ID Music: Pure and Impure Moods
Full spectrum heavy mellow flow, from floaty yang vibes to downpressing yin radiation
Wanna head straight into the ID Musics? Scroll down for download links, streams, and setlists.
If you are one of the many, many supporters of Inter-Dimensional Music who does not always appreciate our program’s disruptive transitions from floaty yang vibes to downpressing yin radiation, I have some good news for you: We’re now sorting some of our programs into Pure and Impure Flow sessions, offering complementary versions of meditation practice to fit your set and setting. I resist the characterization of anything as “pure,” but it’s too tempting to pass up a reference to the 1994 Pure Moods compilation that brought New Age music to an untold number of suburban soundsystems. Note to designers: please forgive our clumsy attempts at figuring out the Pure Moods font families.
I approach each episode of Inter-Dimensional Music as an actual meditation session. I aspire to create something suitable for sitting quietly, doing yoga, or as a soundtrack to whatever it is that’s happening while we’re on your airwaves, e.g. we’re told by our friends at Pen Druid Brewing that the broadcast works well for their packaging/bottling workflow.
“We must keep a very wide view of meditation,” says Seung Sahn. “If you keep a mind that is clear like space, then everything is meditation…”
We are testing the limits of the Korean Zen master’s teaching by presenting actual metal as a soundtrack for meditation. But since I’m presenting myself as nothing more than a delinquent slop-style Zen student, I’m okay with that. In my experience sitting meditation is most effective as a silent practice. But finding equanimity in discomfort is about letting the internal disruption of “thoughts” and the external disruptions of car alarms, sore hips, or vibrating devices flow through us as much as the chaotic sounds of free jazz or technical death metal.
video images excerpted from the White River, Slow Flow project
The decision to add metal and other downward-facing forms to the Inter-Dimensional Music rotation is not one that I take lightly. In addition to weeding outthe white supremacists, homophobes, TERFs, and misogynists from my Bandcamp library, I’m trying to sort the work that celebrates cruelty from work that acknowledges suffering. Which leads us to the language featured on 20230217 Impure Flow. Lama Road Owens is a self-described “Black Buddhist Southern Queen,” and is also the author of Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger. His voice is excerpted from a 2021 interview with NPR:
"When I first became interested in practice my teachers and mentors would always say 'Look at what's beneath an emotion. Look at what's happening beneath the surface of everything.' When I started looking at my anger, I began to see that there's a lot beneath the anger. I'm not just angry or pissed off for nothing. And that was a fundamental moment for me. One of the really profound pieces of our teachings that I received early on was that anger is the bodyguard for my hurt, my wounded-ness. When I look at my hurt, I begin to see that this hurt is so, so complex. And so I stepped back and began to say 'this hurt feels like broken-heartedness.' Broken-heartedness essentially for me is a deep sense of disappointment, a fundamental hurt that I've been born into something that's not aligned with my intentions to be free, safe and happy. And I just carry that. And I realized I've carried that my whole life. And I may very well carry that for the rest of my life."
These are the questions I ask when considering angry, heavy, grotesque, dark material for any of my art projects: What is beneath these emotions? Is it the sound of unexamined violence? Or something worse, that works to support oppressive ideology? If I’ve done my due diligence, the metal you’ll hear on our airwaves might work like what Lama Rod is describing here. It’s a reaction to the cruelty and suffering of a world that is at odds with our intention to encourage freedom, safety, and happiness for everyone. Or as antifascist activist and labor journalist Kim Kelly wrote of the funeral doom band Lycus, featured on this episode of our program, “The quartet refrains from histrionic, death-worshipping self-hatred and instead embraces a more cosmic, organic take on sorrow.”
video images excerpted from the White River, Slow Flow project
With all of that said, the heavier elements of the Inter-Dimensional Music practice probably work better for the in-person mindfulness installations that I hope to bring back to spaces with good air circulation later this spring. This is an esoteric practice that benefits from a thorough introduction. I don’t want to be mistaken as the sort of shit-head “medicine journey” dude who initiates bad trips by taking non-consensual detours to the edge with heavy music. Such sounds are a legitimate part of my practice, but an understandable hard pass for others. And so Pure Flow 202302224 offers a return to the early Pure Moods days of ID Music, when we confined ourselves to the light and floaty yang side of the psychedelic spectrum, mixing classic New Age and contemporary ambient music with meditative drone and spiritual jazz. In the interest of warming up my guided meditation voice, there’s a brief body-scan monologue at the top of the hour. Stay tuned for more information on (hopefully) soon-coming opportunities to join us for IRL Basking in Gravity.
As always, gratitude to the people who email me, send me interesting cassettes in the physical mail, help me work out these scattered thoughts in real-time on twitter, share the newsletter with their friends, lurk anonymously, upgrade their subs to paid, downgrade their subs to free, or unsubscribe and save themselves the minor irritation of another unwanted email. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to know you’re out there.
blessing up and blessing down,
If you know anyone who might find value or otherwise enjoy Void Contemplation Tactics or Inter-Dimensional Music, please pass it along. It means a lot to me!
Word of mouth is my primary form of promotion. My reach is limited on social media, which I’m increasingly convinced is a good thing. As Dōgen's teacher told him, “You don't have to collect many people like clouds. Having many fake practitioners is inferior to having a few genuine practitioners. Choose a small number of true persons of the way and become friends with them.”
