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Act 3 Of An Atompunk Opera Out Now!

I had to put it out all kinds of early today due to travelling to sort out passport/visa issues. (i need a new passport to get my yearly visa stamp)

So here it is! Act 3. All the pieces are in place. Now, we play.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The Drop Dead Awesome Satirical Art Of Pawel Kuczynski

Drop what you’re doing Right. Now. Look at this.

These are awesome.

This is the work of Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski.

His website is here.

Pawel Kuczynski

 

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Pawel Kuczynski

 

 

 

Pawel Kuczynski

 

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

 

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Afrofuturist Music

Afrofuturism

 

Although the term “afrofuturism” was coined in 1993 by Mark Dery  in his essay “Black to the Future”, afrofuturism began decades before and is a key element of the atompunk era.

Although it is an explosive and vibrant literary genre pioneered by such greats as Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, and Nalo Hopkinson, we concern ourselves today with the music end of it. Here are some of my top Afrofuturist musical picks from the atompunk era:

Lee “Scratch” Perry:

One of the creators of dub. In 1973 Perry built a studio in his backyard in Jamaica, and while recording and producing tracks for such legends as  Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, and The Heptones, forged a new style of reggae with a futuristic, spacey sound that of course we all know and love today as dub.

Afrika Bambaataa:

Afrika Bambaataa needs no introduction. His electro funk tracks influenced the very development of hip hop and is the father of electro funk. His social and political awareness is unparalleled and if anyone has ever tried to bring a bright afrofuture into being both artistically and in reality, it is the great Kevin Donovan, aka Afrika Bambaataa.

Herbie Hancock:

Obviously one of the greatest jazz pianists who has ever graced this planet, Mr. Hancock’s 70s and early 80s forrays into afrofuturistic musical themes are some of the best of the era. His Headhunters albums are legendary, his electro helped shape the 80s, but the most quinessential “afrofuturist” albums are probably including the sextet/septet album trilogy, Mwandishi, Crossings and Sextant. You should listen to those. I’m including Manchild because I LOVE THIS ALBUM. I have a thing with it going way back. So this is the one i’m posting.

Alice Coltrane

Although her last name comes from her being the second wife of John Coltrane and McCoy Turner’s replacement on piano in 1966, Alice Coltrane was a major force of afrofuturistic music in the 70s. Her deep, Vedantic spirituality was a major guide in both her life and music.

Miles Davis

Always looking ahead, taking jazz into the future, Miles’ most notable specifically afrofuturist album is hands down one of my persoanl top 5 albums of all time. That is how much i love this album. I cannot put it in words. I. Love. Bitches. Fucking. Brew.  I cannot not put it on this list.

 

Sun Ra:

Sun Ra is of course one of THE two most prominent names that come to mind when one considers Afrofuturist music. He is cosmic jazz. He IS science fiction come to life to live among us. Claiming that he was of the “Angel Race” and not from Earth, but from Saturn, Sun Ra developed a complex persona using “cosmic” philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of afrofuturism. He preached awareness and peace above all. He abandoned his birth name and took on the name and persona of Sun Ra (Ra being the Egyptian God of the Sun), and used several other names throughout his career, including Le Sonra and Sonny Lee. Sun Ra denied any connection with his birth name, saying “That’s an imaginary person, never existed … Any name that I use other than Ra is a pseudonym.”

George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic

What can possibly be said in words? The glory, the funkavasciousness, the utter, staggering myth creating awesomeness that is George Clinton and P-Funk in the 70s is impossible to overstate. It is one of the brightest moments for music in the entire 20s century. The guy didn’t just create a style, he create an entire MYTHOS. He didn’t just sell a groove, he sold a vision of an afrofuture that was impossible not to want.  For white people too! For Asian and South American and… he made us all truly hope the mothership was indeed coming down right now, the blackstronauts of funkativity returned to reclaim the pyramids.

 

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Atompunk Spirituality: The Church Of All Worlds

church of all worlds

You may have read Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land. It’s a seminal work of science fiction, one of the most influential sci fi books of all time. So influential, the reading of it inspired a pair of college students in 1962 to found what would become one of the biggest neo pagan religions in the world.

church of all worlds stranger in a strange landIn the book, a man, Mike, who has been raised by Martians returns to Earth as an adult and experiences culture shock. Furthermore, raised with Martian philosophies, he comes with many concepts of a more self actualized way of being, founds a religions and of course gets martyred. It put the word “grok” on the map: “Hey man, i grok that”. This is archaic today but the word was in heavy usage back in the 60s and 70s. The religion Mike found is all about the Hindu “Namaste”: seeing and acknowledging the god in each other. Free love and lots of casual, polygamous sex abounds, which in 1962 was a big deal as the hippy movement hadn’t really risen from the beats yet. This book influenced the free love ideal of the late 60s quite a bit.

Heinlein’s portrayal of sex has at it basis the conviction that the Judeo-Christian fixation on purity, celibacy, faithfulness within marriage, and legitimate offspring is ultimately wrong; it inevitably results in sexual jealousy, possessiveness, negative perceptions of those born out of wedlock, and punitive sanctions against women who seek to escape these patriarchal bonds.”

