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Peter Uys "Toypom" (Sandton)

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Steve Jackson Games 3002 - Principia Discordia
Steve Jackson Games 3002 - Principia Discordia

4.0 von 5 Sternen Minor flaws of omission, 17. Mai 2011
These numinous scriptures come close to rivaling James Robinson's edition of the The Nag Hammadi Library as the most important contribution to 20th century metaphysics. And not only for those who consider Discordianism as a form - albeit a weird one - of Gnosticism.

Certain passages inspire more than others, like The Enlightenment Of Zarathud and Lord Omar's Epistle To The Paranoids of which only the orthodox version appears here. According to the Samaritan Codex (jealously guarded by a heterodox Discordianist cult) and the Octuagint there is an additional verse which reads: "Ye erect tall buildings, only to cast yerselves from the rooves."

The same Codex - but not the Octuagint - also contains The Epistle To The Neurotics by St. Euthanasius which regrettably didn't make it into this edition. For nearly 3000 years scholars have been debating its authenticity. The editors could at least have added it as an appendix.

A welcome improvement over earlier editions is the inclusion of the variant reading of verse 4 of the Epistle To The Paranoids from the Codex Sinaiticus: "O how the darknesses do crowd up, one against the other, in ye hearts! What fear ye more than [not "that"] what ye have wroughten?"

Despite the aforementioned omissions, the familiar exegeses of the thoughts of Eris, Greek goddess of Chaos, by Malaclypse & Omar continue to illuminate, enlighten and comfort millions. If you appreciate these insights, you will love the work of Robert Anton Wilson.


Sacred Geography: Deciphering Hidden Codes in the Landscape
Sacred Geography: Deciphering Hidden Codes in the Landscape
von Paul Devereux
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The living planet, 13. Mai 2011
Paul Devereux integrates evidence from archaeology, archaeo-astronomy, archaeo-acoustics and sacred geometry to discover the hidden meanings of ancient sites and the mystical connections that our prehistoric ancestors attributed to the landscape. Since time immemorial they invested places with metaphysical and healing powers where the physical and the spiritual came together.

Illustrated with photographs, satellite imagery, diagrams and maps, the work reveals global patterns of pilgrimage and places of power whilst illuminating the concepts of acoustic and cognitive archaeology. Ancient humans seem to have viewed the world as consisting of three parts: the underworld of ancestors, the middle world of the living and the heavenly world of spirit. Our ancestors must have considered nature to be alive in some way and this was quite universal as the author demonstrates by taking the reader on a tour through Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Sacred sites where the three worlds met include familiar places like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Mount Fuji, the source of the Ganga and caves like those of Altamira. Numinous features encompassed dolmens, trees, hilltops, crevices and waterfalls. An important aspect of many of these was the sounds emanating from them or their acoustic properties of amplification.

Temples, dolmens, menhirs and caves were built or adapted to enhance or amplify ritual sounds. The author has interesting thoughts on the origins of music when echoes were regarded as spirit voices. This knowledge assists our understanding of the biochemical and physiological reasons why dance, rhythm and percussion are such powerful emotional experiences. Richard Rudgley explores objects possibly used for creating sound that date back to 50 000 BP in chapter 15 of his book The Lost Civilisations of the Stone Age.

Entheogenic substances played a part in the rituals performed at sacred sites; there is evidence that hallucinogens and music were used together. In his book The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, David Lewis-Williams theorizes that the people of the Upper Paleolithic harnessed altered states of consciousness to fashion their society and used imagery as a means of establishing and defining social relationships. Graham Hancock supports Lewis-Williams' theory; his experiments with mind-altering substances are lucidly described in the absorbing book Supernatural.

Devereux believes that urbanization has removed the link between humans, earth and mythology to detrimental effect. An earlier work by him, titled Stone Age Soundtracks, is less detailed, more concise but equally fascinating. Its text is enhanced by black & white illustrations, musical notations, striking color plates; it is another valuable resource highly recommend to those who are interested in mankind's unknown past.


The Boatman's Call
The Boatman's Call
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Grave, weary, solemn and resigned, 9. Mai 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
This album with its metaphysical imagery contains the odd anthemic ballad like the rousing There Is A Kingdom, and intimate, subdued songs such as Into My Arms, Lime Tree Arbour and the resigned People Ain't No Good. Cave interweaves spiritual and sensual metaphor much like Leonard Cohen. On Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? one half expects those Cohenesque female vocals to frame his deep voice but they never appear.

