Saturday, June 9, 2012


there is something about this music...

let no one deceive you, there is another world
it is within you
every boy and girl
there is a kingdom
there is a king
the cosmos is his dominion
everything ever was will ever be

o lonely soul
how beautiful you are to behold
you are not alone
its high time you come home

These are lines from the opening song 'I Am The Welcoming Angel'. It sounds like a love song to the milky way, like something by william blake sound to dry sparse nylon-string guitar. Mystical folk music, it implies holiness.  ((and also heresy))

Came across I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE opening for Viking Moses at Ella Street Social Club a few weeks ago.  Turns out that its the solo project of someone named Davis Hooker, who's been plugged into a certain rung of Portland's nether world for some time. He has played solo and in bands like A John Henry Memorial, Water Graves Of Portland, ...Worms, Rob Walmart - a vast neural network of collaborations, alter-egos, nom-de-plumes; recorded in Orthodox church halls and people's garages. This heavy metal mutant folk is part of what dragged me out to this part of the country.

He has albums out on Marriage and Wil-Ru.. A dark chasm of music opened up before me. He's been affiliated with the likes of Adrian Orange (they play together in the Watery Graves), Mt. Eerie/Phil Elverum, the K Records/Anacortes, Wa. axis.They're all hyper-prolific and eccentric, kind of skewed but endlessly creative.

When i first heard Davis' music, i didn't have much of an opportunity to pay attention. There were friends around, and i'd probably been listening to music for 7 hours that day, in the never-ending bid to stay current and up to the second, hearing every new thing that comes out. The rigors of being a music journalist; attempting to care and be engaged and listen, over and over and over again. I made a note to listen to I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE again.

Trawling through the sparse detritus of the underground's traces on the internet, came upon I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE's bandcamp, 5 slight tracks with a sketchy pencil drawing of what looks like a greek temple. The tracks had names like 'I AM THE PRINCE OF THE AIR' and 'I AM LUCIFER'S PRIDE'; kind of an Old Testament destroying angel that seemed to have profound occult under-pinnings that are oblique and mysterious.

something came alive for me
things began to make sense
this music has change me
sort of fell into this world; like a daydream, or a fever - i came under its spell
what makes something yr favorite?
is it a memory of the live experience?
Understanding the people that make it?

i see it like frequencies
some of are tuned to the same hum

I am no expert on Davis Hooker's music. It makes me curious; i want to experience it over and over. These days, it seems like you have to make a choice to stand by something - to champion it. Some mad impulse in the spur of the moment, you get a tattoo. Something about the rough hewn hermetic quality of this music and art snagged me like an inverted cross. Coming upon his tumblr account, Great Horned Owls, i found pages of backwards photographs and cryptic stories. Its like getting possessed by somebody's imagination. They peer inside you for a moment.
I AM THE LAKE OF FIRE sounds like judgement day. It seems like things are coming to a head. Its like Godspeed You! Black Emperor said : "Kiss me, yr beautiful/these are truly the end days." It may be dark but at least its romantic. Beyond gods and morality, we glow in the neon. Shine like dark stars. Music is like magick, you plant visions in someone's head. Make dreams a reality.

Davis Hooker lives in Portland. It seems like he plays around a great deal (although he's out of town right now) and is unknown and playing tiny places for cheap or free. He, and all his friends, are a rich ore of mutant weirdness and dark arts.

I highly recommend you take a moment and listen to this 16 minute EP. You can check it out online, or pay him $1.23 and keep it forever. He also has some memorabilia for free. The battle of the black cloud trilogy is available for whatever price you like, and here's a sweet show he did with a radio program called Phoning It In.

This urge to descend into visionary music, to be transported. Some would call it experimental, a work in progress. That's part of what these bandcamps and facebooks and soundclouds are about, its walking the journey unfold. Its like getting to know someone. I'd like to get to know Davis Hooker, and his friends. I respect what they do. It inspires me. Makes me want to carpet the internet with moldy books and stars and field recordings of Sri Lanka.

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