Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Drudion '06 July

July 2006ce

Hail All Ye Heathens, Pagans and Refuseniks,

With the disappointing cancellation of THE LOST WEEKEND festival, I’ve been keeping my head down this Summer Solstice month, writing the new book and staying indoors far too much. Still, what with the World Cup providing some righteous outdoor spectacle, at least it’s good to know that the world is united via electricity and sponsorship, ho hum. But it’s of supreme significance that the team captains have been asked to read out a denunciation of racism at the beginning of each quarter final, most especially at a time when so many foul racists are being welcomed into the European Community. Hey, I did have one particularly cosmic moment this month during a roadtrip to and from Holy McGrail’s place in Yorkshire. I was up there to design a few new album covers, and we tried our hand at a jacket for the long-anticipated Tom Fourwinds book debut MONUMENTAL ABOUT PREHISTORIC DUBLIN. Anyway, McGrail was telling me of a freaky incident the other day when he was walking his dog Blakey. A Muslim woman came into his line of vision and – with great disgust – commanded that he get Blakey out of her way. Now, even though the dog is our most cherished pet here in the West, Holy McGrail knows well of Muslims’ distaste for the ‘unclean’ dog. But I had to inform him that Blakey – being black – is one notch beyond being merely unclean. For the Prophet Mohammed fetishized the black dog as being below all living creatures, stating plainly ‘The black dog is the devil’. Now, to ancient agrarian based cultures – the Jews, the Christians, the Japanese, indeed all cultures who began as Hunter/Gatherers and who subsequently graduated to agriculture – the dog is sacred, sacred because of its loyalty to humanity, and because of the manner in which it virtually domesticated itself way back in the Palaeolithic times by hanging around nomadic camps, and making itself useful as humanity’s hunting tool, thereafter becoming guardian of sheep when we became stockbreeders and farmers. In short, the dog is sacred in Europe. Holy McGrail and I discussed this in some depth, and I left for Nottingham soon afterwards to do some recording. However, as I passed through the Nottingham city centre and espied a woman in a burkha, the memory of Blakey the Black Dog once more arose in my mind and I thought of the Led Zeppelin song of the same name, playfully singing under my breath:

‘A hey hey mama, said the way you move… gonna make you sweat…’

Then I stopped in my tracks and nearly crashed my car. For - there on the dash - the numbers on my mile-o-meter read ‘66666’. Not just three sixes, brothers and sisters, but five of those suckers all in a long line. I shit you not – indeed I swear on the lives of everyone I hold dear. Moreover, I had to drive another full mile because I was convinced that the meter had merely jammed. There are no tenths-of-miles on my mile-o-meter. And, in the Nottingham traffic jam, 66667 did not rear up for another ten minutes. The number of the beast, therefore, has just been extended and I am that beast. 66666. I’d better have a word with Cat ‘I Love My Dog’ Stevens and see what that Lord Of The Paradox has to say about it all… A friend the other day suggested that there was something almost religious in my pathological hatred and fear of religions. I explained I was just majorly fearful of returning to superstition and shadow. But that 66666 incident has thrown me, and made me question my own superstitious nature…

But enough of my yacking - it’s time to kick corporate rock in the balls… and the re-release of JEHOVAHKILL is well on the way. Ironically, this album which was considered to have been too long and grey 15 years ago, is now being deluxe wrapped as a double-CD, complete with 70 minutes of the original outtakes. Yowsa! Transferring all those outtakes on to CD last week was a right old revelation… it still sounds as out there as it did 15 years ago. Look out for this deluxe double-CD edition sometime in September, with PEGGY SUICIDE due for the same treatment early next year. Now, with further regard to corporate rock, a lot has been written about this new band Wolfmother. I’ll admit that this stuff is deeply shit and too corporately informed to be worthy of consideration on this site. But, unless they’re talking about the Corporate Sector only, Wolfmother’s claim to be bringing back the power trio is rude, deluded and at least half a decade too late, especially when its overall sound is – though spirited compared to such smug power pap as The Raconteurs – still nothing less than the lowest form of Zep Rimming. Sounds like it was mixed by their A&R man, so don’t expect Sir Lord Baltimore, brothers’n’sisters. Expect instead 25% ZEPPELIN 3 ‘Tangerine’ dribble and 75% Page re-writes with a bit of Jon Lord overdubbed organ (which makes it NOT a power trio after all). Reach for your Ramesses, High Rise, your Nishinihon…