A highlight is the weary yet erotic Green Eyes, the first line of which is a translation of a sonnet by the medieval French poet Louise Labe. She was the first to write sonnets in French (the style originated in Italy) and was famous for her passionate style. Cave turns her love poem into a lament of epic proportions filled with equal amounts of romantic yearning and despair. Quite a tour de force and enhanced by a strategic swear word or two. The poetic effect is greatly enhanced by the vocal technique: lines are first spoken then sung, which gives it a very ritualistic flavor.

Fans of The Boatman's Call would love the work of Michael Gira's Angels of Light, especially New Mother, since it contains similar solemn ballads of great impact and gravitas.


Israele Siamo Noi
Israele Siamo Noi
von Fiamma Nirenstein
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The deadly sling of David, 10. April 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Israele Siamo Noi (Gebundene Ausgabe)
Fiamma Nirenstein describes the reality of a democracy under siege that remains strongly committed to liberty and human rights. She also speaks of us, of Western society which is under assault by Islamic extremism. Israel is at the frontline yet the war is against us all; we are Israel because we are all under attack by the same fanatics who have undertaken a reconquest after centuries of resentment at Western predominance. Our own destiny is tied to that of Israel.

Of course Europe doesn't want to know. Europe doesn't want to recognize the new threat, hoping instead that by sacrificing Israel and turning against the United States, it will avoid conflict. The EU is blind to the Axis of Thugocracies that is taking shape to its east and south. The European left is waging a relentless propaganda campaign against Israel, painting a picture of Israeli society which doesn't remotely resemble reality.

The propagandistic rhetoric of the so-called pacifist movements, antiglobalist intellectuals and revisionist historians are intended to delegitimize the Jewish State through words that equate Zionism with "colonialism', "imperialism", "racism", "oppression" and "occupation." The author describes this European generation that has lost its mind in vivid and moving autobiographical references.

She examines the reasons why the global media reduces the Middle Eastern conflict to idiotic condemnations of the right to self-defense. The shrill chorus of European chattering classes - the cicadas of Oriana Fallaci - has progressed from parlor anti-Semitism ("That little, shitty state' in the words of a French ambassador to London) to openly questioning Israel's right to life and the resurrection of medieval blood libels, especially in Scandinavia.

Nirenstein counteracts every one of the lies while revealing the hope and strength obscured by the propaganda of the haters and the pessimism of some of Israel's supporters. The Israeli people are not at all discouraged by the weakness of their governing and media elites. Israeli society is vibrantly alive as confirmed by Giulio Meotti.

A passionate commitment to democracy coupled with the constant threat of war and the need to counteract terrorist attacks have created citizens uniquely equipped to survive difficult circumstances. The average Israeli is as devoted to peace and liberty as he is prepared to confront the reality of jihad, terrorism and the asymmetrical war.

Contrary to the pervasive and widely accepted propaganda, Israel is a positive role model for those in democratic societies that cannot ultimately avoid a defensive war. That description encompasses the entire West plus countries like the Philippines, India, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.

Tenacity, courage and an almost supernatural determination characterize the people. Although a secular state, Israel has a culture of values within a powerful collective moral framework which implies that beyond immediate interests there are transcendent ones supported by powerful symbols.

According to the French intellectual Chantal Delsol, this very lack of transcendent ideals is what ails Europe, breeding a shallow materialism, hedonism and nihilism. Thus, Europe could recover by emulating the state it so vilifies. And judging by the conclusions in Michael Polanyi's valuable book Science, Faith, and Society, Israel is perfectly capable of meeting any challenges.

The initial euphoria which greeted the 2011 uprisings in the Arab World is already proving premature. Signs are that the worst dictatorships will survive while in other cases, bad tyrants might be replaced by even worse ones. It is therefore comforting to know that the only democracy in the Middle East is essentially healthy and in a much better state than the rest of the civilized world to face the future.


Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
von Bart D. Ehrman
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Truth will triumph, 9. April 2011
Faith is a profoundly emotional issue with its own dynamics as Eric Hoffer makes clear in The True Believer, a seminal study on the nature of belief and mass movements. Another valid insight is that of the metaphysician Ernest Holmes who warned against destroying or undermining a person's faith if it gives them comfort and helps them seek what is good and right: "Every person's religion is an answer to the cry of the soul for something which is real, something which may be relied upon - a resting place for which everyone instinctively feels a need."

