The confluence between my dalliances with the Occult and my creative process as an artist, especially that of a songwriter, were birthed during my formative years as a latchkey kid in the barrios of New Mexico and Arizona. This once precocious guerolito utilized those wistful after school hours, before any parental figure would return from work, to cast my wonton creativity with loud, unabashed abandon. Each day, I was afforded access to the one thing I coveted most, my mother’s precious and wholly off-limits double cassette ghettoblaster.
I held very little regard for her absent scrutiny, and soon enough I was immersed in the art of recording radio samples into tape collages. Late nights laying in bed were spent listening intently to these infantile constructs, they would send me into alien dreams filled with unseen things and slowly open avenues towards realizing the proto-melodies that had always danced behind my eyes. To solve these psychic ear worms I began cripple picking and dumb strumming my second-hand Stella acoustic guitar over the sequences. It may have only been three stringed with a neck more crooked than the Catholic church, but it was the perfect tool to exorcise those hidden hums. With the tape blistering with the dynamic detritus of no-tempo non-rhythms I would conjure a brilliant cacophony of rhythmic pitterpatters and unnatural mutant melodies.
Oh, but then came the words, then came the words! Words that were hidden within, punching out of my brain stuff that needed to be sung – that needed proper vexing and at proper volumes with a proper amount of gusto! And, much to my mother and stepfather’s dismay, I began to channel this soft-brained glossolalia, screaming and rapping whatever psychic gobbledygook tumbled out of me until phrases would manifest. I’d do this over and over, believing that this was the way one writes a song, with absolutely no thematic pretense other than what spilled out of you to whatever rhythms you created to do so.
These brutal tape collages, their gnawing and discordant guitar movements, and the unknown language they inspired became my first songs, if you could call them that. My mother certainly didn’t and decried them as “heretic hymns”, much to her chagrin this proved only to swell the pride of my little shit-kicking self. I can proudly say, though this songwriting process has evolved into many different factions, the exercise is largely the same, and would become my most trusted pathwork for most of my metaphysical musings.
The metaphysics gained momentum when I began incorporating audio from broken, scrapped and/or trashed cassette tapes with the intention to fish for sounds outside the confines of 90’s radio airplay. Some crooked little freaks burned Barbies, this crooked bastard would melt and destroy cassette tapes instead, deforming them by the boundless brutality of the desert sun, or purposely fraying the tape ribbons to reassemble randomly. Wincing away those lonely afternoons trimming, cutting and gluing together these polymer sonic fractions of ugly tones and tussles to be made anew when ignited by the ghettoblaster’s tapeheads.
Soon, I found myself stumbling onto the Beat writers full stop. I felt a young kinship, especially concerning the bubbly, improvised lyrical word salads that accompanied my heretic hymnals (or my writing). But it was full solidarity when I unearthed the Burroughs’ tape experiments that spawned from his and Brion Gysin’s “Cut-Up” techniques. They would repurpose analog tape recordings into new pieces of art and reveal the subterranean meanings buried within. Did I stumble on a magical method all by lonesome, was I drinking from the same psychic tap unwittingly?! This was the first of many of the synchronicities that proved to confirm a shared mystical reality as the phrase or variation of the phrase: “Oh, that’s what that is!” became an all too common revelation specifically concerning the metaphysics of my artistic process.
Of course, Burroughs and Punk Rock pave the road to Chaos Magick, which my smirking rebellion bought wholesale. Genesis P. Orridge of Psycick TV, Comic writers Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson… all would become my clairvoyeurs into the world of magickal media. These Heretic Hymnals as my mother once called them, now seemed cute compared the blistering work of the aforementioned PSYCHICK TV, and groups like throbbing Gristle and Coil. Chaos Magick’s aim to construct a supreme will and intent spoke volumes to me as a guru-less and deeply disassociated teenager. Perhaps my woes might just be a matter of will and not just the damning horomonal biological warfare within my flowering adolescence. But most importantly, it lead me ask, What if I imposed heavy intention to any craft, the same intensity of attention and discipline as I do within the minutiae of those songwriting ceremonies and re-appropriate that passion towards every avenue of life? Well, I’m still figuring that out, now passed the confines of being a “chaote”, but Chaos Magick did propose the foundational art of sigilism, a sigil being a symbol casted with the practitioner’s specific intent and desire as a means for quick subconscious calibration to attain said desire.
