On Cultural Change, Consciousness, and Music by SillyMickel Adzema

 

The Perfect Confluence of Context, Moment, and Person Makes History – e.g., Obama’s Astonishing Rise to Presidency

 

But the Perfect Alignment of a Nation’s or World’s Deep Mood, the Moment, and a Musician or Artist Can Change the World Forever – e.g., The Beatles

 

The Consciousness Expanding Potency of

Will Oldham’s Aural Creations. Welcome, strange new preternaturally profound world.

Your clarity could not possibly have dawned at a better time in our darkening and drowsy world.

 

 

Will Personal and Social Change Synergize Again As Powerfully, As Suddenly, and As Wonderfully Exciting, Beautiful, and Lasting as Before?

 

Like Bob Dylan, Will Oldham has discovered a New Musical Paradigm; unlike Dylan, the Times are only now beginning to catch up to him.   But they have, and the post-Bush era context is seriously Jonesing for such a combination of Authenticity and Fresh New Musical Universes of Mind to inspire and make us whole again.

 

If this Social Context should meet this Musical New Paradigm and its Template, Oldham;

think powder keg potency for cultural flowering and a powerful wind at the backs of the Noble, True, and Heroic the era we’re entering desperately calls for.

 

Another generation brings forth a musical genius, arguably surpassing an earlier one’s Bob Dylan. After so many decades of the world wondering why there has not been a phenomenon such as Dylan since him, and how any person could be so unique, so brilliant that even the closest pretenders only paled, and failed our hopes, a world has given up, and stopped looking. And just at this point when no one any longer is even asking the question, such a phenomenon arises — as Dylanesque as Bob in that Will Oldham is so incomparable to Dylan, so unlike him.  Now, why did we not realize it would HAVE to be that way?  Anyway, he is not Dylanesque at all; he is just, well, like Dylan, in his being so unbelievably, unexpectedly unlike anything we have ever seen or heard on this planet before.

 

Will Oldham, who also goes by the name “Bonnie” Prince Billy, has for years been quietly making musical history outside the mainstream.  His recording sessions are one-shot deals; the invited artists know that they will create music that they will never reproduce the same way again.  For the music that’s recorded is the first and only go through. Oldham also eschews the post-recording tweaking and redoing.  Instead it is stamped and sold, in its “unpolished” state. And if you think that unprofessional then you are probably also the kind of person who would not see why anyone would bother to grow their own tomatoes when perfect ones can be bought at the grocery.

 
 

Will Oldham has that kind of genius; he’s known for a long time that beauty lies not in the precise, the perfect mathematical expression, but rather in the random spontaneous human sense, the intuitive impulse, flash of instinct, occurring without forethought, weaving in or interrupting the intended progressions one is envisioning in one’s head and attempting to recreate on the outside. The polished musician finds that a part of himself, or perhaps it is a force outside demanding inclusion, finds that the actuality irresistibly breaks in, adlibbing, adding the perfect unintended piece that moment seems to demand, or perhaps it is a force inside or outside that shows up unannounced to collaborate, but only during the final scene, the one that counts, as if each moment and only in the  to adlib, adding magic and the unintended to the creation. But this kind of unconscious adlib, which borders the divine, only happens during that one particular playing of that piece.   Any other playing would not have those exact same impulses, any more than any moment can be exactly like another or any snowflake exactly like another.  It is true that not everyone will think that every unexpected straying from the envisioned piece is good, let alone magical; certainly this technique allows that we hear the unintended off-pitch notes as well, also any mistakes in playing will be heard in the finished piece.  

 
 

But there are two things that need to be said about that imperfection: 1st) This kind of production requires a kind of faith in the innate talent of the musicians combined; a more religious person might say it requires a faith in God that what is meant to be produced will be produced, so why second guess the moment? And, sure enough, this does allow for the spontaneous, magical, and unintended that is somehow beyond what any of them envisioned, and so is sometimes beyond what any human has ever imagined, and those moments are sublime. When I hear them I feel a sense of divinity in it; like getting the aural equivalent of a glimpse into divine perfection and beauty.  2nd) Speaking for myself, I grew up in an age — pushed mightily by the modern technologies that allowed it — of music where the perfection of voice, tempo, and instrument was the goal and helped to define one kind of music as better than another. While this impossibility could not be achieved in the recording session, no matter how many takes, it could be produced afterwards through electronic manipulation of every aspect of the production, to make it “picture” perfect. 