Wolfmangler's DWELLING IN A DEAD RAVEN FOR THE GLORY OF CRUCIFIED WOLVES

Poochlatz's VICTIMS OF SELF PRESERVATION

Aeons of Dreams' FALL OF THE GREY WINGED ONE

Axolotl's OBJECT PHANTOM

No no no, what you really gots to hear is the new WolfMANGLER, me dears. Released on the consistently great Aurora Borealis label, this stunningly-titled album DWELLING IN A DEAD RAVEN FOR THE GLORY OF CRUCIFIED WOLVES is as original as our blessed Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine, Waldteufel or Khanate, and is truly the sound of the re-heathenised north. Wolfmangler, I salute ye. Imagine if THE WICKER MAN had not been an absolute pile of Christian-informed what-your-auntie-thinks-pagans-do sub-sub-Hammer Horror, and had, instead, been visionary enough to allow us all to have glimpsed an imagined lifestyle of heathens on some remote northern isle. Well, Wolfmangler is that soundtrack. If a doom heavy metal band played the music of the Padstow Obby ‘Oss, we’d be somewhere close. If Martin Walkier of Sabbat made an album with a colliery brass band, we’d be somewhere close. With their bassoon, trombone and drums at the forefront, Wolfmangler’s heady ritual drawl is the best I’ve heard since the aforementioned Teeth of Lions, Waldteufel and Khanate. Genius or watt. Also worthy of serious brain cell reduction is VICTIMS OF SELF PRESERVATION by the black meditational Israeli duo Poochlatz (on Acum Records MAP003). Over Maor Appelbaum’s digital distortion and ever-ascending white noise’n’TV interference, the quasi-Rabbi Rani Zager spouts his spiel, each moment reinforcing my feelings of relief at having had the luck to have been fetched up (in this lifetime at least) here in green England. Hot on the heels of SunnO)))’s FLIGHT OF THE BEHEMOTH comes the superb and supremely useful doom meditation of FALL OF THE GREY WINGED ONE by Aeons Of Dreams. In the nihilism of the West, we urbanists (however long in the countryside) still gain comfort from music that summons the feelings of a perpetual express train passing us close by. This is the sound of Aeons Of Dreams, brothers and sisters. Vast eternities of spine tingling Thorean bolt-throwing by a horned Gardener God standing astride an iron catamaran fashioned of two colossal lawnmowers, drawn by winged and swift-moving eight-legged horses mowing the Garden of Odin. This Supernal Records release is epic. So is the super scrawled longform meditational album OBJECT PHANTOM, by Axolotl. Released on Ron Schneidermann’s superb Spirit Of Orr label, these four long mesmerising pieces are played grooves of real cosmic use. Search them out because there are never many copies of each Spirit Of Orr release.

Okay, it’s time for me to clear off. But, finally, I’m sad to see the slow inevitable decline of TOP OF THE POPS has finally resulted in that programme’s death. I know we always laughed and pretended it was bullshit but it served us well over the years, even allowing Merrick and myself to score a major league anti-Newbury Bypass coup when I presented the programme back in 1996. But I gain solace from the fact that, with TOP OF THE POPS’ passing, we step ever further away from the mirage of the overly fetishized so-called ‘Swinging 60s’ and deeper into these uncharted future times known as the 21st century. Let us not dwell upon the past, nor live exclusively for the future – let’s live for the future starting today.

U-Know,

JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)