Wait, I thought, so all the will and fervor I put into the ceremony, the ritual of these sonic experiments actually make them sort-of “Sound Sigils” (oh, that’s what they are) and as my practice grew as composer and as conjurer, these “sound sigils” became my coded language of personal desires evidenced through every facet of orchestration and production therein. I would discover personal narratives within collections of the sigils, these collections became albums, and soon enough I was creating an epistolary discography that could, in turn, be considered my magical journal (or grimoire)! Grant Morrison claimed his book, The Invisibles, was a “hyper-sigil” – or a dynamic miniature model of the magician’s universe… “oh, I thought, that’s what my records are!”
With a young occultist’s fervor, I would go on to heavily ritualize and log those songwriting sessions, I would re-discover those alien dreams and permeating preternatural nature when I didn’t force the pretense of composition, and instead focused on the runner’s high of the meditations. I found that cycling through improvised 2 to 3 syllable chants amongst the tape loops and dischordant guitar strumming conjured a deep meditative state, replete with fantastic visions. I’d be lost marveling in the psychic, purple tetrahedrons that I could manipulate and shoot from my forehead, deep in a sonic trance. Some might liken this to the projected pentagrams you shoot cast around you in Crowley’s Lesser Banishing ritual of the pentagram, but this turned to be something more universal…
It was when I rebelliously nabbed some of the secrets of transcendental meditation or, T M as it’s known, out of protest for them selling their enlightenments for far too much money…I realized the chanting was a major factor. They utilize a continuous 3 syllable mantra to chant during their meditations (boom, I just saved you guys thousands of dollars, take that David Lynch!) but most importantly, when I read people reporting the purple tetrahedrons would signify that transcendental states were achieved. Of course, this very much likened to the indigo charged third-eye chakra found in Hinduism and tantric Buddhism, but hey, sometimes the mystical is quite literal. I thought, yep, that’s what I’m doing!
I discovered the more physical actions my body sequenced with the sounds, the more psychedelic these audio-gasms became. To leer deeper and for longer through the void my ass had to be firmly on the ground, cross legged and anchored to the earth – this allowed the chaotic boom/hiss of the tapes to gradually dissolve the somatic self, my chants would congeal and coagulate to reveal hidden intentions in purple pixels, and the guitar or ramshackle pieces of percussion would generate the concussive exhaust of my psychic engine. Soon, I was lost in the hidden dimensions that overlay ours, the ones just beyond our eye resolution yet here just the same. The shadow of the somatic, I was calling the "noirs," for lack of an absolute definition. Now, the dark areas of comprehension, those NOIRS, tinged with a fluorescent hue, but philosophically more damning too – as they would feel bright with both blemish and beauty, luminous with levity but lurking with loss. That’s when the sound sigils, now transcendental meditations, would brighten and burn through my sense of self, my identity’s foundational structures now shaken askew, and my sense of purpose decimated but anew. When I took shrooms for the first time, I thought “Oh, that’s what this feels like.”
My long since passed mentor Black Tom, a literal “dharma bum” who had relinquished his possessions, his doctorate in psychology, along with his practice and career – to become a devout student of the Kabbala had told me that these new music meditations were a form of “audiomancy”, of sound magic, and they were able to “dim the Tzim-Tzum.”
He explained, and forgive the paraphrasing as I am no expert of anything, especially Jewish mysticism, was that the Kabbala describes the infinite, or En Sof, as an endless abyss that encompasses ALL things without the rules and confines of human fathomability or definition. The En-Sof is the absolute, a psychic tundra of which I correlate to artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare’s idea of the underworld he called the Neither/Neither , which in turn is similar to Jung’s “Collective Unconscious” or Bell’s Theroeum in Quantum Physics or more importantly, what I termed the "Noirs."
