"Black or White Orpheus is a sprawling 34 minute slow burning spell infused sonic dream and totally psychedelic jam, murky and lo-fi, Zurna's guitar unfurls in sheets of blurred sound that slowly coalesce into soaring wail melding with plenty of distant chant motifs in the mesmerizing blur creating a medieval space jam. To those familiar with the trance grooves and tropical ceremonial mythology that have riddled Corum's recordings for the past few years, this "Black or White Orpheus" album is a surprisingly dark brooding composition, but one that doesn't detour from his manifestations of free-will. For this album, Corum and Zurna have drawn a parallel from the ancient theologic texts of Orpheus and modern tragic tale of a ghost of doom past, Michael Jackson, creating a an evolving, choral requiem prefaced by a reflection on MJ'S rise, and delcline, symbolizing a sacrificial child for vice worship culture. The set runs from thin, metallic tones forming into detailed helix patterns in a way that evokes the more minimal sides through starry keyboard patterns which in turn parts to reveal the kinda hallucinatory weave you might associate with Corum's work. Opening with tinkling bells, long drawn out tones on some sort of horn, all very meditative and spiritual, with monk like chants woven into the fluttering field of shimmer and tinkle. It is affectingly reprised in the album's final track morphing into ascendant celebratory sonic sprawl of looped vocal drone mesmer, and an utterly absorbing one. Overall BOWO is a patient, edgy, atmospheric use of interwoven voice, guitar, and electronics creating a hypnotic work with woozy textures of bells, harp, viking horns and haunting vocals feeling that somewhere in the distance the silhouettes of mysterious hooded worshipers make a thunderous accent from the glowing underworld and into the skies. The result is a broody, eclectic and at times minimalistic fusion that alternately drone menacingly and truly pulse like heartbeats through the magickal ceremony. Highly Recommended!"
BLACK OR WHITE ORPHEUS:
The Votive Transmutation Shrine is an alternate dimension of temporal reality housing a primordial deity, worshiped as the first element of the creative cause, the element that binds and attracts spirit and matter together. A radiant and sometimes dark sphere containing the mediator that pulls and guides the seeker towards the source of the creative fountainhead within the inner planes. It's from inside the Votive Transmutation Shrine that we welcome the incarnation of the Black or White Orpheus; a symbol agent capable of unfolding divine knowledge, awakening higher levels of consciousness, and leading the seeker's mind across an underworld and back to a source of divine light. Its original living form, is not a mere tale told, but a reality lived. A living reality believed to have occurred in primordial times and to be influencing ever afterward our present world and the destinies of humanity by a rite of ancient ceremonies and early mystery cults.
Orpheus was held to be a forceful magician, directing a fundamental, and greater reality through which the present life, fate and work of humanity are governed. The knowledge and awareness of this reality provides us with motives for ritual acts, and enables communication and interaction with , as well as utilization of the forces native to this higher plane. Magic protects and directs, enchants the beast, makes one marvel, gasp, laugh like a child, tremble with fear of the unknown, wonder, invokes superstition, and the suspension of disbelief, makes trees and rocks move from their places by the sound of music, charms judges of the dead, suspends the tortures of the damned, and soothes the savage heart of the devil himself. It is said that even after his death the singing severed head of Orpheus floated down a river and eventually came to rest on the island of a witch goddess in a divine subterranean cave of celluloid shadows hidden within a lake of jade green. The marvelous songs from his savage face gave special privileges to all initiated into Orphic mysteries for oracular visitation. The Orphic doctrines contended that the human soul is of divine origin, that it lives for thousands of years in the body and forever out of the body. The main object of human existence is to purify and temper the soul in the scorching flames of incarnation and illusion, until it is invincible to any form of contamination, abiding permanently in unified divine spirit which transcends and includes all contexts, physical, meta-physical, non-physical, and inconceivable. The body is the prison, the tomb of the soul, and soul is imprisoned within it.
The passing of one incarnation of recent performer, singer and trickster Michael Jackson, whom looks like a creature from some other world, ungoverned by logic and vulnerable to everything, exhibited this deep Orphic mystery in his core. He was too complex to fit into any one, or even any several categories. Spiraling downwards in odd uniforms from an imaginary army replete with epaulets and armbands, a shining diamond glove, exotic and androgynous garb, the heavy layer of white-pallor makeup, the smooth, shoulder-length black wig, and the high pitched falsetto voice, Jackson's perpetual makeover was motivated more by a refusal to accept limitation or definition. He carved his African American face into a Caucasian death mask belonging on the face of a pixie or some other preternatural creature. He lived in grandiose castle called Never-Never Land complete with moat and guarded by child size figurines. Peter Pan was everywhere as a symbol of eternal childhood, of spiritual refuge, and as a collective flight into illusion. The emergence of the child god out of the original condition of things connected occurs accordingly as the birth of a bisexual (hermaphrodite) "primal being" - born of an egg - a secret doctrine alien to thought invented for the special sect. The silver egg-born child can hardly be separated from the winged goddess of archaic times, and the meaning of this figure lies where ritual and cosmogonic hermaphrodism lies. Wingedness & Bisexuality hark back to the same pre-human, indeed pre-childish, still completely undifferentiated state - one of whose forms of expression is primal water. The Primordial Child's home is the primal water.
