Giacinto Scelsi and the Universe

The definite, most likely the ultimate climax of music is Giacinto Scelsi (also in the respect that it makes the term climax appropriate/inappropriate and therefore transcends it). What you hear in the improvisations/compositions of Giacinto Scelsi is the universe. Tender and powerful. Ethereal and abyssal. Sublime and intimate. Uncanny yet ever providing home. Both the deep silence and the glamour/clamor of being. Curved space which makes the infinite. The fluctuations within which the absolute establishes/relates to itself. Space and time are relative, absolute is the ? field from which they emerge. Colours show up, shifting from blue to a more red, then yellow, into the colour of light. Within the pure sound, the OM, distortions arise and transform, that is how the OM relates to itself. Eccentric loops and attractors. The movements, within the whole concept. The compositions/improvisations of Giacinto Scelsi are the Ear of God. Thus spake Zarathustra.

Giacinato Scelsi, Count d`Ayala Valva, was born in 1905. Not much is known about his life for he was a very reclusive man. He was said to have been a beautiful child with long blond hair. As a young man he traveled through Europe, studied in Vienna, had contact with fellows like Salvador Dali or Henri Michaux, married an English aristocrat and traveled to Africa and the Far East. After his divorce and unhappy with his work he fell into existential crisis and had to be hospitalised. As legend goes he spent his days in the mental hospital sitting at the piano and playing a single note. At age 50 his actual period as a highly idiosyncratic composer began and lasted for 25 years. During this time he hardly cared for his ouevre to become published or performed. Shortly before his death in 1988 his work was discovered and became accessible to the public. It was acknowledged that the history of Western music had to be rewritten and that Scelsi was at least a forerunner of Ligeti.

Most music (and most art indeed) is insipid (if it is debatable at all). Yet Scelsi´s music is NOT insipid. Scelsi was not actually avant-garde i.e. something which is fresh and virgin in the first place and then becomes insipid. Scelsi was a loner who tried to connect to the universe. To do so he abandoned composition altogether and supplanted it with improvisation undertaken with help of the piano or the ondioline. He explored the possibilities of sound and its multiple facetes. The purpose of the game was to connect to a higher, transcendent reality.

Those who want to make art but don´t properly know about it say art is about self expression. It don´t!!! Art is basically science, philosophy (and ethics). Science is about the exploration of the rational aspects of existence and art is about the exploration of the irrational aspects of existence. In order to be able to explore the irrational aspects of existence it is true that art is about the self expression of the artist. Yet in the sense that the artist has to cultivate and grow such an important self that his subjectivity obtains objective quality. The great genius is the most subjective and the most objective personality. He is both most idiosyncratic and hyper-normal.

In accordance with his artistic approach Giacinto Scelsi eradicated the traces of his subjectivity. He saw himself as a vessel, as an intermediary. He banned all pictures of him and erased his signature, respectively transformed it into a line under a circle, as a symbol of Eastern provenance. He said all the other composers just want to appear in the newspapers. He did not have any desire for that. He desired experiencing openess of the mind, to the universe, to creation. All the other composers in the Musik-Konzepte series appear with their portraits on the cover. Scelsi appears with the line under the circle.

The journeyman artist wants to express himself. The brillant artist, in addition to that, searches for new modes of expression. The genius, in addition to that, tries to connect with the world. The hyper-genius, in addition to that, tries to connect with the universe. The (hyper-) genius wants to initiate a transformation. He wants to transform material into something new and, in doing so, exposing the core of the subject. It might well be that before his inner eye the (hyper-) genius sees a field of intensity and now wants to initiate a transformation on that field of intensity. He wants to turn the field of intensity inside out, he thinks he will then, in seeing what´s behind it, see what´s at the core of it. That´s what his main activity is. Count Scelsi turned the intensity of sound inside out. The sound now reached infinity. It became the universe.

My favorite record dealer, Gramola am Graben, told me that only once in some years someone comes around and asks for a Scelsi record. #trigger People would say Scelsi is strange, and scary. Yet Scelsi was very healthy, and normal. It´s people who are strange and scary.

