Incantation (Part 2)
Breakthrough is pretty much unreadable. A small portion of the book is given over to explanations of how the 'spirit' voices are captured and to rambling accounts, daft philosophizing and pseudo-scientific jargon about the voices and hypnosis and psychology and acoustics and all manner of other abstruse matters.
The larger part of the book consists of transcripts of what the voices had to say. Here's the thing that becomes apparent very quickly on reading them: if these really are the spirits of the dead trying to communicate with us, then they have either all gone completely senile, or only the loonies are bothering to keep in contact.
These are some of the things the spirits wanted Raudive to know (the messages were also polylingual, just to add an even more insane dimension to the process):
Nedoma zirgi (Horses don't think)
Matei sip galva (Mother has a headache)
Golva! Golvas nav! Konstantin, Konstantin, esmu ar tevi vienmer (Head! No head! Konstantin, Konstantin, I am always with you)
Vi koordinati (We are co-ordinated)
Kosta, van, pietiek ar muziku (Kosta, friend, it is sufficient with the music)
Konstantin, streite nicht! (Konstantin, don't quarrel)
...and on and on and on for hundreds of pages with thousands of other incomprehensible and/or dreary snippets. The voices seem entirely incapable of stringing together more that about a half a dozen words into any semblence of coherence.
Man, and I thought this life was confusing and full of trivia. Heaven comes across as some kind of huge dull and sprawling cocktail party filled with the kind of people you'd step in front of buses to avoid. All on acid.
(If you want to hear some EVP the best all-in-one-place collection I've found is a CD called The Ghost Orchid. And if you want to make your own recordings of ghostly voices you can find out how here.)
But I digress. Back to the story. As you will recall, in last week's episode I had forked out my 7 bucks for a copy of Breakthrough. Now I had some inspirational material for my piece.
What I thought of doing was this: since EVP is a technologically-based phenomenon, I would take the process one step further than plain ol' magnetic tape and bring it into the computer era (there are now numerous examples of the Dear Departed communicating via computers, but that's a story for another post, perhaps). My concept was to choose some of the phrases from the transcripts of Raudive's recordings, and then use the speech function of my Mac to say them out loud. A dismebodied voice speaking the words of disembodied voices. Out of this, I would assemble a soundscape. Nifty, huh?
I typed out about a page of stuff. Then I realized the text was on the wrong computer, so I transferred it across to my work machine... and this is where another bizarre thing happened. Somehow, I have no idea how, the text I had typed out got completely corrupted in the transfer. Not a corrupted file mind you, just a completely corrupted rendering of the text. The document that opened was pages of unintelligible gibberish; fragments of words and bits of punctuation peppered throughout with lots of weird arcane-looking characters that I didn't even know existed. This had never happened to me before, and it has never happened since.
Then I had a screwy idea: what if I got the computer to speak this stuff?
It was truly eerie. My Mac was speaking in tongues. Long experience has taught me that when an opportunity like this presents itself in the studio, you record it immediately in case something happens and you can't reproduce it.
So I did. And then the computer crashed. And when it came back up, I could no longer open the text file.
Make of all this what you will. It gave me an interesting track. Like Marie Ann, the Marquise du Deffand once said: "I don't believe in ghosts, but I am afraid of them..."
Here's how the piece eventually sounded: Incantation [mp3 file]
[To Be Continued]