Dream Encounters at the Lunatic Birdhouse – The otherwolrdly desire of Cozm X Transmissions. (Music Review)
Dream Encounters At The Lunatic Birdhouse
According to Jung, “no dream symbol can be separated from the individual who dreams it and there is no definite or straightforward interpretation of any dream. Each individual varies so much in the way that his unconscious compliments or compensates his conscious mind that it is impossible to be sure how far dreams and their symbols can be clasified at all.” (Man and his symbols) The artist as dreamer then has a choice, made for them out of the field between interpretation and explanation in the endless search for the other out there in the blended faces of the crowd. Does one relate to the world by attempting to explain that which burns, or do we use that which burns and draw the other to us? How connected is musician and listener? Does music join two in the intimacy of listening, or does it envelop crowds and we reach for it in the isolation of the congregation? For Cozm X Transmissions, an experimental sound art collective out of Belgium devoted to Imaginal Music, the currently unpopular – and yet somehow as tantalizingly real as it is ephemeral – Altered Field of Dreamtime is the source of a kind of inspiration that manifests in very real, very audible, deeply beautiful music. Indulging in the enormously pleasurable communications I’ve had with “Rev Zombi” – the collectives enigmatic leader (if leader is the right word here) in my journey to a self-created centre of Cozm X Transmissions latest album Dream Encounters at the Lunatic Birdhouse kept reminding me of the Saint-Pol-Roux “ideorealism” and his quest for images that might filter the evidence of his sensory experiences. The Cozm X Transmissions collective here build music out of the dreamscape and arrive at something we hear with recognition, even if communicating our understanding essentially takes place apart from language.
“Sleep, sleep, sleep come save me…” is the mantra of track one, ‘First Encounter on the day of the Unquiet grave,’ the manifestation of the connective experiments between musician Rev Zombi and the exquisite voice of Austrian sound poet Marie-Luise Weiss, here manifesting as Archangel Gong, who enters the consciousness with an aching for awareness, that lays itself in strips of breathy requests over the top of electrified clap sticks, searing static and the occasional sparkling tinkles of a wayward piano. The song ends with a call for an invasion of her mortal body, a sensual cry for the drift over consciousness and an appeal to bring all sensory awareness into the other worldliness. It’s the fitting introduction for a record that is more journey than sound experience. Make no call for clarity here – this is the place where such demands become a liability and work against the transitional nature of this kind of journey within.
Track two, ‘Second Encounter on the Dreamshore of Ikonic Tomorrows’ begins with the ominous rumbling of a piano’s keys against beautifully timed static, pausing only to burst into a series of small chimes that occur like star burst, over the distant breathy call of Archangel Gong. Paying careful attention to the sound-empty space, Rev Zombi brings the sounds in like intruders, clamouring for attention like disparate souls seeking a place to assert themselves. Silence is the god of music here, and sound is both the intruder and the validation of silence. Archangel Gong comes back with her erotic ramblings, but this time words are sublimated against presence, the many sounds overlapping to feed and in a way, obliterate her. Sound becomes its own kind of breath, melding into a mesh of inhalations and exhalations that eventually coalesce and desist, leaving a ringing note and the schizophrenic whispers of Archangel Gong. Enormously sensual, this is dream music, music to lay in dark with, music to invite into the body.
‘Final Encounter in the Ancient Village of Tierra Amena’ brings a heady, heavy metallic drone to the album, something guttural and rumbling as if the sounds of track two are working united toward a shared objective. Its a swelling track, building aural alchemy inside the body that accepts the invitation in the first two tracks. Archangel Gong is more guide than subject here, whispering from the distant dark, her observations serving as sentinel, watching over the sound as it marches relentlessly forward. Here is an adherence to musical tropes and heritage of drone, but the aural image remains staunchly inside the march toward something. Perhaps toward a radical listening that allows for the isolated patchwork of sleep and all its demented otherworldliness? By the time the listening dreamer reaches track three, ‘Night Spell in the Lunatic Birdhouse of the Midnight Skull’, the immersion is complete and liquefied sounds of a drowning in the self take the trust consciousnesses has offered as if it were an outstretched hand. “I am here” she whispers at the curl of your ear, “I have arrived.” The journey is at its deepest here, the voice no longer a disembodied guide, rather a tactile presence, available “only to be with you.”
The final track ‘Escape Dream Through’, is an invitation back – if back is the right thing to say here – with Rev Zombi including the hiss of a heater, the peaceful snores of a friend, the cry of birds, the open window and the rush of traffic noise surrounding the electronic melodious tap at the surface of who we like to imagine we are. This is a voiceless return, the Archangel left deep inside, a kind of immutable cure we can visit in the place that exists between dreams and waking. It’s almost as if she has been deposited into us, planted so as to confuse our sense of proportion, her extended hand always available for another visit into the ocean inside.
Encountering the completion of the Cozm X Transmissions journey, I am again reminded of Saint-Pol-Roux and his awareness of the hallucinatory power of the irrational and its function as a source of creative inventiveness. Harnessed successfully, the audacious suggestion of Dream Encounters At the Lunatic Birdhouse is that more is possible in this place than we can rationally comprehend and if we weren’t so afraid of our self-induced psychedelic journeys, perhaps we’d operate less from fear and more from the imagination in our attempts to create ourselves new each day.