Lovecraft, Grant, and Babalith’s Nightside of Eden: an Interview with André Consciência

Babalith is the amazing dark experimental sound project from André Consciência, one of the most active members of the New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult based in the countryside of Portugal, who recently released a CD on the Sombre Soniks label entitled Nightside of Eden, that features tracks influenced by one of the greatest occultist practitioners of the 20th Century, Kenneth Grant. Not only was Grant the leader of the Typhonian O.T.O., but he was also a clever author of many fiction works, and a self-proclaimed avid fan of H. P. Lovecraft, which is definitely reflected in his writing. André and I thought, in light of this, that it would be prudent to expound upon the ways in which Grant, Lovecraft, Italian Futurism, Occultism and related Fortean Studies come into play within the dark masterpieces of music he produces under the Bablith moniker. I sent André a series of questions to highlight how these elements permeate his latest release, and got some deliciously intense and exciting responses to share with you (the true cultists):

If you have read any other of Seesar’s highlights of New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult members, you won’t be surprised by some of the “standard” questions I pose. Happily, so far, each response has been interestingly different, and Consciência’s answer to how Lovecraft influences his work is no exception: “I like to see Babalith as the other side of some magic mirror. I do not see Babalith as an author that follows another author. When Babalith emerged, I didn’t even know what I was doing. I was just experimenting without any technique or pre-known theme, and trying to see the style and kind of cultural side on which I would land. That being said, I knew of and was inspired by H. P. Lovecraft before starting this adventure. For countless obvious reasons, I identified with him. As a child, I only drew abominable monsters from other worlds. Their appearance was beyond any kind of known forms, and this actually worried my parents.” [Seesar note: I know this one first hand! 🙂 ] “I also always thought that our current language was just the tip of an iceberg, both in terms of words and on the physical level. I was obsessed about it. At some point, I invented a new language with strange glyphs, and I still have these books I wrote in my possession.” [Oooo! I did this, too! Wrote my diary in glyphs and wrote little juvenile Lovecraftian stories, too! Fun! I don’t have the diaries anymore, though. Hope some archeologist in the future digs them up and tries to decipher them. It wasn’t all in English, either. Fun times for the archeologist!]

“I joined the Horus Maat Lodge because of its concept of Double Conscience. I was also always haunted by very vivid and horrific dreams concerning things unknown. This being said, after I met Lovecraft’s works, I could only respect them and love them. I am a writer and a practicing student of the occult. I heard of Lovecraft first through his grimoire, and then, when I was researching writing techniques, I got to a manual of his on how to write horror stories. It was only afterwards that I brought myself to read his works on a literary sense, and also his letters, where he presents himself as an especially wise rationalist and an atheist. But before I was deep into Lovecraft’s literary work, I was already a student at the Typhonian O.T.O. founded by Kenneth Grant, the secretary of the magician and philosopher Aleister Crowley. The Typhonian O.T.O. was intensely inspired by Lovecraft’s Mythos and tried successfully to form a theological system out of it. Actually, Lovecraft and Grant are very different. [Very true, but very parallel and connected as well, which André senses and utilizes extremely well, I might add.] I feel like Lovecraft brings people into sanity and to a wider consciousness of our surroundings, his stories are red beacons and leave us to think and wonder, while Kenneth Grant plays with insanity and obscurantism in order to turn off reason and consciousness and put something else on its place. He speaks as an academic would, and lies openly while doing it, and his Pythagoras mathematics are so dense that they draw in all the efforts from reason, then trapping logic and shutting it off, creating a kind of trance and a creative, hallucinatory state of mind. Grant is like an agent of that against which Lovecraft warned us, and I wanted to meet that against which Lovecraft warned us face to face before I made up my mind.”

