The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Lucifer Rising, A Film by Kenneth Anger
~reviewed by Kirin
Things have a way of coming unburied.
Take, for instance, the Liberty Bell 7, retrieved from the ocean 38 years almost to the day, from when it went down. On July 21, 1961, the Liberty Bell 7 went down, and astronaut Gus Grissom survived. The craft was brought to the surface on July 20, 1999. Gus Grissom did not live to see it raised. Ironically, he died in a fire on the Apollo launch-pad six years after his crash at sea, not in the water that had swallowed the Liberty Bell 7. That year, 1967, the first strains of this soundtrack were set into motion.
The soundtrack, and these recordings too, have had a life of liftoffs, crash landings, burials in dark waters; discoverers traversing the depths to bring them up again, and perhaps, eventually a resur-rection by fire. It might even be well argued that the man behind the sounds has travelled the same or similar paths. Travails. The labor of childbirth.
Without retelling the entire wonderfully written liner notes, I will make a skeletal recapitulation here: 1967 found Bobby BeauSoleil in San Francisco, where he met filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who was working on the film “Lucifer Rising”. Bobby was to star in the film (as Lucifer,) and write the soundtrack. Life happened, and 1969 found Bobby headed to Los Angeles, and Kenneth Anger headed to London. For all intents and purposes, the project had crash landed. The dark waters rushed in.
Bobby BeauSoleil though, did not give up on, nor did he forget about the project. He did, how-ever, have to remember it from a jail cell, facing a life sentence and in truth, what most people would consider a hopeless situation. Rather than collapsing under the weight, BeauSoleil formed The Freedom Orchestra in prison, and from the years 1977-79, recorded the soundtrack found on the first disc of this set.
Listen to this disc, and think about the fact that it was made on a budget of $3,000.00, in a studio built from scratch. In prison. Facing a life sentence. It is not possible to hear this music and not be deeply moved by these facts.
In 1980, due to the unrelenting spirit of Bobby BeauSoleil, the film and BeauSoleil’s soundtrack for “Lucifer Rising” were experienced together for the first time at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
When I hear this music, when I sit with it, when I let it sink in, it almost always leads to weeping. And then, eventually, to laughter. I know of the recordings that came after. Of the spirit of this man that flies, that soars, that neither began nor ended with these recordings, and cannot be defined only by them. This work is beyond words, but if it moves you, please, for the sake of your heart, and your mind, and your ears, seek out his other recordings as well. (You will find a little sampling of them on Disc 2.)
Even if you happen to have previous recordings of this soundtrack, this particular one is special. Maybe because, like the Liberty Bell 7, it is nearly 38 years to the summer, when the Lucifer Rising project sank. This summer, it is raised again.
Furthermore, the treatment of the project by Arcanum Entertainment is stupendous. The packaging is fantastic and the liner notes extremely well-written. There could be no tribute better to Bobby BeauSoleil, than a re-release so beautifully befitting as this one. Except perhaps, his physical freedom. That would be a Jubilee, indeed.
Also, I might add, the works have been remastered by one of the wizards of recording studio technology, (the George Martin of the Apocalypse?) Robert Fer-brache. Some of you may recognise his name if you are a fan of Blood Axis, Human Head Transplant, Soul Merchants, or Changes. His touch adds to this material yet another layer of beauty, irony, and serendipity. Another indomitable free spirit adds to the flame.
Really though, besides all my caterwauling about one thing and another, this music, these sounds, to this day, have no real peers, and can have no com-parisons drawn. They are an entity, a legacy, and a landscape unto themselves. They have to be heard to be known. It is not possible for me to simply tell you. You must hear them for yourself and feel your heart be lifted. The dregs of the past, the disappointments, the crashes, the burns, the dark waters roiling in... all of it is left behind. The Earth grows small as you rise. The Light lifts, it burns, it cleanses, it makes new again. Come with it. Hear for your self. Make these recordings, your own.
Disc Two: Lucifer Rising Sessions
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