 
 

Having grown up with such electronic (sometimes boring) perfection , I thought it added a very rarely heard human quality to Will Oldhams’s music when I noticed some off pitch places in it.  But more than that — and I don’t think I am the only one that feels this way listening to this music — I felt closer to the artist personally!   His imperfection was a crack in the mask that humans all have, and because of this crack I was drawn to the songwriter-singer as much as the song.  I felt, in a way privileged that he allowed me to see his humanness. I don’t think that at all strange, as I feel it is true in our feelings about everything that is presented for public consumption.

 
 

It seems so obvious to me now that the human sounding piece is going to be more appealing to Humans than the polished and perfected ones that I don’t see why no one has seen this before, instead thinking that we wanted mathematically precise art (music) just because we want our buildings, furniture, computers to be mathematically precise. I would be exaggerating to compare the two by using an analogy of live music compared to Muzak, but that is the kind of tendency I see in the manufactured productions. But for some reason Will Oldham sensed all of this, when no one else did… No, not like him.  This is one way that his natural authenticity of person has led him to create authentic, real (one-of-a-kind) music that I deem to be at least as much of a paradigm shift away from his contemporaries as The Beatles were to the music of fifty years ago.  But the thing that makes him the greatest musical artist of our time — like Bob Dylan but much more honest in his lyrics and therefore revolutionary in his influence — is the total authenticity, vulnerability, realness, and fearless self-expression that no one else brings to his art, save John Lennon during his primal phase and Yoko Ono since then and to this day. 

 
 

With his radical techniques, radical fearless self-expression, and his superb musicianship, he is the only musician since Dylan to open musical doorways in your mind to other realities that are far different and more wondrous than you’ve ever experienced.

 
 

While not recognized early like Dylan, his influence may soon be known. For in the post-Bush, Obama era in which authenticity is once again valued, like it was in the Sixties, he stands out in his field, for the exact same reason that Obama did; his obvious unpretentious realness.  Indeed, his prospects for gaining the attention that he deserves, and which the world would be much the better for, may be rosier, perhaps by far, than I first stated pointing to the valuing of authenticity. 

 
 

This is purely my sense, but I feel it emerging and growing and nearing such a point of explosive release into the global zeitgeist as surely as I am able to feel the ground moving and bucking during an earthquake in my home state of California.  What it is that I feel can hardly be contained by a word such as “valued.”  What I am sensing in America is a tremendous amount of energy pent up from the eight Bush years that has not yet found an expression for release.  Sure, there is rage and anger still, but much of that is dispelled by Obama for he pleases and serves in so many of the ways that Bush instead just piled up frustration.  But what is stronger, I believe, is the feelings in Americans built up over eight years in which on what seemed nearly a daily basis Americans learned little by little, piece by piece, and then pile upon pile that virtually every aspect of Bush and Cheney and their administration was, well, at first, covered up by lies, then further on that it was riddled with corruption, and eventually, and still years before he would go, the majority of Americans could see that his election and his administration was perhaps the biggest con on the largest scale any of us had ever experienced. 