How does all this relate to Nightside of Eden, the new release? André said, “Nightside of Eden is not my first album related to Grant’s themes, there’s also Flute of LAM, but the Nightside comes about because of my experiences with both the Typhonian O.T.O. and a pylon of the Temple of Set. I do not encourage engagement with any of the two organizations, yet the homage is well deserved, as I found important things [related to extremely] complex Lovecraft-inspired systems of magick – adding to it something of the Order of the Nine Angles -, one [aspect] was that insanity couldn’t really taint my soul and that I could go in and out of its claws with my bigger claws, and the other [aspect], mostly with Grant’s practices, is that I deepened my knowledge of sexual magic and it’s states of trance. Once you dive into Kenneth Grant’s methods there is no [sizeable] space left for known territory, and after all, to move without a map is one of the deepest mysteries of the magic of sex. That being said, the album and its titles are inspired by the text Nightside of Eden by Kenneth Grant, but it’s flux comes from working with my partner.”

In my opinion, André in general, and especially in the Babalith project, engages the sonic sensibilities of the Italian Futurist movement. When I asked about this, it seems I was somewhat correct: “Again, it’s not that I got my ideas from Italian Futurism, as I only met it as such after I became Babalith. Actually, Babalith started as a writer and an aspirant philospher. She tried to reinvent language through tonalism, and writing through cubism. Also, she replaced our spot at the center of the world with the experience of animism. As animism vivifies everything, all objects and technology eventually overpower our present sense of nature and humanity. It is the final triumph of the poet over nature. But how could one do that without going through a certain amount of nihilism? And then, when we attempt to eclipse our past, will we not find it ahead? Thus, a feeling of being haunted and a curiosity to meet the ghost ahead.

“Speaking technically, do I not use all of the classified noises [discussed within] the Art of Noises [Seesar’s note: this is the manifesto put forth by Futurist Luigi Russolo outlining timbres and sonic textures to employ when writing and performing experimental (Futurist) music.]? My instincts led me there. When that meets the Lovecraft imaginary, it only makes sense to join The Art of Eldritch Noise [the first full release by members of the New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult].” Here’s one of Babalith’s collaborative tracks on the release:

As always, because I liken the study of Fortean studies to be related to Lovecraftian horror, I like to find out if other artists incorporate or are influenced by UFOlogy, Cryptozoology, Pagan practices, et cetera. Here’s what André has to say about it: “You can find pagan references in all of Babalith’s releases, and a certain kind of scientific cosmogony that leads indirectly to UFOlogy. I also have titles like the Mothman that lead to cryptozoology [Seesar’s note: and also UFOlogy – see John Keel’s Mothman Prophecies, for a great example] and from the time I [create] grimoire-based releases; I am [certainly] influenced by the paranormal, when you consider the paranormal to be that which hasn’t been proved by science. Why? I find pagan imagery attached to natural forces, and we lack [that for the most], not as in a need for regression to the past, but as an integration of transpersonal natural forces in the future. This also goes for cryptozoology and its shamanic symbology. In relation to the paranormal, my consideration for it goes as far as Kant’s, regarding metaphysics. Imagination must be one step ahead of that which can be proved, or it won’t be able to function properly and as a living thing.

“Babalith has a title called The Alien, on [the CD] Huni Kui , and it explains my stance on UFOlogy, similar to that of Terrence Mckeena; from a cosmic point of view, UFOlogy can be seen has a representative of animism throughout our awareness of space in its depths.

“Mostly, Babalith is a means to stimulate imagination in the places where it sleeps, and the senses where they lack being touched, generating a wider awareness, but it is not a manifestation against logic, reason or science.”

How does this all fit into the creating the latest release? “The [making of] Nightside of Eden had a unique process. I induced myself to trance through sex magick and went to pull the album out of deep waters. The first thing I did to anchor it on the surface was the cover, where my partner, Eunice Correia, who also participates doing vocals, is featured as a piece of art. Next, I understood the concept: it was to be a vehicle to cross the Negative; I wanted to relate Adam to the Sun and Eve to the night. The Sun is the Song and it penetrates Eve, the Nightside of Eden, as the midnight sun. Then I went through the illustrations in the book [Kenneth Grant’s Nightside of Eden] and decided on the titles for the tracks. I finally proceeded to close my eyes and listen to the respective musics in my head. Next I captured the necessary sounds on my recorder, worked them out, and composed the tracks, adding some synths. It was done in a week, while the embers from the magical operation were still hot.” [Seesar’s note: Sleep Chamber is another project, headed up by Bostonian music and practitioner John Zweiss, that delves deeply into sex magic and trace ritual to create some of their releases, Whilst Babalith’s Nightside of Eden is unique and decidedly different from any Sleep Chamber efforts, I would also say that there is a distinct parallel that would thrill any Sleep Chamber fan or fan of other similar projects, such as Psychick TV, of recent ritual or magick related works, such as many of Acoustik Timbre Frekuency’s CDs, for example.]