Thus, the pursuit of truth may be a perilous enterprise that leads to painful places. Giving up certainties takes courage. In this investigation, Ehrman approaches the subject with empathy. Both non-canonical works and those eventually included in the New Testament are subjected to scrutiny. That is appropriate since when these were written, no canon existed.

It is no secret to most scholars in the field: Many of the books of the New Testament were composed by authors who lied about their identities, deliberately impersonating famous characters such as Peter, Paul and James. That is deception; a book written by someone who lies about his identity is a forgery.

In order to avoid this harsh reality, most Christian theologians employ the word "pseudepigrapha" when referring to these forgeries. Yet the word literally means "writing inscribed with a lie." Scholars may claim that it was an acceptable practice in the ancient world to write a book in someone else's name. Not so: the author cites Polybius, Martial and Diogenes Laertius in this regard.

Only 7 of the 13 letters of Paul of Tarsus were written by him. In the ancient world, books like that were called "pseudoi" (lies). Yes, it matters today, since for example 1 Timothy justifies the subordination of women.

Chapter One investigates forgeries in general, recent and ancient. Interestingly, the condemnation of forgeries in the texts appears to be a prominent feature of forged books. Good examples are Ephesians and 2 Thessalonians. This corresponds with Paul of Tarsus' repeated assertions that he "is telling the truth, not lying," if indeed it was him who wrote those words.

The next chapter is devoted to forgeries in the name of Peter. Ehrman points out that both truth and falsehood assume different forms. Evidence is produced that the Epistles of Peter could not have been written by him, another fact acknowledged by scholars.

The opening passages of the third chapter deals with invented tales about Paul. After that, New Testament forgeries ascribed to the founder of Christianity are identified by means of word frequency and semantics. Amongst the books discussed are Thessalonians, Ephesians and Colossians.

In chapter 4, Ehrman proves that forgery was as unacceptable in the ancient world as it is today. Ancient sources condemn the practice, meaning that the excuses offered by modern scholars are themselves deceitful.

The following two chapters consider extracanonical forgeries that derive from Gnostic and Jewish-Christian controversies. The most thought-provoking analysis of canonical are those of Colossians, Jude, James, the Epistles of Paul and the Acts of the Apostles.

Chapter 7 examines various phenomena pertaining to forgery such as false attributions, fabrications, falsifications, plagiarism and interpolations. Mark, Luke and the Acts are used as examples. There is no doubt that some Christians employed all the aforementioned practices in a wildly successful campaign to promote their version of the faith. A particular dogma was promoted through deceptive means - a most disturbing irony.

In chapter 8, Ehrman explains how successful ancient and modern forgeries have been in persuading large numbers of people of their authenticity. This chapter concludes with a discussion of attitudes towards deception and its motives. The justification of forgeries on any grounds goes against a cardinal moral principle. One rule exists for all. Forgeries by Christians are unacceptable.

In certain books, specifically the Gospel of John, scribes added key passages at different times. After Christianity sought the approval of the Roman Empire, writings were forged to absolve the Romans of the murder and to accuse the Jews of deicide. Such accounts are filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes of malevolent Jews as "Christ-killers."

As Judith Taylor Gold demonstrates in Madonnas & Monsters, anti-Semitism appears in both overt and covert form in the Gospel of John, a book that is exceptionally hostile to Judaism. The teachings and personality of Jesus in the Gospel of John differs so radically from those in the three Synoptic Gospels that prominent theologians have been claiming - since the 1800s - that only one of the two traditions can be true; it is impossible that both can be.

Raymond E Brown provides a brief synopsis of a prominent theory on the development of this gospel, identifying three levels in the text: (a) An original narrative of someone personally acquainted with Jesus/Yeshua (b) A Structured literary creation by an editor that draws from other sources (c) An attempt to harmonize the text with the rest of the New Testament canon.

There are further troubling realities not specifically addressed by Ehrman in this book. The NT writers "quote" Hebrew scripture passages that do not exist, quote already fulfilled Hebrew prophecies to claim that NT events are their fulfillment, quote 50 - 60 OT passages as proof of fulfilled messianic prophecies while none of those is a prophecy at all.

