"Come with me, come with me. We'll travel to infinity." These were the words and proclamations of The Klaxons, British "new-rave" rockers when they descended upon Brooklyn on the night of September 22nd, 2010. Ascending stars in their home turf of the UK, they won one of Britain's highest musical honors, the Mercury prize in 2007 with their first album, "Myths of the Near Future," the Klaxons are now working their magick in America and the rest of the world on their current tour. They are moving through the cities and towns telling those willing to listen that they have been "Surfing the Void" since their last record and have called their second album that as a testament to prove it.
Jaime Reynolds, lead singer of the group, shared with me some of his visions that went into the record backstage after the show. A number of these visions came to him while journeying with ayahuasca.
"The first time I [drank Ayahuasca] I saw every symbol under the sun and thousands that I had never seen before. It all ended up accumulating in a vision: the Vision of Ezekiel, with the glowing orb at the top of the stairs surrounded by winged beasts circling the bottom of the stair case. I was really enthused by that and I went home and wrote quite a bit of the lyrics for the record. The main thing I got from it, was that I went to that session and I was determined to try and find out the answer for what I should write this record about. And I left there with the feeling that I didn't need to look for anything, and that I already had the knowledge for it. And I needed the experience to tell me that that was how it was, so I couldn't be more grateful for it. The second time I went and surfed the back of a bird for four hours, I couldn't believe it. And then the time after that, I just hung out with a load of reptiles that accumulates with this frog with a crown on its head. And I stopped having visionary experiences, and I was sitting there a bit gutted, thinking that's really what I liked about it."
This vision of Ezekiel that Jaime described to me is, I think, the Vision that is described first in The Book of Ezekiel, the one where Ezekiel saw the face of YHVH, as well as the "Chariot in the Sky." This vision has been of great interest to many UFO researchers who claim that Ezekiel was describing a giant space craft revealing itself to the Old Testament prophet. The possibility that Jaime Reynolds saw a vision like this makes complete sense after watching the Klaxons perform.
The crowd was pulsating as the Klaxons ripped midway through their set at the Williamsburg Music Hall. They slid into an intergalactic groove, invoking the truth that we here on earth are really all just passengers on a giant space ship, moving along invisible angles of orbit and attraction. The back beat left it easy to move in simple seductive steps with my girlfriend standing in front of me. We looked into each other's eyes, smiled and kissed, making out, tongues moving in slow motion, lips coated with a veneer of love and lust, as the music swirled through the air. Just then, the words of their song they were now playing came into focus: "When we're together we come alive / When we organize / Collective Arrival / We share the same space / We feel the same impact on arrival and embrace." These are the lyrics to their song "Same Space," and I had to laugh at the simple grace of such a beautiful syncopation of our actions and their song. I saluted these fellows on stage, standing ground underneath the spotlight as true rock shamans should, letting the energy from the other planets flow through themselves and their instruments, and out to where the people danced. The cipher was indeed complete with my girl and I so connected at this moment, and the band played on.
"I think New-Rave perfectly sums up what we are. I think that kind of spirit of injecting enthusiasm and celebration into music is definitely where we are and who we are," says Jaime.
September 22nd, 2010, was the night of the harvest moon, the first full moon of the autumnal equinox. When the harvest moon manifests in this month it is also known as the Gypsy moon. On my way to the venue, I caught a glimpse of this moon and became transfixed. It shone bright, yellow, and big in the sky. I really couldn't take my gaze away from it, and I began to howl.
This Gypsy moon looked like the moon card in the Tarot deck, a card for the seekers and searchers, traveling by night with only its light to guide them. It is a card for the poets, magicians, and musicians. It is the card that can reveal that either the seeker will get lost in a land of dreamy illusion or, if s(he) can contact his or her internal navigator, can utilize the howling cries of the wolves as a sign. S(he) can listen to these wolves, enter the streaming river and float towards the next stage of inspiration and insight.
The Klaxons, it seems, have been guided by a light much like the moon. They have navigated deep space and plugged their music into it. This is a path many in Rock n' Roll have traveled before, and many of these travelers have crashed their vessels in both glorious and pathetic ways. We live in a new era though, and for those in the position to realize this while also rocking the fuck out, they spark some more light for all of us to go further in our own lives.
About the last time Jaime Reynolds drank Ayahuasca, he had this to say: "It was extremely personal, and all I could think about was family relations, and personal relations, in relation to all the things that have gone on in my life. And what that means to me as a man in this point and time. The last one kinda kicked me into gear. I stopped getting outside information and dug a bit deeper."
The Klaxons are a well-read group of guys. The name of their first album was taken from a short story collection written by JG Ballard. Their widely remixed and crowd-pleasing song "Gravity's Rainbow" is the name of Pynchon's most famous book. While another song title of theirs, "The Isle of Her," draws its influence from a poem by the master 'pataphysician Alfred Jarry.
Jarry is most known for his poetic slant on metaphysics. Jarry called his invention "'Pataphysics" and it was dedicated to going further beyond the confines of that brand of philosophy. It's a parody of the method and theory of modern science and is usually expressed with nonsensical language. Sounds great after a few pints. Jarry describes 'pataphysics simply as, "the science of imaginary solutions."
"I first heard of Alfred Jarry via Paul McCartney, who wrote about him in his autobiography. Jarry's name sorta gets referenced all over the spot. Simon had picked up Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll Pataphysician. Jarry is amazing stuff."
Jaime mentioned one method he uses for lyrical inspiration while reading such great works: "You know, directly lifting and theiving stuff, hehe." Some other artists may dress the technique up, but Jaime was refreshingly blunt about it.
Did I mention that the Klaxons won the Mercury prize for their first record? Oh, I did, huh. Well, did I also mention that Mercury was the Roman mythological equivalent to the Greek god Hermes, who was both the messenger god as well as a trickster god? Did I also tell you that the Klaxons played Brooklyn on a Wednesday, the day of Mercury, or Miercoles?
We got talking of another great trickster, Robert Anton Wilson. "He makes a lot of sense to me. I've read Prometheus Rising recently. That book I find really inspiring on a day-to-day basis. I haven't yet read his bigger texts like The Illuminatus Trilogy! But Principia Discordia is another book I have lifted from as well."
Another writer Jaime is currently impressed with is Daniel Pinchbeck. "I find Daniel's work to be really beautiful and really inspiring. He has thrown himself into what he's doing. I think he absolutely means everything he says. I think he has got some interesting ideas about the past the present and the future. I think he's completely on it, and he's not holding anything back in what he's saying. I think he's rather straight up in what he's saying. I was just really impressed with his book '2012'. I really soaked it up and fell in love with it."
The mission statement of the Klaxons is quite possibly to remind people that we are floating through a vast universe, full of magick and mystery, and we should keep exploring this "void." We should keep expanding while remembering that we stand here on earth in physical bodies which can accomplish great and amazing things, if we learn the ways of communication, communion, and organization. It is a hopeful message.
The last song the Klaxons played that night was called "Interzone to Atlantis," a song that's most deserving of the "New Rave" title. This was the final bit of high energy electro-punk injected into the audience before bidding farewell. The drums laid out in breakbeats, accompanied by acid rave techno sound effects, before the Klaxons all sang in unison, infecting the crowd with the urge to frenetically move in gyrating steps. It was high energy rave punk, and it was the perfect song to end a set with. They exited the stage leaving behind dense reverberating feedback moving like confetti through the air. And the Klaxons were off into the night, surfing a void, sending postcards from infinity.
Image by Man Alive, courtesy of Creative Commons license.