Julian Cope’s Album of the Month

Crow Tongue - Ghost Eye Seeker

Crow Tongue
Ghost Eye Seeker

AOTM #95, April 2008ce
Released 2008 on Hand/Eye

  1. Ghost Eye Gaze:
    1. Ghost Eye See (5.13)
    2. Brightless Gaze, The True Vision (6.52)
    3. The Silverspun Web (4.46)
    4. Cloud Eye Sight (10.07)
    5. Beneath Wings, Above Wind (2.13)
  2. Seeker:
    1. Seeker Chant (9.31)
    2. Dream Asleep, Pray Awake (6.53)
  3. Candle, Corpse & Bell (5.51)

Note: This review is dedicated to Holy McGrail, who clued me into this stuff in the first place.

He’s Mad Enough

Many corporate rock’n’roll Artists, even some highly respected ones, are well-known for agonizing over every stage of their recordings, even in the final run to completion, as though they’re still desperate to keep their precious work from the gaping jaws of the public, insisting on mix after new mix, then perhaps one re-mix more, before finally having their first-new-album-for-five-years prised from their vicelike grip by their record company, thereafter dutifully touring the world and speaking to every kind of media type until the bones of their project has been picked clean. And while getting a new album out of such artists is like getting blood from a stone, just try getting them to stop talking about it once they’ve started. And getting them to start another project? Forget-about-it! These cats are so driven by Celeb (Un-)Consciousness that they don’t even feel that they truly exist unless there’s a full page ad in every magazine and an in-depth career overview for each campaign, so their PR machine’s gotta keep getting them more and more gigs at the Grand Ole Vegaswood Lig, itself an unholy & interminable cycle of ‘ain’t we rad?’ mutual back-slapping. In the meantime, truly Visionary Rock’n’roll Artists – often driven by their own self-imposed deadline – spend their lives Clawing their way up the side of the razor-sharp and slippery scree slope to the top of their own chosen artistic summit; finally standing triumphant at last (but all-too-briefly) atop the Peak, before dashing down again in one breathless running tumble and – after re-establishing base camp – doing it all over. Visionary artists, when they’re right there in the Eye of the Vision, inevitably find themselves surfing some specific and Niagaran tidal wave that pours out of the heavens and cascades into their Third Eyes and fills them up so deep and so quickly that they are, thereafter, always on the point of drowning, capsizing overwhelmed, virtually raped-to-bloody-rawness like they were – in terms of their Metaphysical place in the Cosmos – no more than some tiny human-shaped toby jug, an upright human cabriolet with the hood pulled back, while the Norse God Thor was – after a Friday evening’s mead drinking contest with his buds Odin and Tyr – pissing the entire honey-tinted contents of his distended belly into their head from 10,000 feet above. Yup, for the Visionary, it never rains but it pours, downpours continuously, comes down in sheets, flooding out so quickly that the Visionary Artist may even be forced to form projects with different names, offshoots, fake ensembles, any-fucking-thing to extract that aircraft hangar-sized inventory of stuff from inside their head. They gotta kick that Gnostic shit out, so they can … start all over again from the beginning because it just keeps building up; new information is constantly stacking up in their melted plastic brains. Indeed, the Death of each project and the Birth of each subsequent one is so essential to the Visionary Artist that their Visions will coagulate and solidify if they are not facilitated by those around them. Constant Renewal is essential. At James Brown’s artistic height, so constant were his revelations that he always had a side project (the JB’s in their various guises, Fred Wesley solo LPs, etc) on the go whenever he was recording a major new album: 1) for the sake of his Mental Health, and 2) because the formerly dirt-poor James couldn’t bear to waste a single moment in an expensive studio. Even the well-heeled-from-birth Miles Davis was the same for decades, propelled by Inner Demons and churning out ideas so fast that overtaxed musicians & recording engineers fell like flies. When the ever-fertile Neil Young recorded briefly for the uber-corporate-and-proud-of-it Geffen Records back in the mid-1980s, the sudden pressure to over-promote everything and slow down his natural recording tempo nearly sent Young insane (when Geffen Records denied Kurdt Cobain the constant renewal his Hazardous Inner Life demanded, nay, commanded, then The Blonde One was forced to take his own life rather than spend the next two years factory-milking the udders of the IN UTERO cow until they were – to his Fast-Forward-Thinking Fertile Crescent mind – drier than your dead great-grandmother’s tits). The evidence is strong that the most ingenious of those Visionary Artists at their shamanic peak will employ any & every moment as a springboard, a new catapult to project them further further, ever further into their Trip. At 3.10 minutes into the title-track of The Doors’ THE SOFT PARADE, Jimbo refuses to allow engineer Bruce Botnick to edit out his vocal stumble about its being ‘the best part of the trip’ so as to provide us with evidence that he’s so deep in that Trip he’s become almost pre-verbal, Patti Smith provides us with similar evidence in the form of a little giggle and the comment ‘It was really great, man’ exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds into RADIO ETHIOPIA’s ‘Poppies’, whilst at 7.24 minutes into ‘The Lowest Reaches of Our Highest Preaches’ on Zodiac Mountain’s 2007CE avant-commune classic LAKE WINNEBAGO, poet/ruffian Clay Ruby, rather than editing out an accidental cough, instead turns it into a Vesuvian lava shower of vocaleptics, Ruby becoming as some dog-headed priest standing on the very landing-strip employed to fly Mother Nature’s silver seed to her new home in the Sun. Moreover, however righteous their overall Trip may be, many of even the most eco-friendly Visionary Artists care not one jot about how much of their home planet’s raw material is used in the execution of their Trip, because – right there at that moment – their Truth is the Absolute; they’re delivering, and if they don’t birth this lickle babby right Now, motherfucker, then they will be forced to do a Von LMO and enter suspended animation. Which brings us to the subject of this April Album of the Month – Timothy Renner AKA TiMOTHy Revelator, who is currently ‘enjoying’ a similar position, barfing out album-after-album, project-after-project, in a berserk effort to soothe his achingly over-worked brow. Under the earlier monikers Stone Breath and Black Happy Day, occasionally under his own nom de guerre TiMOTHY Revelator, or now as leader of the duo Crow Tongue, this artist is currently blasting forth huge statements whose importance may not be recognised until years hence. Yes, ladies’n’gentlemen, TiMOTHy Revelator has something very specific to say, and – or so it appears to this writer – he will build any vehicle in his power to say it ... ALL. ‘I am a chancer’, I declared on DARK ORGASM’s ‘White Bitch Comes Good’. TiMOTHy’s chance is Now and he lives it in the Moment. I’ve heard much of his music, but have never before felt compelled to broadcast an All Points Bulletin. But this particular Crow Tongue album is, I believe, the place to start. Over an incessant & honking Appalachian post-Henry Flynt duo-drone somewhat akin to Tyrannosaurus Rex during their notorious Doom Donovan phase, ie: at M. Bolan’s most spectacularly portentous and archly Semitic, singer TiMOTHy Revelator intones seemingly endless declarations of world destruction and blasts invocations out into the Universe. Bass banjo drones, hand drums and a spectacular Old Testament-style vocal delivery are all transmitted our way via the most intensely claustrophobic almost entombed production. Much of TiMOTHy’s other music is far more attractive in the traditional sense (ie: more palatable) but this particular Crow Tongue release is – to my mind – the most useful place to start by far; useful enough for me to feel the need to declare possible comradeship with him, despite his having named himself Christian. A Christian? Cough, splutter, aghast stares. Free your minds, Brother & Sister Motherfuckers, as I had to do … for the Revelator’s Christianity is closer to our Heathenism, our Paganism, nay, (for many) our Damned Satanism than it is to any Popery, Anglicanism, or foolish Orthodoxy. In the late ‘60s, Tokyo’s J.A. Caesar advertised his apocalyptic music as being:

“Voodoo rock that invokes blood and the memory of blood.”

So it is with TiMOTHy. This Revelator music may claim to be Christian, but what a bloody and pagan Christianity it is. For the Revelator embraces both the blood and the darkness in the void, continually invoking the Sun, the Moon, the Twilight, the Darkness … hell, kiddies, its veritably Armenian in its worship of the Christ; it’s like some throwback to the sort of arcane early Christianity that still had to rub shoulders with the worshippers of bollockless Attis & his old lady Cybele, and with the shrill-voiced effeminate priests of Frey dragging their God/Idol through the muddy fields of Jutland. TiMOTHy’s practising an Ur-Christianity from back when it was still just one-of-many cults competing for bums-on-seats, so it had to accept the pagans upon the heath and their desire to worship this new Peace God the old way, which – to the Armenians right up from AD301 to the present day – has involved dumping headless birds across carved Bronze Age monoliths, themselves Christianized by having been incised with fantastic khatchkar crosses, the smeared blood crusting those exquisitely detailed carved lines. It’s Noah sacrificing the lamb on the Tukh Manukh stone altar on the Mithraic hill of Etchmiadzin at the foot of Mt Ararat. A bloody covenant, children. A vandal handshake through the hole of the Odin Stone up at Stenness, on Orkney Mainland; a handshake and the inevitable cutting of flesh/spilling of blood. Directly interfacing with the Divine Godhead. No second-hand la-di-da Vicar-ious Remove back then, Gnostic punches monotonously & repeatedly thrown at the unprotected head. I know I have a tendency sometimes to hyperbolize too soon, so don’t mistakenly think I’m already asking y’all: So, is TiMOTHy really a reborn Grigory the Enlightener screaming from the hell-hole that was Khor Virap? As evidenced by the brevity of this review, I ain’t saying because it’s way too early to tell, and I don’t wanna heft any unnecessary pressure on this artist neither. Besides, a Visionary Artist’s Truth takes at least 30 years to take form in others’ heads. I’ll tell y’all this, though, the wave currently being surfed by the Revelator could be as useful to us as any I’ve yet encountered – even that of mein hairy Stephen O’Malley – in the eight-year Album of the Month sojourn I’ve made thus far into the Godless lands of the virtual 21st Century. Whether or not this shit sticks, only Old Father Time will tell us. Until then, look to the Whore Rising, salute the Odin and the rest of the Heroes, kick the Gods’ lard arses into touch, and hail TiMOTHy Revelator as being one highly useful Son of the Bitch.