 
 

I cannot state it strongly enough; I’ve never observed such intensity and passion in Americans, expressed in the amount of disgust, anger, and the feelings of betrayal.  Not to mince words, it was common that ordinary folks conclusion of all the cumulative corruption and tendencies to act in ways that would not solve problems but only make them worse, often because the solutions would always seem to involve benefitting the in-group as the first priority, was that our government had been hijacked by nothing less than criminals, who did everything solely for ends beneficial to them; worse, that they would only do things that were beneficial to them; leaving all the big problems facing the majority of Americans not like them completely ignored.  Again, I must be blunt and say it the way that no one else will (hiding behind their euphemisms; as a kind of built in denial of their having said it if they are confronted).   No, what I heard will not be filtered through some corporate, or middle-class-sensibility of being nice Matrix.  For what we experienced was no tea party and should not be talked about as if we are discussing art.  So, I must say, bluntly as it was said to me, that some folks felt the Bush-Cheney group was some kind of organized crime in control of our country.   While others put out that such a notion was an insult to the Mafia, for, it was thought,  even the Mafia would not, could not be as completely compassionless and incompetent; nor would they be — as the Bush-Cheney-Rove team seemed to be —  intent on destroying our government, our constitution, our freedoms through the bill of rights, and even our democracy through the scandals of electronic voting machines — produced by Republicans  (Diebold, Corp. to be exact, the President of which guaranteed a Bush win way before the election)   which they, alone,  had sole and easy control over determining what those machines would end up reporting, whether it was the actual count or something decided by them. 

 

And still worse in American’s eyes, that these criminals were protected solely by a kind of tradition and a general feeling — the Congress having decided this —  that going after a sitting President would be more harmful to the nation than the harm being allowed to continue by the administration being waited out.  I think that subsequent events proved that notion wrong.  As for American perceptions, you might call them perhaps not astute enough in sensing the criminality!   As one recent book, which looked into all these unprecedented Executive approaches (again, using a euphemism) to the job of governing detailed that America had devolved into dictatorship during that period.  The idea that we had lost our democracy was palpable, but no one wanted to believe such a horrible thing, so no one would state it, let alone pursue it. 

 

This is just one example of “The Things Nobody Seems Willing to Say” — the title of my blog (but unfortunately I have far more material than I would like for a category such as that, in the wake of the last era, which seemed to keep the American people fearful, in a trance, and the pundits too fearful to do anything but go along with the falsity and the creation of the Matrix — the mainstream version of administration lies mixed with the palliatives of trivialities and feel-good stories — why?  To be able to continue profiting from the ads of the huge corporations that were largely of the same agenda as Bush’s (or Bush had theirs), and for fear of the administration and its adoption of dictatorial powers, but alongside this concession to the paradigm of misinformation, they also needed the support of viewership, thus the palliative feel good, or the dramatized, keep-you-glued-to-your-seat trivialities, such as the blocking out of regular news for hours, e.g.,  while watching a disabled plane on a runway, the passengers not disembarking immediately, and pundits watching with nothing moving.  So, with air time to burn trying to gin up this event, they resorting  to turning the slightest rumor into a 10 minute or more topic of discussion; along with long periods of silence;  and then the pundit’s inane comments, obviously feeling foolish, they grasped desperately at the ploy of hoping to come across as compassionate, clever, or of high moral character in one’s comments. Watching people make fools of themselves, when they have nothing to say, often resorting to little tidbits the plot of which is essentially them as hero/heroine, well that’s the Matrix, and that’s why there’s still so many “things nobody seems willing to say.”

 
 

But that is not what I am writing about now; although I am setting up a context for the remainder of this piece.  And as surely as the McCarthyism, the Cold War with its push toward conformism equaling Americanism in the U.S., and the Vietnam War had a lot to do with creating a Bob Dylan that would (first) push a Zimmerman to become a phenomenon, and (2) create a society that would recognize one; as surely as that same context of conformism, existence of huge corporations of massive, and often monopolistic powers, alongside the Cold War sentiment that would have most Americans welcome these huge institutions as symbols of strength — substitutes for the strong men of the early agrarians period — but with that same sense of playing the roles of good strong Daddies, protecting us from evil abroad, rewarding us with good-paying jobs, a sense of belonging, and in the minds of those they employed especially, a feeling of love toward the corporation, neurotically deflected from their own real daddies, who in their harsh treatment of children at that time, left the young boys starving for the substitute that would give them the love, protection, and strength, and direction, which they didn’t get from their real fathers; and in exchange only asked that same thing of which fathers everywhere ask: that you suck up and grovel and be willing to humiliate yourself at any moment, and that you give up your soul and become instead a corporate man whose soul was equal to that of the corporations, and whose goal and direction were given to them from the outside and were those of the corporation; and a context where the corporations and their lackeys in radio determined for the population at large, as they did for the corporations, what music would be played, — mass produced in advance, and tending toward the palliative, somnolent, and the nondisturbing. 

