Monday, 4 November 2019

Cordis Cincti Serpente - I - 30th Anniversary Edition

Album: I - 30th Anniversary Edition
Artist: Cordis Cincti Serpente
Catalogue no: IÖR SK.I

     1.      The Sword of the Lord
     2.      7 Charkras/10 Sephirot
     3.      A.*.A.*.
     4.      Fourteen Enochian Key
     5.      Astral Wandering
     6.      P.V.N.

Listening to this now, it’s hard to believe that this recording was committed to tape thirty years ago. Originally ‘released’ as a limited edition cassette of 31 that was not for sale generally but instead mailed to close friends of the artist only, it has now been remastered by Raffaele Pezzella’s Sonologyst Mastering and issued as a cassette in an edition of 93 signed and numbered copies by Italian label Industrial Ölocaust Recordings, which is an extension of the Akkademia Esoterica Üsher, an organisation dedicated to magical and mystical studies. Indeed, given that it was recorded so long ago (relatively speaking) it remains extremely fresh, its ritualistic atmospheres and ambience probably predating the term ‘ritual ambient’ itself, and I am guessing that it was most likely ahead of its time when those 31 people received their copies.

‘The Sword of the Lord’ opens with a massive breathy drone, which is soon joined by gale force exhalations, deeper rumbles, and a voice chanting words of power. Fracturing crackles suggest a release of enormous energies, barely constrained by the will of the celebrant as he calls forth whatever entity he wishes to manifest. This is wonderfully subterranean, a grotto deep underground away from the prying eyes of the profane, a suitable venue for the manifestation of some earthy demon/angel, a divine presence whose power and strength is beyond human ken. One can literally feel those conduits opening up and the surging energy they’re channelling, a veritable spiritual power station, and yet we instinctively feel that we’re only being shown a fraction of that being’s total power.

‘7 Charkras/10 Sephirot’ starts off quietly and resonantly, its shimmering tones floating about one’s head, the sensations elicited only interrupted intermittently by blasts of explosive energy. It feels as if each of those explosions signals the opening of a new charkra (CCS’ spelling) or the attainment of a Sephirot along an aspirant’s esoteric journey. As the track progresses the strength imparted by each new achievement increases, pouring knowledge and energy into the student. Like the foregoing track, one knows that this journey is an arduous one, and that the aspirant needs a metaphysical strength beyond the everyday in order to withstand the barrage of energies manifested. No wonder, then, that many fall by the wayside along the path, at least judging from what’s being essayed here.

‘A.*.A.*.’ I am assuming is a reference to Crowley’s successor magical order the Astrum Argentum (Silver Star) to the Golden Dawn, and indeed that’s confirmed by the presence of Crowley’s voice on this track. Lovely deep drones open this one, accompanied and punctuated by more detonations of percussive ejaculations. Interweaving above, below, and in between are chords reminiscent of choirs, perhaps descriptive of the order itself. Crowley’s voice itself is mellifluous and singsong, intoning words and incantations in ritual ecstasy. The spiritual aspect of the Work is deeply apparent here, and the sonorous quality of Crowley’s chanting only adds a deeper layer of occult power to the mysteries behind the ritual.

Beginning what would have been side two on the original cassette is ‘Fourteen Enochian Key’, a blast of drone rumble oscillating slowly and glacially, a seismic quake of subterrestrial energy building and building, and always looking for an outlet. Staccato breaths occasionally intercede, perhaps bringing with them a promise of release. Enochian by the way, for those who don’t know, is the angelic language as dictated by discarnate entities to Dr. John Dee through the agency of Edward Kelly, the said language since becoming a foundation cornerstone of Hermetic and Ceremonial Magic in the Western Tradition. This track speaks of immense power, and if only we could understand and speak the language of the angels then we could unlock secrets of the universe and the deeper meanings of life. 

‘Astral Wandering’ begins in the most ‘ambient’ manner, a shimmering, uplifting, soaring, and meandering dance amongst the stars and nebulae, and its keening tone suggests the song is a lamentation that we have yet to really gyrate among those celestial bodies in actuality – perhaps we could learn much of the true nature of both ourselves and the universe we inhabit if we were able to. This keening eventually morphs into a mechanical rhythm, suggestive of the mechanisms behind creation, a prefigurement of the order we’ll inevitably find in our inner and outer explorations. The track eventually circles back to the beginning but this time that keening sounds more harmonious, saying perhaps that by understanding all will we gain the peace many have been seeking since mankind appeared.

Lastly, we have ‘P.V.N’ – and I have to acknowledge my ignorance as to what those initials stand for. I am tending to think that it could be a Thelemic term, but then again it could be something completely mundane or an abbreviation for something in Latin. Sputtering heartbeat percussion is our entrèe here, interspersed with a loud reverberant drum, both elements seemingly resounding and into an infinity of space and time. A breathy drone then makes its appearance, suggestive of something alive and vital, the lungs of the universe inhaling and exhaling in time to a secret rhythm. The breathing gradually is given voice, with which perhaps to intone the Tetragrammaton, and thereby bringing all into being. This is the ultimate secret of the universe – the living, breathing name of which we should not speak. To know it is to understand its power.

I’ll be honest here – if this hadn’t been labelled as a 30th Anniversary Edition I’d have been none the wiser, truly believing it to be a recent recording and not one originally put on tape in 1989. If music can be said to be timeless, then this surely must qualify as possessing that quality. Granted it’s been remastered using modern technology, but even given that and, like I pointed out in my opening paragraph, it still comes across as fresh and relevant, as well as vital, here in 2019. In my humble opinion, this is not just a historical document but also an essential recording in its own right, and I for one am glad that Industrial Ölocaust Recordings has issued this because so many would have missed out. With music of this calibre it would have been an absolute shame to keep it hidden (and yes, I know it speaks of hidden things, a bit of irony there…). If justice be served, then this artefact should itself be a sold out item.

Check out IÖR’s Facebook page for details of purchase:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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