Studio Project    Who Are The One You Want To Be 

Image: Thanka, purchased in Kathmandu 1999

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About Being (Dead)
(In English so Edyta can read it)


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Tamos once gave me an image of a Buddhist deity for my birthday. I must admit, I never found out who it was, but it's on my living room wall ever since. I once used it as a sujet for a New Year's greeting together with a photograph of a Soviet microphone I bought the Christmas before. The images seem to fit together, the deity seems to be smiling at the microphone, which of course is a a fountain of joy for me, as is every microphone. I capture wind with them and the winds sound different every time. Even when listening. What an invention, the microphone.


Who Is The One You Want To Be
Parts for Polish Translation:
I am really here
I am not fog and not a crack in your spectacles
I am all this
One, the other one and the third
Don't try to hold your breath
It's gone anyway
Yes I am here in colour
I am here to hold your heart
The other one, you might not have noticed
Your heart does not have to sink
I will hold it for you!
Yes I am here in colour
The colours so bright
Shiny brightness is all around me
A diamond way
I am here to hold your throat
My gentle hands will hold your throat
My massage will help you gain your speech
Push out the lumps from the fumes you took
I will hold your throat for you!
Yes I am sometimes blue
Sometimes red, yellow, green
A colour for every direction
Same as tastes but many more like these
I am here to hold your brain
The one that has been a secret from you
I'm going to teach you to drive your brain
And while I do so I will hold your brain safely
Your sunshine brain!
Look at my ship
It's sails so vast
Yes, human skin and some of other creatures
Coverings these will never need again
Your hide may be among these patches
Skin you will never need again
Like the cow's skins you played your music on
I am knowledge
I am wit
I am love
I am the ever gentle hands
That hold your heart
That hold your throat
That hold your brain
And while I do so
Look me in the eye
I am this one
And the other one too
The third one I am too
We are three
We are one
A union of three sisters
Thousands of sisters
That became three
We are one, you see


Who Is The One You Want To Be   Version 13B
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The Bardo Thödol in Music
Let us take a deep breath and dive into the abyss of the Bardo Thödol. Not really a big fat book in itself, if ever all pieces were actually found and placed together as a whole for the world to read. But more so are the comments extensive, the written illustrations that might be missing in the original, therefore supplied by the many that had from the western viewpoint studied the Bardo Thödol, and had tried to ease our pilgrimage of the Tibetan mystics, particulary for us westerners. Some of these texts surely are quite confusing.
And this here: a rock song of a sort. Just as noisy as Tibetan music and – as I am informed – the same sort of row. Tibetan music is often orchestrated to accustom you to the commotion in the netherworld. It should not disturb you, nor distract you. It seems to be quite natural noise. Perhaps I should do something about the rock character to achieve a different coloration, not that of the heavier part of the hit parade.

I'm not really a bassist. Once again: I am close to nothing, just an admirer of the many dots Schubert and Beethoven left for us. And the Beatles. I asked Tom Pletscher to play bass. Which worked out for the main part. As there was too little to hold on to in the "Polish" part, I removed the bass line there and added some Oberheim Matrix-1000. And, while I was at it, a bit of a boost from the Oberheim in the bass track too, to make Tom's Bass even more alarming in the rockier part of the tune. Lot's of sizzling synthesizers. The weight of the synth sounds and the rock hard bass remind me of Richard (my old friend now in the other world or back again) once tripping on acid and lighting a fire on a rocky part of the side of a lake in Austria. Somehow the rock got so hot that it burst. It's no wonder the bass track breathes at me through the Genelec speakers. It's as mighty a bass line as a book can be a good book.
The Thanka I used for the top image is one I purchased in a gallery in Kathmandu during a Hare Krishna pilgrimage 1999. That was close to the bus stop when we came back from Muktinath. That was a few hours spent in a wobbly bus on a winding road and I got really sick. I organized a plastic bottle that I cut in two to use to vomit into during the long bus ride. I could avoid this until we arrived and all got out, luckily I threw up outside the bus seconds after we came to a halt very close to the gallery. I returned to the spot a few days later, had borrowed some money and bought a few thankas. Irresistible: Images of deities and wool from Tirol.

Delays and Twists in a Strange World

So if a deity would dance before you and talk to you, what would it sound like? Would you understand a word? Would it perhaps sound like announcements at the airport in Warsaw? I don't know, I have never been there. I suppose I have been to the Bardo often enough. I can imagine that the words of a deity in the bardo, a beautiful goddess, hardly perceivable by mortal eyes, might be distorted, delayed, running front to back. And in a language that is alien. Edyta Augustynowicz translated my lyrics into Polish and we recorded that. It sounded nice but was trodden on by the rumblings and roarings of the music, so I took to various delays to even things out. Sometimes it may sound like a robotic voice from a Polish techno track, very dark, threatening. But after a while the soul calmes down and her fine voice returns to her natural state. I still don't understand a word. Perhaps I should paint the deity, a cosmic dancer.