 

For a country that has lost its soul, feels ripped off from its self and thus from having a life, and they feel themselves to be living half-lives, zombie lives.  So the radio palliatives were ever so important and needed, or as Nirvana (Kurt Cobain) put it, the palliatives were the necessary breathing holes given after you’ve been locked in a jar, so that you can convince yourself you are happy (“but you’re really in the laundry room”).  .And then of course the Vietnam war increasingly became bigger in the context.  This was the context in the early 60s, though I it would be totally unfair to not  mention the very important folk music era of the late 50s and very early 60s — a kind of a first rebellion against the zombie lives, in matching sweaters granted, but which did hearken back to the Depression era and other times of oppression in speaking out for the forgotten in America, the poor, the other-than-corporate, the unions, indeed, the individual.

 
 

That was the American context into which the Beatles came and sang to a young generation that did not want to lose its soul, as it had seen its parents do. The Beatles spoke of an innocence, a male role that was real (“I want to hold your hand.”), and not dramatized, to make up for the fact of not having real feelings, and also as a warning against nonconformism (“Teen Angel,” “Leader of the Pack,” etc.). 

 
 

The Beatles continued to carry America’s youth, with each recording, further from the conformism of their youth, and showed them and sang to them of values of authenticity, realness, and truth, as well as real, not fake, fun.  This thrilled a generation and inspired them to be true to themselves, created a generation gap, and changed the world.

My point is that (1) popular music can be extremely powerful and revolutionary; as the Beatles themselves portrayed it in “Yellow Submarine”:  In the land of the Blue Meanies, which outlawed music, and whose world was dominated by bleak monotone shades and unhappy people.  It was Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, who defiantly stepped forth and produced music, breaking all kinds of Blue Meanies laws.  But the music was so powerful that it brought joy, hope,  and happiness back into the hearts of the people of that sorry land; indeed music  was so powerful as to bring back color, all kinds of color, and everywhere you could see, turning the bleak land festive.  Music as a revolutionary act, powerful enough to wrest control of the land and its people out of the hands of the Blue Meanies, for the capacity of music to help you to feel and thus wake up from zombieness, caused the Blue Meanies, whose control depended on people not feeling, or thinking, or questioning, just obeying and being grateful; well the music had the opposite effect on them, causing them to go mad or to flee far away.   Does any of this sound pertinent here?  Or in our current social context?

 
 

My other point (2) is that, not just any music — for we have seen that music can be employed to induce trancelike conformist behavior — BUT, radically different music than what is currently heard, occurring within a context where change is of the quality of a bodily need and craving, that music which uniquely satisfies that craving makes geniuses of those musicians, turns them into the new role models to follow as paths to regain what was lost and is sorely missed. And turns these musicians into phenomenon that have tremendous power as catalysts in changing culture.

 
 

 So my reasons for stating the current context are that, once again, we are at another extreme context , this one being one where lying, manipulation, and deception were the mode of the Executive Branch, and it was virtually at war with the rest of the government and much of the American people.  Further, that a helplessness and an urge to do something, when nothing could be done, continued to build, for years.  I’m saying that Obama’s success rode on this wave of wanting to do something.  But it was the specific urges that continued increasing and building and that didn’t get released that I believe will be shaping America for quite a while.  Specifically, I believe that it is not just authenticity that is valued again.  I believe that Americans are absolutely dying of thirst for lack of truth, they are starving for lack of the real, I am saying that those 8 years made Americans so to despise the eventually transparent falsity of every act out of the Bush administration that has made Americans of all ages and particularly the young, crave like a drowning man, for the substantial, the real, the authentic, the honest, and the true. 

