Immaculate Deception

Fra Angelico, The Annunciation, c.1430-32, Tempera on wood, Prado Museum, Madrid

Regular readers might be a little surprised to find Fra Angelico adorning the pages of this blog, but don't worry folks...I am not about to change my wicked ways and find God! I suppose technically I should have posted it around 8 months and 3 weeks ago on the basis that despite divine conception the little bastard would have gestated full term before landing in the manger. 

I used this image in a talk I gave a few years back at the local regional gallery on 'Eroticism in Art'. I began the talk with it not because it is in anyway erotic, but it is very revealing. Why? Because I believe that without religion (or at least Christianity) eroticism would not exist, or at least in the form it does today. Call it simplistic if you like, but the churches effort to suppress human desire has created the 'forbidden' nature of eroticism that makes it so interesting.

Above, we see the Archangel Gabriel do the 'Ave Maria' bit while in the top left hand corner Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden of Eden. Take home message: Mary good, Eve bad, and it is this 'evilness' of Eve as temptress that led to Christ and his disciples adopting chastity as a desirable quality. And what a wonderful little chain of events and attitudes that has left us with for the past 2000 odd years.

So, while I will certainly be enjoying the company of family and friends this Christmas I won't be celebrating the birth of Christ. I will be thinking about an increasingly fragmented world that sadly appears on a collision course with itself, and on that cheery note I am shutting down the system for a couple of weeks and going fishing...

The Doors of Perversion

Bob Georgeson, The Doors of Perversion, 2012, Photomontage

Just to get into the festive spirit...time to hang out the stockings!


emptywhale is a dark ambient outfit from the UK that formed in 2011. The above is the cover to the first album, released into the public domain by the independent and non-commercial netlabel Haze, which is based in Belarus. Haze specialises in experimental, eclectic and avant-garde music...

I came across emptywhale by a chance encounter on the Internet Archives. I had been searching for a soundtrack for a film I had visualised but not yet made. After what seemed like hours of sifting through some pretty weird and wonderful stuff, there was something about the name, title and cover art that drew me to start listening to the tracks. And what a pleasant encounter it has turned out to be. I was particularly drawn to the track 'Suburbs' which I ended up using in the film 'The Lunar Machine', or maybe I should say it used me, for, rather than finding a soundtrack that fitted with existing footage, the soundtrack ended up determining the feel, sequence and continuity of the film. It was a fascinating (to me at least) exercise in process because there was no attempt on my part to 'visualise' the music, nor obviously any attempt by emptywhale to 'auralise' the visuals. It just fitted the feel I had wanted to uneasy feeling that all is not quite right...

So, I was more than pleasantly surprised to get an email from emptywhale last weekend saying they liked what I had done with 'Suburbs', and to be privileged to a sneak preview of the new album due out in a few weeks time. We also had some discussion about processes, working in the public domain and possible future collaboration. I am not an expert on the dark ambient genre, but I find these sonic journeys full of humanistic concern for the environment and direction of society. As I wrote to Chris, listening to his music, or soundscapes as he calls them, took me to places that I had never been before. A whole new door has opened for me, and I'm excited! I'm steppin' through!

You can download or stream 'fearscapes' by clicking here...