Forest
6. We are all Responsible
7. Physical Life only Happens Once, Transform Now!
8. Healing Sonic Medication
9. The Sacred Revolving Formula of Opposites
10. The Swallow Flies Free and Formless
11. Conscious Transformational Mantra
12. The Doctrine of Love and Opposites
13. Lean Upon the Light
Unless you’ve been living in a cave high up in the Himalayas in an attempt to ‘find’ yourself or just to avoid shallow pursuits of today’s civilisation then the name of Michael Cashmore should be familiar to just about everyone reading this blog. Back in the day he released music under the name of Nature & Organisation, and written music for musicians of the likes of Nick Cave, Marc Almond (Soft Cell, Marc & the Mambas), and Anohni (Anthony and the Johnsons). His most fruitful collaboration, spanning 25 years, has been with Current 93 and David Tibet, helping to create their trademark sparse yet lush post-industrial apocalyptic folk sound. With that in mind I approached this set with certain expectations – and what I got was something that completely confounded them.
Michael Cashmore has been undergoing a personal transformation and in response his music has itself undergone a similar metamorphosis. The Doctrine of Transformation through Love 1 is the first in a series documenting that transfiguration. That in itself isn’t new, of course: many artists have used the media of musical expression, art, or the written word as a way of recording how their inner lives have shifted. But if, like me, your only encounter with the work of Mr. Cashmore has been the music of Current 93 (although I have listened to some of his Nature & Organisation work but that was decades ago), the dark techno, electronic, melodic, and beat-driven tracks contained on this release might surprise you.
Personally, what a wonderful a refreshing surprise I found it. Artists constantly evolve (look at David Bowie in the mainstream – nobody seemed to complain and it was even praised as his strong point). Psychic TV dabbled in acid house way back when. Coil veered between goodness knows how many styles. What Cashmore documents here and the way in which he expresses it, is in no way any different to what the abovementioned did.
Each of these pieces channels an aspect of his journey from darkness into light, and a careful listen will indeed reveal the nature of the path he’s taken. Also the track titles themselves are a clue to the landmarks visited along the way. Much of the first half of the album is coloured with shades of darkness, heavy on the bass rhythms and beats, wherein we’re all cocooned in a self-realised state of ignorance, blissfully unaware of our potential. Gradually, however, the light emerges a crack at a time, and melody piles upon melody, signalling the transformation itself and its accumulative effects.
Make no mistake – all the compositions on this album are carefully crafted, as is only to be expected from this particular musician. Above all, in spite of this being a highly intimate chapter in Cashmore’s autobiography (with vocal contributions from Shaltmira and Bill Fay), the music transcends any personal relevance meaning it can be experienced by any one of us. Furthermore, by the end of the album, one can feel the joy of the transformation. This curmudgeon even found himself subconsciously moving to several tracks and smiling. A recommendation indeed.
Don’t just take my word about how good this album is – head to the link at Klanggalerie at https://klanggalerie.bandcamp.com/album/the-doctrine-of-transformation-through-love-1, and experience it for yourself. There’s a great deal to take from these 13 wonderful tracks, and you too will travel along the path from disturbance to bliss.
Psymon Marshall 2019