 
 

Fortunately this is no bad thing and it is certainly better than the complacency that once characterized Americans reactions to the threats against America’s basic values.  It is my hope that it will be strong enough to lead Americans to get their heads out of the sand and face the many environmental challenges that so many of them have wanted to ignore.  Be that as it may, if a part of my feeling only is correct, we may see many Obama type unprecedented events. 

 
 

And I believe that the most likely to benefit from this craving for some truth, in the field of music, will be Will Oldham.  It is because of both the extreme context and the craving it produces in people and the absolutely perfect person who has the perfect message, template for a different way, and a heads above all others talent and refreshing new sounds, which combined create phenomenon in art that then reflect back and help to change society and culture. That is why at the outset I compared him to Dylan, for it is not just his new paradigm music, but that we are, like in the Sixties, sitting on a powerderkeg of context that could turn his genius into something more than profound music affecting the fringe, but could see him as the phenomenon required by our times, just as Obama was the phenomenon required by our times in politics.

 
 

Authenticity and naturalness, and lack of pretention are highly attractive in general to all except those who have deeply hidden or very dark agendas.  But for the rest of us, there is a magnetic attraction to and affection for those, even who we don’t know personally, but who are transparent and self-revelatory.  We feel we can trust them, our hearts may even go out to them as we can even sense their feelings in the fact that they are so open and descriptive of their struggles, and we get the sense, which is the truth, that they are very much like us. 

 
 

So it is my sense and I propose some promising developments to come out of it, just like the miracle of Obama’s win.  But it is Will Oldham that I wish to shine the spotlight on.  My digression into the mood of a country is more to help us understand how such a phenomenon is not already seen that way.  And to that I say that times of deception, greed, and manipulation do tend to make stars out of the corporate lackeys, those who would use any talent they might have in service to the views of focus groups and the like.  But that period is over and I believe that we will see reversals in many more areas of life and all of them guided by the desire to regain the real. 

    
 

Will Oldham is not just authentic, though.  And that is what is so pleasing about the prospects for his music to be enjoyed and to open the minds of so many more people.   For he is like Obama in an important way:  his unrivaled fearless realness is married with superb skills of his craft, an intuitive sense to know where music has not been and to explore, and for these reasons he has inspired others in music, like Obama has in politics.  If he were to become known, and mirror Obama that way as well, I predict that his influence, due to the new worlds of musical pleasure and affect he has opened, would track not so much Dylan’s cultural influence  as the Beatles’ much wider, deeper, and worldwide influence; not to mention the true new paradigm of music they opened up, which musicians from then on looked upon as the standard, with the palliative music of just a short while earlier, gone forever, save the occasional nostalgic trip into denialville that some folks apparently need.   

 
 

I say that Oldham’s influence, if the light should shine his way, would have more of the consciousness changing potential of the Beatles, than Dylan’s influence mostly on music and the political feelings of a generation that was too easily gone with the tide, because having lived through the Beatles and witnessed the change of a musical paradigm, having enjoyed the freshness and inspiration they brought into our our lives (Let’s be honest, now, Yellow Submarine was no fantasy.  I lived under the Blue Meanies in the black and white bleak Fifties world.  And the Beatles did for my world what they showed Sergeant Peppers’ doing in the movie),  I experienced the Beatles bringing such freshness and inspiration to my generation as to create sweeping changes in our minds of what is considered possible, and with that attitude, shared by a generation, we changed the world forever, not in the grandest and most incredible changes we imagined possible at the time, but still, even with the resistance of decades of Blue Meanies, there will never again be the completely monotone world of the Fifties, with all its secrets, and its suppression/repression (though Bush was on his way in attempting such a thing). 

 
 

And that kind of sweeping change, coming from the inspiration of music and the kind of musicians making it, and arriving in just the right spot and just the perfect time, has had more influence than any of the politicians, at any level, has had since.  In fact, I cannot think of a phenomenon of such power as the Beatles to catalyze lasting cultural change coming from any aspect of our society or culture since that time.  I certainly know that I did not experience that feeling of things being able to be completely redone, this time correctly, ever again in the nearly 50 years since. 