“Jackson robbed of childhood and surrounded by vultures that preyed on his fear, and weaknesses, became an product - one to be sold, used and manipulated. His fantasies of eternal youth, visions of majesty, and disfiguring quest for physical transformation were a reflection of us, in the extreme.”
- Chris Hedges
"I'm looking at the Man in Mirror." The mirror is the the symbol of a dimensional doorway. A doorway between worlds of shadow and light, awakened state and subconscious, or the black or white realms. Black or White became his opus as a temperance transformation vibration for his inner shadows and light conflict using racial harmony as the visual symbol for a universal child mind. The Black or White Orpheus is a symbol of metamorphoses, a spiritual voice of light, the artist with divine character, and a revealer of mysterious currents in life. Orphism is a pure art expressing sublime meaning aimed to express the ideals of the existence of an infinitude of interrelated states of being. He made a pact with the higher power creating an impassioned ballad about the sate of the world, ending with a repeated refrain about victims of humanity's rampant and heedless consumption of planetary resources. No one could break the spell of his bioluminescent “Thriller Time.”
“To be caught up in a trance with it all. feeling it, playing everything off feeling..... it just empties you out. Above it all. Go to a place of nothing nobody can do. The point of no return. It's so wonderful you have taken off. Be ahead of all... leaving as though it were behind you..... know conditions of nonbeing, the endless ground of your vibration down in you: one day you'll be fully fulfilled."
Sought by an example of the past, he plunged at once protected and distorted, into the problems of the present. In this way his life achieved its own expression and meaning. Most of all, he was famed as a great musician. It is said that Orpheus charmed everyone with the music of his lyre, the symbol of transformation and musical quality of the world quite apart from the poet's intentional collection of lyrical votive offerings. Hearing bells and rattles of a religious festival, the Black or White Orpheus entity inspires and opens the channel of intuition to the higher and abstract understanding. It sings to us in it's language, "Power, Is The Force, The Vow, That Makes It Happen It Asks No Questions Why, So Get Closer. I'm Melting Like Hot Candle Wax Sensation. Heartbreak Enemy Despise, Eternal (Ah Eternal) Love Shines In My Eyes, So Let Love Take Us Through The Hours, Keep On With The Force Don't Stop, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". Songs of Love and Conflict between the Black and White realms are already well known but not unnameable to further reshaping. The movement of this material as something solid yet mobile, substantial and yet not static, capable of transformation. A form of expression, thought, and life for diviners, ones who pray, and those maintainers of the cult of primordial deity. Cults alluded to, which because of the exchange of clothing between the men and women participating in them caused sexual differences to appear only as variations of one and the same being, are in harmony with the meaning of the Orphic mythologem. The severed head of Orpheus goes on singing even after death and from afar.
Death chased Orpheus's love incarnate, Eurydice, through tunnels of glowing red light as the presence shown into the underworld. He journeyed into the Underworld, where Hades dwelled, to rescue his true love. The Underworld was not necessarily hell, as one might think, but rather another world, another plane of existence, in which humans dwelt, sometimes in torment and at other times in a state of paradise. Orpheus went to Hades in search of his sweetheart and while in Hades his beautiful music, we are told, won for him her release. Humanity is united by a secret and sacred bond, invisible and unconscious, in all, filled with erotic, sensual, carnal desires and emotions that keep the mind trapped on the “ordinary” physical plane. But a seeker must transmute the attraction and awaken the bond with his psyche so that he can rise towards the "beloved," the invisible golden thread that links his consciousness to the universal qualities of beauty and love. All boundaries of belief had echoed especially loudly in the international response to the death of the latest Orphic incarnation, and the closer you get to a mystery, the more important it is to be realistic. A Saturday of glory leads to the hanging and burning of a Judas in the streets, exactly what Jackson or Orpheus became to respective backers.
“Jackson's funeral was a variety show with a coffin. The final episode of the long running 'Michael Jacskson' series and the stories that enthrall us are real life stories of early fame, wild success, and then a long bizarre and macabre emotional descent, first as a child and finally as a corpse encased in a golden casket. He is a reflection our own physical and psychological disintegration. We escape the messiness of life through the fantasy of his stardom by emulating look and behavior attracting admiring audiences for the grand ongoing life movie.” (Hedges)
We take communion of 'Jesus Juice' wine in Pepsi cans, flowers, candles, cigars, cultural pornography, coded messages, waves, signals, booze, special milks, and other votive offers, and give these to the bundled and seated figure of the passing Black or White Orpheus.
The Votive Transmutation Shrine has been created and recorded within and around the temple. This music was recorded as an offering to the passing Orphic core and primordial child spirit manifested from 1958 - 2009 as Michael Jackson and looks to the forthcoming primordial deity symbolized as the floating head of Orpheus. We continue to transmutate in a mystic manner within the starry vault, or envelope of the universe, a monad in the divine natures as that which contains distinct, but at the same time profoundly united multitude. The Man in the Mirror is the universe and beyond, and is an agent that has to be awakened from within, since it is the only element that can transform everything.
-Corum / Zurna
BLACK OR WHITE TEMPLE
Portland, Oregon 2014