My Unearthly Kitchen

Sampling is a dangerous thing. It's easy to make a drum loop, or any other loop and send this in circles forever, something I never liked. I hadn't sampled for years. I had used the very first Emax that came out after the Emulator's grand success and that was still was quite expensive. That was 12 Bit something Kiloherz and it sounded like that. Quite scratchy. It was not too long ago that I purchased an Akai s6000 because it's such an impressive looking box (I love hardware) – and it sounds good. The s6000 has a USB connection (if you have installed the USB card), that means I can keep all my samples safe externally. In this case I prepared high resolution recordings of various utensils I have in my kitchen using a Sennheiser MKH416 and Apple Logic. It's quite amazing what you can do with a few empty tins when transposed downward on the Keyboard. Same goes for my voice.

The other world. What does it sound like? According to the Bardo Thödol you might be facing a wall of terrible noise, as is often illustrated in Tibetean music, the clamour of cymbals, bells and trumpets. What does the murmor of a dragon sound like? The sound of a speaking mountain? My own voice, sampled and transposed is the audio here that simulates a dragon or mountain. Thanks to sampling cymbals can be played in different keys. And furthermore the detuned blare of temple trumpets here are three trumpets in one. Recording each trumpet on an Akai Dr4d on four tracks, running them in a stereo mix into the Akai s6000 results in the desired clamour. Writing this down, the sampled microphone stand will serve as one more tuned gong. Means, the samples are done but the actual recording of the track not yet.
The other sounds came from a Oberheim Matrix-1000, one deep sounding voice like sound to fatten the already broad sound of Mr. Pletscher's bass and another one to simulate the howling winds in the Bardo (if there is such a thing there ...). Good question. Is there wind in the Bardo? If wind, what kind of wind? There must be wind, as only in Nirwana is there the state of no-wind. It must be carmic wind, I suppose. Is there any other wind than carmic wind? Any motion has a reason. This reason sets karma in motion, something starts moving and brews up more karma. You can't stop karma by not moving. Perhaps you could try not to breathe. Hold your breath! Life is too exciting to think about breathing. If not, why not? What's wrong? Stuck in a golden cage?


This is a beautiful place, a bridge next to "Wegerl im Helenental". Beethoven must have crossed this bridge often to walk there. We will cross our bridge. Whereever we may go. It could might as well be a bright sunshine day. And someone might hold our heart, our neck and our brain.

About the Lyrics
Seems to be that some of this is not easy to be understood. Let me illuminate this: This is about having died. The Bardo Thödol is something like a manual to know what to do when you are dead. Of course the best thing to do is to read the Bardo Thödol carefully while you are still alive. The really good thing to do, as is practiced in Tibet, is to have it read aloud to your corpse while your etheral body is still connected and can still hear life on Earth talking to you. At the other side of all this here, from the place you are being dead, you can't communicate with the people you have left behind. It's all just one way. You can hear the survivers wailing, but they can't hear you. It's a one way intercom only. What a dirty trick.
First of all, it could well be that you can't take what you are confronted with. All this is sending you bonkers, the lights, the visions, the music and noise. Accustomed to everyday life and it's desires you may (hopefully not) miss your chance for enlightenment and sink downwards towards a more and more dense environment that is slowly pulling you towards reincarnation.
Being reborn among the Gods is nice, but that too is limited, they too die. But coming back to Earth as a human or – God forbid – an animal can be quite awful. For this reason you are confronted with the pleasant spirits, and if this doesn't work out you get the wrathful ones. What this piece of music is about is the last day with the nice ones. There are certain mandala-like visions to recieve, and here is an interesting aspect to this: None of this exists and everything you experience ist merely your own projection, the Gods and the Demons. I think quite a few Hindus won't go with that. Let's go on: Here is your last chance with the nice ones helping you out while all you are being is dazed and confused. These are the spirits of wisdom and science. Mind you, some have quite a fierce appearance. They sit in boats that have sails of skin and could scare the hell out of you (how convenient).
So you get to see the Devas (Gods) that have always been around you. A spirit that cares for your heart, the place your emotions meet and mingle. These emotions could lead you to distruction, someone does have to push the right buttons when things get out of hand. I suppose most of the time we don't notice and refer to this as having been lucky.
There's another chakra at your throat, another deity is sent to take care of that. And another one is on the spot for your brain, your thoughts and the balance you need in life (before and after). Let me call these three deities three sisters as they belong together. And as things are, comparing this to the Mahavidyas in Hinduism, they are like one. And at the same time three.