The criteria for the validation of scripture include origin, transmission, internal marks of authority and consistency. The text of the Hebrew Bible was rigorously preserved and reproduced under strict supervision, resulting in only minor variations, while there are scores of textual variants for the NT as proved by inter alia Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus.


strangers in the night LP
strangers in the night LP

3.0 von 5 Sternen Lukewarm synthpop, 3. April 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: strangers in the night LP (Vinyl)
Peter Baumann was a member of Tangerine Dream, a German band that was amongst the pioneers in the use synthesizers to explore new soundscapes. His first two solo albums Romance 76 and Trans Harmonic Nights were instrumental. In 1981 the vocal album Repeat Repeat was released and Strangers In The Night of 1983 is the disappointing follow-up. The vocals sound flat and it lacks the catchy tunes and synth-pop savoir fair of Repeat Repeat.

The title track is the cover of a Bert Kaempfert composition from 1966. The lack of melodies renders this album forgettable although there are one or two exceptions where the earlier genius shines through. Time Machine, for example, contains a hint of the symphonic splendor of Trans Harmonic Nights whilst there a remnant of his engaging synth textures on Taxi.

The concluding Welcome is the only memorable track on this uninspiring album as it does have a great melody and impressive atmospheric arrangement with a cohesive structure. For great synth-pop that equals the best of e.g. Human League, Eurythmics and OMD, I recommend Repeat Repeat. The compilation Phase By Phase offers a mix of vocal and instrumental tracks that display a few of Baumann's greatest triumphs.


MUSE
MUSE

4.0 von 5 Sternen Farewell to Disco, 21. März 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: MUSE (Vinyl)
This 1979 follow-up to Fame was the final album in Grace Jones' 1970s disco trilogy. A medley or dance suite, the first four tracks are Sinning, Suffer (a duet with arranger Thor Baldursson), Repentance and Saved. Muse has the same mix as its predecessor and the debut Portfolio, with classic 1970s dance numbers like the aforementioned medley and the final track On Your Knees, balanced by three ballads.

The arrangements are typical of the legendary disco producer Tom Moulton, although the sound is funkier in that keyboards, drums, bass and guitar are more prominent. On the ballads, backing vocals are by The Sweathearts of Sigma: Carla Benson, Barbara Ingram and Yvette Benton whilst The Brotherhood provide them on the dance medley. The striking sleeve design and art direction are by Richard Bernstein.

The dance suite is a tour de force, starting with Sinning which has atmospheric syndrums and Grace's defiant laughter. The duet has sound effects of lashings interacting with Jones' remorseful vocals. Forgive Me has a soulful sound and hints of a gospel undertone which comes to full fruition on the grand finale, Saved, a powerful uptempo number with an entrancing melody that wouldn't be out-of-place on a Candi Staton album.

Grace's spoken vocal surfaces intermittently on the funky Atlantic City Gambler; the romantic ballad I'll Find My Way To You has a lovely keyboard interlude and the spacious Don't Mess With the Messer has a similar tone to the later Demolition Man on Nightclubbing. Muse concludes with the funky dance track On Your Knees, a strong song with driving rhythms & outstanding vocals.

In 1980 Jones changed direction into New Wave, Reggae & Dub, gaining a new following whilst retaining the dance devotees. After the Sly & Robbie trilogy of Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing & Living My Life, she moved into soulful pop on albums like 1986's Inside Story & 1989's Bulletproof Heart, after which a long silence ensued. Finally, nineteen years later and thirty years after the album under review, she returned in 2008 with the brilliant Hurricane. Fame and Muse are classic Moulton/Jones disco but not as immediately appealing as Portfolio.


romance '76 LP
romance '76 LP

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Half accessible, half classical, 9. März 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: romance '76 LP (Vinyl)
There is a vast stylistic contrast between the first and second parts of Peter Baumann's 1976 debut solo album. The first three tracks resemble his 1979 work Trans Harmonic Nights, as what might be described as rhythmic electronic music, while the second part falls within the realm of the classical.

Romance is particularly melodious and appealing with a beautiful arrangement that includes an engaging rhythmic pattern. High pitched crystalline and low pitched voice-like infusions embellish the sonic blend. After a slow intro, Phase By Phase comes alive with glockenspiel as the percussive tempo accelerates, later joined by gusts of whooshing synths. Tempo variations occur throughout as the piece undulates between the fragile and the emphatic.