Inter-Dimensional Music 20230217
North America's Gnarliest Impure Flow of cosmic, organic takes on sorrow and anger
For this week's practice, it's a return of IMPURE FLOW: an hour of ritualistic Japanese industrial gorge music, atmospheric black metal from the Australian desert that sounds like the end of the world, and other opportunities to embrace a cosmic, organic take on sorrow and anger during these Armagideon Times.
Our soundtrack begins, and comes to an end, with “a solitary ritual” from Oneiromancer, where “keyboards and slow chanting rise through the chattering birds and pitter-pattering precipitation.” I wrote about this project for Aquarium Drunkard awhile back, in the context of the artist’s work with righteous black metal unit Bull of Apis Bull of Bronze, and similarly inclined ambient undertakings. BoA BoB has new music coming (hopefully) later this year, and members of the band also brought Icelandic black metal band Svartidauði to my attention, and a choice cut from their Flesh Cathedral album is also featured here.
This program also marks the first appearance of Gorge on the ID Music airwaves. Gorge defies comprehensive description, but gorge artists describe their sound as any music with lots of toms called Gorge, and report that it is inspired by and often made to emulate actual gorges. Also they call the music “gorge,” not music, and the refer to themselves as “bootists,” rather than artists.
There’s also classic crust from Nausea, witchy lo-fi black metal from Tennessee, skronky trumpet-forward grindcore (also via Tennessee) and we’ll hear Medicine Singers’ making radical connections in real-time between traditional powwow music, psychedelic punk, spiritual jazz, and electronic minimalism.
Language throughout the broadcast from Lama Rod Owens, self-described “Black Buddhist Southern Queen” and the author of Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger.
artist – work
Oneiromancer – Liminality (edit)
SUNN O))) – Candlegoat
Svartidauði – Sterile Seeds
Indus Bonze – 流砂 Quicksand 2022
Medicine Singers – Shapeshifter
Knoll – Throe of Upheaval
Kryatjurr of Desert Ahd – Moisture
Lycus – Resonance In Aether
Hex Clock – The Witch of Agnesi
Nausea – Clutches
Oneiromancer – Liminality (edit)
☸️ Lama Rod Owens
Inter-Dimensional Music 20230224
North America's Gnarliest Flujo Puro for loosening your body and mind
For this week's session, it's a PURE FLOW of yang uplift, a practice based in the transformation of anger and suffering into compassion and kindness toward everything, including yourself. Our bodies are calcifying regardless, but our minds can stay loose and become looser if we give up on attempts to control our body, other bodies, or reality in general, to conform to our desires.
Our soundtrack includes New Age jazz from Carlos Niño & Co., "harmonic visualizations via transcendental alchemy" from Santa Fe’s GRACE Ø, and Aaaron Dooley and friends working “gentle bass harmonics” into a heady dub/jazz/psych fusion. We’re also delighted, as always, to welcome longtime friends of the show PJS back to the airwaves.
Our program begin, and comes to an end with electro-acoustic devotionals from Loscil // Lawrence English, along with guided meditation from your host.
artist – work
Loscil // Lawrence English – Grey
David Edren – -omgeving intro
David Edren – Omgeving
GRACE Ø – Céleste : Bhairavi Purple (Extended)
Wailing Souls – Jah Jah Give Us Live (Don't Feel No Way)
PJS – Light Years
Carlos Niño & Friends – Thankingtheearth LIVE (featuring Nate Mercereau and Josh Johnson)
Aaron Dooley – Ütiwaah
Loscil // Lawrence English – Black
☸️ Cosmic Chambo
You can help make Void Contemplation Tactics an emotionally rewarding and/or slightly less unprofitable project by sharing this post, subscribing for free, subscribing for money, and/or purchasing music from the artists we play on the Inter-Dimensional Music airwaves. Breathe deep in the Bandcamp library. And thank you.
Mea culpa: I spend a surprising amount of time keeping nasty shit off my airwaves, and I’m happy to advise if anyone comes across inscrutable metal that has sketchy vibes. For the record, the following oppressive shit-head metal artists made it through my filters due to negligence or inscrutability: Drudkh (Ukrainian folk-metal fascists and Stepan Bandera apologists), Burzum (white supremacist murderer Varg Vikernes), Mgta (more “apolitical” black metal people who have a surprising number of connections to white supremacists), Disma (former lead singer is/was a Nazi), Inquisition (Nazi stuff and pædo stuff), Venom Prison (recently outed as transphobes), Loss (misogyny, abuse allegations, and at least one sketchy SS tattoo), Vektor (well documented charges of abuse), and of course Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, the ambient music project from artist Dominick Fernow whose ideological positions are somewhat inscrutable but who has years of experience collaborating with and promoting explicit white supremacist and other politically-engaged fascist artists on his Hospital Productions label, and on releases under his Ash Pool and Prurient guises. Sigh. Sorry to bring you up to speed on all that.
My very loose and subjective criteria start with a guess as to whether the artist is ignorant, oppressive, or just another edgy shit-head. And also makes use of a very broad “when in doubt, throw it out” mindset. The website Encyclopedia Metallum is helpful by allowing users to sort by “themes,” making it easy to cut anybody who includes “Aryan history,” “genetics,” “Identitarian Satanism,” or “National Socialism” as part of their profile. If you want your metal band to be on my widely broadcast yet understandably unpopular airwaves, it’s up to you to convince me you’re not a white supremacist. The bar is very low!
The last joke makes more sense if you say “bootist” out loud.