'Louder Than Words' - album track notes
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Louder than Words
An ‘Embryo Song’, evoking the images in Blake’s earlier works of infant joy bursting forth into the world. Bearing with it the potential for creative action, its urge to break out and drive change. As well as the seeds of progression and growth towards escape from the bounds of our apparent physical, logical, even geometrical limitations.
Form and Substance
Blake, as apprentice engraver, forced in some sense to subjugate his artistic and imaginative drive and passion to the practicalities of the technology of the time. Wheels and plates and presses. A conflict for someone so determined to break free from the constraints of technology and industry, that he saw in their worst form as oppressing the human spirit. In spite of the gnawing self-doubt of the outsider his own unique methods of combining hand etched ‘reverse image’ text with his extraordinary graphic images are the glorious synthesis…
“Oh! why was I born with a different face? why was I not born like the rest of my race?
When I look, each one starts! when I speak, I offend; then I'm silent and passive and lose every friend.
Then my verse I dishonour, my pictures despise, my person degrade and my temper chastise;
and the pen is my terror, the pencil my shame; all my talents I bury, and dead is my fame.
I'm either too low or too highly prized; when elate I'm envy'd, when meek I'm despis'd”
One of Blake's friends showed up at his house in Lambeth. At the end of the garden was a small summer house. There he found Blake and his wife Catherine sitting naked together. “Come in!” cried Blake; “it’s only Adam and Eve you know!”. He and Catherine had been reading Milton's Paradise Lost together and were simply setting the mood for a scene in the Garden of Eden... Blake’s beliefs about life, joy, love and sexuality were remarkably modern for the late 18th Century. And perhaps illustrative of his personal ideal of Innocence…?
William Blake ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’
"Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate are necessary to Human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good & Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell.”
Suzi: It occurred to me that this track could be a reflection of this theme - the "hell" of the frenetic riff, contrasted but combined with the "heaven" of the intervening parts…
Jeremy: The words carry the concept into the often conflicted and difficult mental world of great creative minds – musicians and others. Where pain and bliss collide and fuse, and great works emerge. Blake observed that in Paradise Lost, all the best parts were about Hell and Satan, saying that Milton was “of the Devil's party without knowing it”
The eagle eyed will also find references to a late great poet/musician who took much inspiration from Blake’s works… his inspiration flowing freely forwards and backwards in Time.
“The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it”
"Maybe you could call us erotic politicians. We're a rock'n'roll band, a blues band, just a band, but that's not all. A Doors concert is a public meeting called by us for a special kind of dramatic discussion and entertainment.”
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.“
William Blake, from ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’
The etymology of Calypso's name is from καλύπτω (kalyptō), meaning "to cover", "to conceal", "to hide", or "to deceive"
Rule of Reason
A menacing evocation of the negative conflicts in Blake’s life. The accusations of sedition levelled against him, and his anger at the progressive dominance of the mechanical and 'reason' over Art and the Imagination… His own determination and his exhortation to Humanity to resist the forces – within and without - that seek to hold back or imprison the divine Human Spirit. Social mores, organised religion, standards and rules for Art set by others…
"Damn, braces: Bless relaxes"
Suzi: Taking its title from one of Blake's 'Proverbs Of Hell', this instrumental track takes the Heaven/Hell, brace/relax, analogies and presents them in musical terms; one section being 13/8, an odd time signature that creates tension, while the other section is 6/8, and much more relaxed. The two elements combine to create an uneasy 'marriage of heaven and hell'.
Jeremy: A musical representation of the two ‘contrary states’: of excitation and energy; and of ‘Beulah’, a pastoral state of quietude and contemplation. A sojourn in ‘Beulah’ may be salutary to the human soul - so long as our powers of energy and rebellion do not succumb entirely to its passive state. Quite literally a ‘tender trap’ for the human soul.
Beulah, originally Hebrew בְּעוּלָה (bÿ'ulah, traditionally transliterated “Beulah” /ˈbjuːlə/, that means: 'married' or 'espoused' ) is 'the realm of the Subconscious, the source of poetic inspiration and of dreams.'  It is also, according to Blake scholar Alexander S. Gourlay, 'a dreamy paradise where the sexes, though divided, blissfully converse in shameless selflessness. Beulah is available through dreams and visions to those in Ulro, the utterly fallen world.'  Between Eternity and Ulro, it is imagined as a place without conflict similar to a conventional image of heaven or Eternity. However, for Blake, the idea of an everlasting peaceful Eternity is misguided and fallen.
Orc and Luvah
Blake believed that individuals must find their own way; create & follow their own ’System’… “I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.”
Our lives need to be perpetually in movement and pursuit of change lest they fall into stagnation and submission. “Expect poison from the standing water”. If Urizen is ‘your reason’ and Orc the rebellious youthful spirit, the two are in a creative tension, but the synthesis of this conflict is Orc’s transformation to Luvah – The Rebel quality transmuted to Love... “it is only when Urizen stops fighting Orc that Orc is able to become Luvah”.
In Blakean iconography, the woman is Vala, the Emanation or female portion of Luvah, the eastern Zoa of Love. Luvah and Vala are associated with the art of Music because it rouses the passions; their element is Fire. Vala is the embodiment of nature, and represents, on one hand, the irresistibility of natural beauty (the feminine qualities) — and on the other hand, the danger and delusion implicit in nature (as the projection of matter). In Blake's mythology, Vala is the cause of Albion's fall, seducing him in Beulah and then giving birth to Urizen, the first-born child of the realm of Generation.
City of Art
Blake’s vision of `Golgonooza' - the City of Art that he perceived as the heritage of Humankind at last released from its many bonds - rules, controls and reason - and perhaps harnessing them in a form of creative integration. Where Eternal Time and Infinite Space are brought within Human reach. Thereby achieving the mastery of Time and Space that our divine Imagination – the source of Creation and Creative Power – offers to those who choose. Those who choose to go on choosing.
Blake’s faith in a life beyond the physical and mortal was given substance by visions of his dead brother… “Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate.”
To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's.
I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.
No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.
Great things are done when men and mountains meet.