Ha, that’s what they are! It was this unmediated invisible reality that’s wholly inconceivable, where every thought, reality and emotion exist and everything is permitted. However, for there to exist a shared somatic reality, we all must first afford the ability to fathom the En Sof, but to do this and to do this there needed to be a contraction of it, resulting in allowing most of the infinite to exist beyond the contraction. The noirs now the “everything outside” or the unknown regions, that lay beyond our natural perception. So for things to exist as we perceive them in this shared reality, there had to be a baseline comprehension of rules and the exclusion of all else, thus a place of conceivable matter, space and time. Anyway, in the Kabbala they call this contraction of the En Sof the “TZIM-TZUM.” Now, the infinite absolute of the En-Sof is only permitted to the wonderment and imagination of human fathomability. Clap if you understood that…just kidding. Tom said that when I use these metaphysical means to make the noirs neon, I perceive the smallest fraction of these supra-realities and I, quite literally, “Dim the contraction,” "I DIM THE TZIM-TZUM!” – Oh, so I thought, that’s what they are and from then on my audiomancy rituals were forever called "Dims"…
The preternatural tendencies of the DIMS reached dizzying highs when I began taking serious aim at various magical methods outside of the Audiomancy. Every time I’d get bigger as a practitioner, my dims got a little more…strange. I refurbished a tomb like room, in my latest home, from nic-cac closet into, what I term the DIMMING ROOM (or what friends jokingly refer to as my masterbatorium). The autonomy from the outside atmosphere is key when getting weird with this kinda woo, so naturally, when I crowded the room with my magical ephemera, tape machines, a small amp and a little twin mattress… I could hear the growl of Tom Waits’ “WHAT’S HE BUILDING IN THERE?” Every time my friends inquire about the room.
I’d say everything from sonic deprivation tank to just a natural reverb chamber.
“WHATS HE BUILDING IN THERE?”
I’d get a little more truthful and say an altar, a sacred space to give a proper novena to La Nina Blanca, my childhood barrio bruja and heretical patron saint of the outsider. But I became increasingly amused by being more truthful about it’s purpose as time went on:
“WHAT’S HE BUILDING IN THERE?”
Ok, ok, fine, and it’s a place where I shout baritone commands to Naberius, the 42nd governor of hell, the crow / dog demon who “maketh a man cunning in all the arts” when summoned. Of course I’m half-joking but listen, there’s no easy way to say I do the magicks without sounding like a dick, so sometimes it’s just easier to joke about the inherent drama within the practices… or just call it a masterbatorium and move on with the tour. I digress…
It’s in this DIMMING ROOM that the purple drips and creeps manifest into an assortment of unknown and unnatural organisms, burping and breathing, snickering and tickling. Wading through the psychic digital detritus, the bleeps and bloops, the sines and the loops now conforming into patterns and meaning as if I was literally re-channeling the Noir’s circuits until the perfect hues created somewhat recognizable patterns (as humans are wont to do) and from those I would be gifted sequences, visions and/or themes. Dims became a serious practice and splintered from that of the sound Sigils, that I’d initially resign it’s effects to just subconscious spelunking. Until, The void began to generate what felt like a other environments entirely; gardens that would grow geometric genies, ghosts that flash-formed into uncanny beings, that whispered rhythmically at me. When breaking into the wonderful world of psilocybin, DMT and other psychedelics, I would keep hearing about these supernatural “DMT elves;” invisible inter-dimensional Keeblers that many DMT users claim to see. I thought, OH, that’s what those purple genies are! Consistent visitors became common, some of which I would name and treat like benevolent, invisible friends, some of them would already have names and treated me as if I were an invading hostile. But that’s a deeper story for another time…
When enveloped in that preternatural dark of the Dimming Room, among my talisman and tapemachines, my trans-dimensional wayfaring no longer resolves that DIMMING THE TZIM-TZUM is just a cacophony-induced seizure, or waking dreams and subconscious vexing's. Admittedly, some might be. But, how am I to take the consistent synchronicities as just my subconscious cycling through a waking hodgepodge of incepted imagery, if they mainly occur for me to later discover and confirm? Whether or not conversing with fictitious or actualized unseen beings, that may/or may not be constructed by the subconscious to anchor and/or aid digestion of the unfathomable, whether or not I’m “actually” surfing the astral planes of the collective unconscious, seems moot. These visceral experiences and their magnanimous correlations to both my personal psychological insights and learnED metaphysical studies repeatedly are made into truths with every artistic work realized. Science and it’s many rigid absolutes should be left for this reality, a condition of the TZIM-TZUM, as with the conceptualization of identity regarding the practitioner, leave that shit here. Hell, the idea of Certainty becomes altogether moot within in the tundras of these noirs. I’ll end with a quote that Mr. William S. Burroughs popularized, “Nothing is True, everything is Permitted.” And that’s the only thing for certain.
About the Creator
Forever the ne'er-do-well, naysayer and rogue, Rosz is a personified contradiction: a nefarious romantic, pugilist conspirator, criminal poet and druggy mystic with a newfound quest to share the whimsical cautionary tales of his past.