 
 

Except….

 
 

I’ll never forget that night — approximately one year ago to the day — one night that changed me and everything.  I came across Will Oldhams’s music completely serendipitously, as I was doing research on the web.  My immediate thought was “What the hell is this?”  I really didn’t know if I thought some of what I heard was crap or incredible.  But I listened to more and found that most of Oldham’s music has an easier entry for the uninitiated.  I was so struck that I checked him out on Google and was surprised to find in Wikipedia what a splash he’d already made in several fields, and what an influence he was on others, and how incredibly prolific he was.  I found out about the way he produced music and his theory on it.  Then I remembered how Dylan was much more an acquired taste for me than was Oldham’s.  I read an article interview with him and began to understand the man more.  That’s all.  With that little bit of understanding removing those outworn and unwanted anyway preconceptions of what music is supposed to sound like, I was free to hear him without  those filters and to hear him Zen-like, first perception-like. 

 

And with that I could not stop listening as I felt that I was hearing hope for another generation to throw off its Blue Meanies.  Will Oldham, without a doubt, was my Sergeant Pepper bringing to the black-and-white monotone Bush-Cheney-Rove America his music. Seven years of disappointment watching Bush reverse the small starts we had made under Clinton in doing something to avoid the coming collapse of the world’s ecosystem, the 50% worldwide species extinction expected in the next few decades accelerating and thus the image of Bush as “What Me Worry” Alfred E. Neumann of Mad Magazine fame, sitting behind the wheel of the bus with all life on the planet aboard, gleefully singing songs, dancing, and pressing the accelerator down so as to more rapidly arrive at the cliff that’ll be the end for all life, as he puts the poor in prison, and creates massive giveaways for the rich, so they will have even more power in putting out misinformation on global warming and the environmental crisis that will (like Exxon was found to have done) increase their profits in the short term as it confuses people and places doubts in the minds of the would be noble spirits, heroes, and truth-tellers that our crisis requires yesterday for our world to have a chance.

 

Yet I saw no Sixties-style rage in the streets. Of the young people, I saw them firmly enthralled with the Matrix view (again) that getting a good job with a major corporation was their route to happiness in life. (So many sad children, with Dad’s who don’t know how to have a heart, give advice, instead of love, and control, instead of respect hoping that Big Daddy corporation will take care of them.) So my mind was bleak as Blue Meanies land.

 

I listened to Will Oldham. I listened also to Scout Niblett also, who has that same authenticity and fearless self-revelation, and who I’ve covered in other several other pieces, explaining the power of her music, her authenticity, and the incredible new worlds opened by her unique contributions. And others from the genre that is called Indie, for Independent, meaning, I guess, that they’d rather do their music than get signed to a label. (Authenticity.) I gradually began to realize that the generation that was going to accept the baton that my generation has been waiting to pass on exists, far more than I realized. I was looking in the streets, when they were all on the internet making their connections, learning, and sharing. Subsequently Obama proved that that was where the energy that formerly would have been in the streets was to be found, and actually having greater impact in that medium than any street demonstrations. I actually felt with glee, the words to one of Scout’s songs “This Fool Can Die Now,” as I felt that the generation I’d hoped would come was already here.

 

But Will Oldham is the elder, the prolific, the groundbreaker, and the vulnerable soul that gets to the truth and gets it out there faster than anyone. I’m talking about personal truth. So it was that night that Sergeant Pepper aka Will Oldham brought joy, hope, and happiness back into my heart. Hope and color came back to my world, as I committed myself to lend my hand too, knowing we had a generation of strong fearless, noble though imperfect, souls arising in the world and already taking the first big steps in revolutionary change, daring to be themselves… finally, that value… realized and understood. I stayed up all night and listened and my grey skies became other-worldly beautiful mindscapes. I knew that a generation with this much creative vision might have the stuff to face the biggest challenge this planet has ever faced.

