February 15, 2008

From the Archive: Blake-Thumping: The Four Zoas

Now that our former college roommate is a world-famous dangerville chanteuse, it may be of interest to the incorrigible masses to drag out of the vaults some early collaborations. Over October break, 2003, at Mr Amidon's Vermont retreat, we recorded a "field recording" project in two days on one of those crappy little tape recorders, performing mostly on Sam's parents' many instruments.

"The Four Zoas" - sort of the hit single from "Music from the Sun Porch", the rest of which will temporarily remain in the vaults - was our whipped-up response to the need for more William Blake gospel tunes. Free-jazz prophet Robin Williamson had set some of Blake's epic, more mythological texts, to stentorian harp harmonies; but this is our imagining of what might have sounded if our brothers in the American hills had preached Blake's continued bible. It was written & performed only ever this once. The text is from William Blake's awesome Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion (dated 1804, but I think printed later), Chapter III, Plate 59, page 208 in your Erdman complete edition.

Thus in process of time it became the beautiful Mundane Shell,
The Habitation of the Spectres of the Dead & the Place
Of Redemption & of awaking again into Eternity

For Four Universes round the Mundane Egg remain Chaotic
One to the North; Urthona: One to the South; Urizen:
One to the East: Luvah: One to the West, Tharmas;
They are the Four Zoas that stood around the Throne Divine

Sam's on banjo, & I'm playing his mother's Appalachian Dulcimer, which, again, I have only ever played this once. Here goes:

You can download it if you go to that divshare link. Spread the gospel!

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