A traditional classical structure dominates on Meadow Of Infinity Part I to which members of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra contribute. Choral vocals decorate this super slow excursion. The Glass Bridge is a brief, percussive transitional piece which leads into Meadow Of Infinity Part 2. The second part is more experimental and electronic, for example the aforementioned vocals are utilized like instruments, fading in and out at strategic intervals. Ultimately the synthesizers come to the fore on this brooding and atmospheric track.

In a sense, Romance 76 might be compared to David Bowie's Low, in that half the tracks are accessible and tuneful whilst the other half consist of long, somewhat impenetrable pieces that might not offer immediate appeal to the non-classical listener. Baumann's later work moved in an ever more popular direction, of which Repeat Repeat of 1981, co-produced by Robert Palmer, is highly recommended for lovers of synthpop.


Repeat repeat (1981)
Repeat repeat (1981)
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Great synthpop album, 8. März 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Repeat repeat (1981) (Audio CD)
Unlike the symphonic synth excursions of the first two albums Trans Harmonic Nights and Romance 76, 1981's Repeat Repeat is an album of pure pop that equals any of the best synth-pop works of the early 1980s. Instruments include guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards and drums. It was co-produced by Robert Palmer and compares well with the best works of Human League, Eurythmics and Gary Numan.

Somewhat lightweight and repetitive, the title track does have some impressive instrumental variations. The real highlight of the album is Home Sweet Home, a magnificent melodious song with poetic, thoughtful lyrics and an unforgettable chorus. This arresting track is comparable with Human League's Open Your Hear or Love Is A Stranger by Eurythmics.

The atmospheric Deccadence contains hints of the symphonic flair of his earlier work although stylistically it resorts in the pop genre. Then follows the second gem, another tuneful and memorable track titled Realtimes which contains soaring synth passages. More experimental is M.A.N. Series Two with its heavy use of vocoderised vocals.

Dealing with information overload, Brain Damage has an edgy uptempo beat. The tempo slows for Kinky Dinky with its beautiful instrumental flourishes, Daytime Logic is a percussive piece with a funky feel and the vocals come through powerfully on Playland Pleasure, another fast number. This excellent album concludes with What Is Your Use? Its obscurity is inexplicable; those who love the aforementioned musicians will consider it a treasure.


Shame, Humility, Revenge
Shame, Humility, Revenge

4.0 von 5 Sternen Sinister sorrow, 6. März 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Shame, Humility, Revenge (Audio CD)
These atmospheric tracks were recorded in London, October to December 1986, before the recording of Children of God in Cornwall during February & March the next year. The instruments include piano, keyboards, cello, piano, strings, violins, viola, double bass, acoustic guitar, Indian oboe, programmed drums and 'sounds.'

Nowhere does Gira sound as human as on the grandly orchestral Nothing Without You where Jarboe's spectral wordless vocals introduce and later interact with Gira's slow groaning delivery over undulating strumming to create a feeling of genuine tenderness, an emotion not usually found in his music.

The brooding Everything at Once commences with electronic buzzing and raw rhythmic strumming that precede his semi-whispered and choral vocals until everything merges in a raucous cacophony. On Breathing Water he sings against a highly complex arrangement that hints of Branca's guitar symphonies & about a theme that echoes Swans albeit with lesser intensity, while Jarboe's choral vocals eerily interact with his soft and gentle speaking voice on the ghostly Center of your Heart.

The semi-instrumental Cold Bed, a mix of humming, violins & viola embellished by darkly powerful piano & keyboards, is followed by 24 Hours where Jarboe's other-worldly vocalizing prepares the way for Gira's voice which rises strong and bold, approaching the shouting mode found on later songs like New Mind.

In arrangement, theme and vocal style, One Small Sacrifice calls to mind Our Love Lies, that final word on spiritual exhaustion which is found on the 4-track EP Love Will Tear Us Apart and Children of God. Concluding the album on a majestic note of despair, Turned to Stone with its classical structure showcases his world-weary groan over a haunting melody.

The sound shares a mournful spirituality with Children of God but its articulation takes a different track. There's a unique tone & texture to Shame, Humility, Revenge, something unlike anything that the old Swans, Body Lovers, Angels of Light or the revived Swans have ever done. The silver colored inner sleeve contains the credits on the front and the lyrics on the back.


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