A water ritual, a sharing of water, is used in the story to create a bond between people and Mike’s religion is set up as a series of small nests. All of these things became reality when the fictional Church Of All Worlds was created in actuality as well as other additions we’ll mention in a moment. The most important aspect of the Stranger In A Strange Land religion that must be noted is the idea that through a great understanding, personal awakening and a deep, devotional attitude, a person could break free of the patriarchic chains of western thought and reach an enlightened, self actualized state. This is the prime inspiration that began The Church Of All Worlds.

In 1962, two guys, Richard Lance Christie and Timothy Zell became close friends at  Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. They were into ESP experimentation and the ideas of Abraham Maslow, a renowned American psychologist.

Maslow’s work talked at length about the concept of self actualizing. He stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them as a “bag of symptoms. believe that every person has a strong desire to realize his or her full potential, to reach a level of “self-actualization”.  He described what a self actualized person was like:  “reality centered,” able to differentiate what was fraudulent from what was genuine. They were also “problem centered,” meaning that those treated life’s difficulties as problems that demanded solutions. These individuals also were comfortable being alone and had healthy personal relationships. They had only a few close friends and family rather than a large number of shallow relationships.Self-actualizing people tend to focus on problems outside themselves; have a clear sense of what is true and what is false; are spontaneous and creative; and are not bound too strictly by social conventions. Maslow noticed that self-actualized individuals had a better insight of reality, deeply accepted themselves, others and the world, and also had faced many problems and were known to be impulsive people. These self-actualized individuals were very independent and private when it came to their environment and culture, especially their very own individual development on “potentialities and inner resources”

Abraham Maslow

Then these two friends came across the book Stranger In A Strange Land, which illustrated these concepts to a T.

They held a water ceremony where they dedicated themselves to self actualization, political and social change. They declared themselves a waterbrotherhood and named themselves Atl, after the Aztec word for water. The group grew to 100 members. They theoretically accepted any and all religious paths. ” The only sin was hypocrisy and the only crime in the eyes of the church was interfering with another person.”

In 1968, Timothy Zell decided to take Atl further and established the Church of All Worlds formally as a religion. This was not appreciated by all the Atl members and furthermore, Timothy began heavily stressing forms of earth worship, preaching about the Gaia hypothesis which he claims to have realized independently of James Lovelock, who is credited with creating the concept. The Gaia hypothesis posits that the Earth is a self-regulating complex system involving the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrospheres and the pedosphere, tightly coupled as an evolving system. The theory sustains that this system as a whole, called Gaia, seeks a physical and chemical environment optimal for contemporary life.

c11

In New Age terms, this is  interpreted to mean that the earth is a single, complex, living, conscious, evolving organism in which humanity is a part of the greater body.

The formation of an official church and this move into paganism splintered the Atl and split Richard Christie and Timothy Zell.

The new Church Of All Worlds however did magnificently. A key ingredient in its success was a self published magazine it began producing in 1968 called Green Egg. Green Egg became THE magazine on neo paganism, in fact putting the very word neo-pagan on the map. As the hippy movement blossomed, the new age movement began, alternative spirituality started looking to paganistic ideas and practices (that is, forms of nature worship), Green Egg was at the center of it.

church of all worlds

In addition, Zell became passionately interested in esoterica and ritual magick. Ritual magick would become a life long passion.

church of all worlds

In 1973 Timothy Zell met Diana Moore who went by the name Morning Glory. The two fell in love, Morning Glory divorced her then husband and married Timothy. Timothy then changed his name to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and the two lovers new aged the fuck out.

church of all worlds

In 1976 the two began almost a decade of traveling, adventure, and living in various retreats and in a school bus they converted to a mobile home. They founded the Ecosophical Research Association (ERA) in 1977 at a ranch northwest of Ukiah, California to investigate arcane lore and legends of cryptids such as Bigfoot and mermaids. Their wandering years ended in 1985 when they took up permanent residence at Coeden Brith, initially for the purpose of raising “unicorns” created from horn surgery on baby goats. The ERA sponsored a Mermaid expedition to Papua, New Guinea in 1985 and a later ERA project involved the May 1996 world-wide ritual to draw upon and re-activate the Oracle at Delphi.

church of all worlds

Their marriage was an open one. Morning Glory’s relationship with Zell developed into a polyamorous one made up of three people from 1984 to 1994, including Diane Darling.[7] When this arrangement ended, Zell and Morning Glory bonded with others to make a marriage of five and sometimes six. The group took the collective surname Zell-Ravenheart, and lived in two large homes.

church of all worlds

The Church experienced a large drop in the 80s, time’s a changin’ of course, but picked back up in the 90s, becoming especially popular in Australia. In 2001 Green Egg ceased publication and in 2004 the Church’s Board of Directors decided to terminate the Church of All Worlds due to financial and legal struggles.