 

Having put my worries to rest, I just let the music take me. Now, I wasn’t one of my generation to do much with LSD, being too aware of the horrible punishing childhood I’d had as the child of parents who basically raised me to be an extra worker and did not have the capacity to love. No, I took the route John Lennon took — primal therapy — and it saved my life. It also taught me truths, discovered the mystic way, by looking within, that no one else was getting, though they had the keys that made all external knowledge not truly understandable. So my path, which included rebirthing, and Holotropic Breathwork, developed by Stanislav Grof, M.D. the preeminent researcher into the use of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy many decades ago in Czechoslovakia. He developed Holotropic Breathwork as a non-drug technique to expand consciousness and to get the benefits of LSD without using any drug.

 

My point: I have had plenty of experience in “Consciousness Expansion” — of all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Interesting to note right now that one of the main catalysts of Grof’s nondrug technique for expanding consciousness is music… evocative music… music that touches the heart, soul, the feelings… that is powerful in stirring up the stuff inside that most folks think is more convenient to keep carefully held in check, ignored, and put aside.

 

But of course we know differently, that that is what the Blue Meanies would wish of us so that we will be soulless and able to be manipulated. I state all this to as indications of the power of Will Oldham’s music; and to make clear that, because of my personal experiences, when I used the words “consciousness expanding” to describe his music I did it with the firm conviction of a lifetime of experience; which is important because most people would not be able to apply it with the understanding I have, and so would be thought to be using it ignorantly, flippantly, or to sound provocative. And I feel I owe it to anyone who has read this far to provide as much clarity as possible on the ways I am using the words to describe my experience. The reader deserves to be clued in as much as possible – giving my background, for example, so that they might decide the degree of weight to give to the words I use. It occurs to me, for example, that without this understanding the reader might be left confused as to whether I was someone prone to couch experiences poetically, and therefore should be taken in that light, or whether, as is the case, I am describing actual facts and experiences – my feelings being the facts. My poetic sounding words are the only ways I can describe experiences that have no physical components to them, just inner ones. But the analogies I use are the best equivalents to the actual feelings I experienced, and I feel they provide the best entry into my experience, to get at least the most accurate sense that one can, of something that will never be able to expressed exactly in words. That being said, my actions and feelings of that night should provide at least the evidence to conclude that, at least for me, the music had a power on a scale or of a dimension that was unlike any other, for me, in music.

 
 

For indeed I did stay awake all night listening to his music (mostly). And this is coming from a person who, as I’ve indicated, dedicated his life (it’s been 38 years now since I had my first natural altered state of consciousness — a primal — which I had alone and totally naturally, no drugs of any kind.

 

Yet this is the effect that Will Oldham’s music had on this one person in one night:

 
 

I came away from my first journey into the aurally induced mindscape of the Will Oldham universe feeling myself reincarnated “reformatted” one might say these days, within some mysterious, profound vision, which less than a day earlier I would have considered alien. But now I looked around at the world that someone, who used to call himself “me,” saw as a familiar world but only a day ago. But now, after that night it is seen as an alien one; not in a negative or threatening sense, but in the sense of an astronaut coming back to his home planet after many years and after seeing many strange worlds, and thinking, “my this place, once so familiar and real, in fact the definition of real, why, so many other realities, also real, this seems strange. I don’t have a home here since my sense of home includes so much more than this.”

 
 

But though strange, this world now seen, I also feel immeasurably blessed in my having learned of its Jacob’s Ladder-like opening onto this expansive new universe of infinite delicious and wonderfully profound yet firmer-than-Earth mysteries as opened inside my mind through Oldham’s musical alchemy.

 

Consciousness Expansion, you bet! I would not wish to ever see Reality in that smaller way I’d gotten used to. No. How to describe it then:

 
 

I can only say I felt like the first fish who ever made it out of water to dry land and suddenly knew without a doubt he would never again experience his life underwater with the same naïve overestimation.

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