Galina Ustvolskaya

I like Galina Ustvolskaya because she is idiosyncratic and unique. Meanwhile I even find beauty in her compositions. Not an avant-gardist but a loner who initiates a transformation on art itself; a holistic mind, camera-shy, reclusive, uncommunicative, a genius. The great man vs the great artist/mind does not revolve exclusively around art, he primarily revolves around humanity about which he is deeply concerned and empathetic, he wants to find a new solution for humanity, therefore it is necessary to dive into humanity and art and then to initiate a transformation, from the inside out, and art is the medium of expression of the solution he comes up with. The greatest of man is he who carries a sense of responsibility for the cosmos. A deeply spiritual person, like Galina. She was the favorite pupil of Shostakovich. Grandiose were her initial compositions. Difficult to bear seems to be her mature work. You seem to find yourself in the wasteland, as screams out of a black hole, screams into space it has been categorized; exemplified in the second symphony you have the tormented creature, alone in the dark, in confusion, in an environment which is not even uncanny but inherently glueless, crying out for God; more specifically you seem to have the quantum foam of existence, archaic movements emerging from the primal ground, singularities, expression of forces which are older than the subject, the ego, which precede consciousness, where there is no difference between the criminal and the saint, they are not distinguished yet, proto-embryonic, innocent, pure, blind, the meta level of gloom, primal scream, you have proto-subjective movements of fluxes who try to connect to each other, to form a unity, prone to failure, as you also have it in the art of Beckett (Comment C´est) or in the music of Swans or in the paintings of Francis Bacon; people who understand existence at such a level are good people; the music of Galina offers no solutions, no resolutions, no catharsis, there is no harmony, there are no spheres. Yet you find out that there is much more glory in that like, for instance, in the final movement of Beethoven`s Ninth as you comprehend that it is the duty of you, and your personal melody, to establish the spheres, to create harmony, and you do so in being kind. And basically, what you have in the music of Galina is birth, not death. I have read somewhere that Galina used to admire Gogol, for his language being unique. Alas, also with Gogol you are under the impression someone let language dash into itself, resulting in enormous intensity and plasticity, as well as his vision of humanity a result of dashing into itself, misfortunately, Dead Souls is the most hellish and nightmarish vision of humanity anyone ever created, no wonder Gogol had frequent meltdowns and snapped over. Since I am the new Gogol I think I would have had a good channel to Galina, yet, as Turbonegro sing, all my friends are dead.

Worte Bhagwans

… Jenseits der vierten Stufe des universalen Verstandes gibt es noch die fünfte Stufe, die letzte, wenn du sogar über den universalen Verstand hinausgehst. Denn auch nur zu denken, dass es der universale Verstand ist, ist denken. Gewisse Ideen vom Individuum und vom Universum bleiben noch in dir zurück. Du bist dir noch bewusst, dass du bist eins bist mit dem Ganzen, aber du bist und du bist eins mit dem Ganzen. Die Einheit ist noch nicht total, sie ist nicht vollendet, sie ist nicht endgültig. Wenn die Einheit wirklich endgültig ist, dann gibt es nicht Individuelles, nichts Universales. Das ist der fünfte Verstand: Christusverstand … Du bist zum ersten Mal ein Sein, Werden gibt es nicht mehr. Der Mensch ist über sich hinausgegangen, die Brücke gibt es nicht mehr … Alles ist vergangen, der Alptraum ist zu Ende.

Der Mensch ist ein Werden. Mit dem Entstehen des fünften Verstandes, des Buddhaverstandes, des Christusverstandes, wird der Mensch zu einem Sein. Dann ist der Mensch nicht mehr Mensch, da der Mensch nicht mehr Verstand ist. Dann ist der Mensch Gott. Und nur das kann erfüllend sein, sonst nichts. Und gib dich nicht zufrieden mit etwas Geringerem!

… Im Osten haben die Menschen sehr, sehr fragmentarische Egos, und sie halten es für leicht, sich hinzugeben … Ein Fingerschnippen, und sie sind bereit, sich hinzugeben – aber ihre Hingabe geht nie sehr tief … Genau das Gegenteil ist im Westen der Fall. Die Leute, die aus dem Westen kommen, haben sehr starke und entwickelte Egos … Der bloße Gedanke an Hingabe wirkt abstoßend, erniedrigend auf sie. Aber das Paradox ist, dass wenn sich ein westlicher Mensch, Mann oder Frau, hingibt, die Hingabe wirklich tief geht …

… Und es gibt Mondsüchtige, die immer nur nach dem Weitentferntem, dem Entlegenen suchen, und sie bewegen sich immer nur in der Einbildung. Große Dichter, einbildungsstarke Menschen – ihr ganzes Ego ist ins Werden verstrickt. Einer ist da, der Gott werden will – der Mystiker…

… Ein Buddha ist einer, der in die Erfahrungen des Lebens, ins Feuer des Lebens, in die Hölle des Lebens eingetaucht ist und sein Ego zu seiner höchsten Möglichkeit, zum äußersten Höchstmaß ausgereift hat. Und genau in dem Moment fällt das Ego und verschwindet.

Es gibt sieben Türen. Wenn das Ego vollkommen ist, sind all diese sieben Türen durchschritten worden. Danach fällt das reife Ego ganz von allein. Das Kind ist vor diesen sieben Egos, und der Buddha ist hinter diesen sieben Egos. Es ist ein vollendeter Kreis.


UPDATE 01242017 How East and West Think in Profoundly Different Ways