However, In January, 2006, due in large part to the efforts of Jack Crispin Cain, CAW was reestablished with Zells again assuming a leadership role. In 2007, Green Egg, returned to publication in an online format. The “3rd Phoenix Resurrection of the Church” continues to the present. Morning Glory passed away on May 13, 2014 but Zell is still alive, living in  Sonoma County, California and to some extent still touring and lecturing.

church of all worlds

 

Naturally, the Church of All Worlds is online. You can check it out here.

Issues of Green Egg since its return in 2007 are also online and can be found here.

That’s it, my little pretties. Drink Deep and May You Never Thirst.

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Bonus Act

New Albion Brewing Company beer

So as most of you know, sometime in the late fall i will release all the New Albion operas in physical CD form, including a combined box set.

This box set will include an extra Act outside the existing operas. It could be an extended track like New Albion 7, it could be different track about different bits of New Albion lore, but honestly, i really like the idea of a song cycle.

What makes this tricky is i canNOT go to London to record singers. Financially i cannot do it. I could get Lauren to record as she has the exact same mic i do, but i’d need to pay her (i’m personally a stickler for this. They MUST be paid)  which is difficult but not impossible. It would only be a few songs IF i decide to use another singer. It’s just… another singer sounds SO much better than just me. Anyone wanna send Lauren 100 pounds and note asking her to do it? Cause then problem is solved.

I am leaning towards… i’d like to go back in time. I’m leaning towards the generation beFORE the Steampunk Opera. But i COULD choose after. But i’ll probably choose before. It’d be fun to take the music genre back in time. It’d be fun to go right before the steampunk genre. (it’d be pretty steampunk but a different angle).

I am leaning towards it featuring either one of the red haired lineage (however the only characters i’d want to discuss are either the dwarf or his… great great grandson who spends years trying to gain control of the rusty sand drug. Hell i’d LOVE to feature the newest albino red haired girl but the trouble is either her or her dad are WAY after the Steampunk era. So any stories featuring them would be stuff i’d write as extras. it wouldn’t be this song cycle.)

Or Jasper. While he was actually alive. I could do an extra song cycle that takes place some years before the steampunk opera which features Jasper.

The last possibility would be an ancestor of Annabelle. We already know she has some great grandmother (could be great great or great great great) named Libby who was also a bit mad scientisty. I wouldn’t do it on Libby, i already cover Libby well enough in one of the extra stories, but… hmm…. no. No. Never mind. No McAlistairs.

Jasper vs. on of the red haired lineage.

I had MEANT, while writing the SO that if i ever actually DID make a trilogy, to have one of the red haired lineage be a voiced character in the final opera. I also HAD the red haired lad as a 1 song voiced character in the original map of the Dieslepunk Opera, but it was better story telling and sense for Constance to meet Jackie right after the bust rather than run to the red haired lad’s apartment. In both cases, it was best to not include them. As cool conceptually it seemed upon wishful thinking, the practicality of telling the actual stories in the DO and AO meant it would be WAY too forced shoehorning them in. And there is a coolness in them only being these background bits throughout the entire New Albion chain of songs.

I ramble. So, Jasper vs. one of the Red Haired Gangster lineage. (could be Jasper’s mom or dad… they could…. AH! STOP! STOP! I could do this all day.) I’m pretty set on pre SO i think.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Act 2 Of An Atompunk Opera: Disco Voodoopunks

Once again, welcome to Act 2 of An Atompunk Opera, out now! Check it out! Buy it now! Help a singer eat!

The New Albion Guide To Analogue Consciousness, An Atompunk Opera Paul Shapera Act 2 Two

Okay folks, first of all,  thank you all so much for listening and buying, etc. This is Act 2 out of 4. I have waited SO LONG to finally get to this point, where all the pieces are finally set up and we can begin playing.

I hope you’re all enjoying it (obviously as it would kinda really suck for me if you’re not). I sit alone in a far off land, release this thing act by act into the computer world, watch the hits and listens and sales and wonder if it’s going down the way i designed it to. We’ll talk in depth in two more weeks. For now let me just thank all of you who are along for the ride. I love you all. Stay with me a little longer, cause after this is where shit gets interesting.

I would like to just point out that of course the singers are:

Lauren Osborn, KILLING it, and i mean just drop dead WAILing it out of the park as Rachael (and Adrian.)
Kayleigh McKnight as The Mascot 3000 (who we’ll get to in greater depth soon enough, but seriously, don’t you just want to drip that voice over an ice cream sundae?)
and of course the astonishing Oliver Marsh as Connor. (DAMN when that boy hits those high notes i get bloody chills)

How about these covers by Sarah de Buck? I LOVE these things. I want to eat them. Literally eat them.

That guitar you hear? That is courtesy of Matthew Broyles, especially i would like to point out, on the song The Lovers. He rockabillied the BEJEEZUS out of that tune. I swear, i wanted to release it without vocals, just the guitar.

Without these people, this opera would basically suck. They give it life, they make it fly. My undying, bottomless thanks to them.

All right then, tomorrow back to fun atompunky stuff while we wait for next week’s episode to appear.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

The 2nd Act of An Atompunk Opera Is Out Now!

All right kids, strap yourselves in. The VPs are here. Immanentizing that eschaton in 3, 2, 1…. Disco.

(Purchase here!)

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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