I was curious to hear about what instrumentation and recording production Consciência used to create the music on Nightside of Eden: “I use whatever comes to hand. Many objects; some standard instruments, both acoustic and electrical; abandoned buildings; VST’s and programming; my voice; sound manipulation; mixers; drone machines; etc. I made some of my instruments. I turned an oil lamp into a flute, created a marimba out of dog bones, and a flute out of a sheep’s skull. I turned my vacuum cleaner into a musical instrument, too [Seesar’s note: I did this, too, on the first episode of Dread Falls Theatre’s Father Dagon podcast… 🙂 ], and use many traditional instruments in ways few would try. {which is why I love André’s music so much!] What makes the sounds from the instruments I build special to me, is my sense of sacredness when I touch them, but I don’t mind using anything, really; it all becomes special after it goes into the fiery cauldron of creativity. I do not truly need to go out of my way to have an instrument doing the sound I require, give me a computer, a recorder, and I can make any sound happen once another sound is recorded. But I may go out of my way for pleasure or ritual proposes, as on [the release] Grimoire, where I got to use planetary metals and the elements of nature.”

In relation to Nightside of Eden, specifically: “I could go deeply into each track, what it refers to, and why the tracks are ordered the way they are, but I won’t. What I really want to ask of the reader, is for him/her to place a mirror on the floor, a lit candle behind it, close the doors, turn off the lights, close the shutters, sit comfortably, and listen from the beginning to the end, while gazing at the light that is veiled.”

Moving on to the New Leaders a bit, I asked André about what his favourite Eldritch Cult artists and what he wants to do with them in the future: “I have been following the work of Andrew Page [raxil4, who was integral providing sonic soundscapes for Dread Falls Theatre’s immersive performances of Father Dagon and I highly, highly recommend checking out his work.] for many years now, and even got him the chance to come play at Portugal once, for my festival Snow-Black. His work has been a familiar and immersive presence to my ears and to my artistic sensibility. I also enjoy greatly the work of Seesar and have paid the project homage via one of the tracks on Grimoire, The Fire Principle.” [I’m greatly honored by this! I definitely quite enjoyed this track, and I relish it! Cheers!]

“Besides what I am already doing, I would like to either write a script for an audioplay/text for an audiobook, or to compose the soundscape for one. [which is very exciting!] Also, I would like to work with Seesar, but this is to be since before the New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult were formed. [again, I’m honored!] I want to work with the Necronomicon with Seesar, and to add to it an immense variation of techniques and crazy instruments, plus my expertise on the ritual aspects.

“The New Leaders of the Eldritch Cult is a very young project and it is already winning its space in the realms of success. I know Babalith expanded her audience with this project and is also under the privilege of being listened to, mixed with other experienced musicians from the same spectre of experimental music. The last I checked, the Art of Eldritch Noise was getting [listened to by] everyone, and that means it is also getting [exposure] outside of the dark ambient and experimental scene. Whatever space it wins us outside of our barriers, it will be an honor to be a part of the wave that splashes it.”

And personally, I cannot thank André/Babalith enough for being part of both this fabulous interview and a New Leader of the Eldritch Cult! It is his drive, passion, sensitivity, outlooks, and means of musical conjuration that fuels this conglomerate of Lovecraftian Futurists. He tells me that Nightside of Eden was not particularly intended to be a New Leaders based collection of tracks, but by all standards, I can truly say that it clearly fits solidly within the realm of the creative mission of the collective and will be of great listening pleasure and interest to all who enjoy the dark, magickal, and Lovecraft-influences works of sonic exploration!

Listen to or buy Babalith’s Nightside of Eden here. Enjoy!

You can also find out more about Babalith through The Korvus Wiki, Sombre Soniks, YouTube, and the Babalith Bandcamp Page.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field