April 28, 2012

Aoxomoxoa

"Aoxomoxoa" is a palindrome (apparently pronounced "ox-oh-mox-oh-ah") created by psychedelic artist and cartoonist Rick Griffin and the Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter to title the Dead's third album, an interesting footnote considering composer and media-mystic Cosmas de Xam began his project Pwin Teaks to either document or evacuate an entirely healthy obsession with Twin Peaks, only becoming more questionable in that it somehow overlapped with Lynch's most boring (as far as I'm concerned) grotesque, Laura Palmer. The reference in the title is itself interesting for a variety of reasons. The Grateful Dead's Aoxomoxoa was originally a very experimental record; though I haven't heard any of those recordings, I know anecdotally that the final product bore little resemblance to the first, and that it's final form underscored the partnership between Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter. Pwin Teaks' album on the other hand, is without lyrics, spending most of its time in a pair of roughly twenty minute long tape loop and sampled meditations on warp and distortion, the first a thick haze of whirring noise and suspenseful darkness, while the second almost works itself out into recognizable melodies, more or less haunted by the the mingled skeletons of different songs. The  closing track, named for the album or just the palindrome or perhaps even the Grateful Dead album, is a shorter collapsing of the two tones into a singularity, the build towards a crowded jumble of sounds and finally the slow re-emergance of the thread of sanity, gradually more manifest in a simple line of repeated organ tones.

Update: My colleague Joe Miller caught this post Saturday and directed mt to "What's Become of the Baby", a track from the original mix of the Grateful Dead's Aoxomoxoa. Though even for that album the track is a bit of an outlier, twice the length of all but one other track on the album and animated by an extended, heavily distorted croon, the atmosphere and effects resemble the texture of Pwin Teak's album enough to suggest a more tangible connection. Joe summarizes succinctly: "Garcia was on laughing gas in an echo chamber when he made it".

Stream/Download: Pwin Teaks - Aoxomoxoa
Order Aoxomoxoa from Brave Mysteries.

2 comments:

  1. What about "What's Become of the Baby?"

    ReplyDelete
  2. Woah! Found it and from what I'm reading about the original mix, the connection here is probably more significant than I originally imagined.e

    ReplyDelete