Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mage Music: Magickal Interlude

Take a deep breath of enlightenment...

Mage Music 10: A Magickal Interlude

I turned on the radio while driving home from Colorado last weekend, after getting within range of a decently strong station.  I had forgotten to bring my iPod so was otherwise without music for most of the 12 hour drive as I can’t stand commercial radio, but after this many hours on the road I was getting tired and needed something to keep me going.  As usual I was listening for hints of Mage Music – it’s something I always do, though of course I rarely come across it.  Doesn't mean that the music I hear carries no hint of Magick – it could be there, it’s just that I'm not open to hearing it from those sources.  We all have favorite bands, after all!

Anyway, I'm listening hour after hour to stuff that sounds pretty much the same: That fuzzy, high-gain guitar distortion effect, the vocalists belting out lyrics that are a full stop musically, not meant for more.  Song after song, the music was so much the same that it all ended up being white noise after a while.  Truly - I was hearing the same music no matter what the song and what the band, all of it sounding like it could be one group with one big playlist, some songs marginally better than others at best.

The annoyance factor alone was keeping me awake.

Then, a couple hours into this drek, I heard the first chords of Kashmir.  It was like an electric shock. It was like the whole world stopped and took a cleansing breath.  It was clarity, precision, meaning, all there in one soaring, wide-open, no-fooling around Magickal package.  I felt like the sun had come out when I hadn't realized it was cloudy.  I felt like I could breathe again freely when I hadn't known I had been holding my breath.    I felt emotions loosen that had been wound up tightly, and a crazy grin plastered itself across my face.

I felt like I had been sucker punched in the psyche.  It felt good.

I've always loved Kashmir; even though there's no extensive Jimmy Page solos in it.  Still, the melody is based on Mr. Page’s unique and immediately identifiable chord progression, a riff so gripping that it entrances and practically pries open the soul of the willing listener to the Magick.  A riff so powerful, too, that it has been adopted by other guitarists who play it in their own songs, never realizing that that the Magick isn’t in the notes but in the soul of the Mage who conjures the music.

Physical Graffiti
album cover
I've always felt Kashmir is Led Zeppelin's best work ever, and an example of a Mage Musician's work beyond the guitar - precise and incredibly powerful orchestration and production that supports the higher-level content above the notes to produce music that is On Purpose.  Led Zeppelin expert Dave Lewis describes Kashmir as “the finest example of the sheer majesty of Zeppelin's special chemistry”.  [Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin (1994)]

"Let me take you there. Let me take you there..." Robert Plant sings.  I heard the lyrics totally differently as I drove down the road.  I realized it wasn't an offer to take me to some mythological Shangri-La at all, but rather to a much higher plane. I all but stopped my truck and let myself go.

And then it was over, the silly grin still pasted on my face as the next awful muddle of metal pedal buzz came on.  The ray of light shining through the spiritual cloud of music had been obscured again.  But I had heard.  I had been taken through both time and space for a few moments while driving down the freeway.

Direct links to Kashmir
No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded with the London Metropolitan Orchestra & Hossam Ramzy Ensemble 1994 


  1. It touched me so deeply I wrote a silly little love story:) Not any great thinking novel like "War and Peace" but still Mister Page's music does open my psyche and takes me to a different dimension.

    1. Very cool! And why not? It's a connection to the Universe that is being opened and grabbing some inspiration and enlightenment from it is not only the point, but really, an obligation if you are even opened a little.

      (My opinion, of course)

    2. What a wonderful thing to say to me Lif:) Thank you:) Maybe I will finally be inspired to write that book I have been meaning to write for years:)

    3. Oh Kashmir I remember the first time I heard it. I literally stopped in my tracks; I hadn't purchased the record yet so was first introduced to the song at a large out door BBQ, sweltering summer heat in Iowa, the sun beautiful but very hot. I remember it like it was yesterday - I knew without any hesitation it was Jimmy Page Zeppelin. I fell into a daze standing in the middle of this otherwise large group of people. I could hear nothing but the music. I left the party and went and bought the record. Its very hard for me to choose a favorite piece of work but this is truly a masterpiece.

    4. My favorite, played by Sir Page open strung clashing between the scales in such repetition and modal conflict