Looking For Gold
Much mystery has surrounded the release of the first self-released FUCKED UP 12", "Looking for Gold". Released in two seperate runs of 300 copies to co-incide with short tours that took place from 23-25th September 2004 (Chicago/Columbus/Pittsburgh), and 15-17th November 2004 (Albany/Sherbrooke/Montreal), the record was never repressed and quickly became sought-after by collectors and fuck-heads.
Many have since been able to aquire the music through electronic means.
What has been lost on those unable to own this record are the lyrics, artwork and meaning of the project.
The front and back pieces were commisioned to a local Toronto artist Greg Miller.
The front cover painting is by an 18th century Viennese artist who is now forgotten. It shows a black knight on horseback being chased out of a forest by a cadre of white gods and cherubs, as if to retrieve something that has been stolen. The image uses important alchemical symbolism and is meant to invert the classic white-black dualism. In this case sympathy is placed on the black, and seemingly villianous knight as he attempts evasion of his captors with a perhaps valuable prize in tow.
The lyrics on the backplate describe what we are all attempting to steal from the gods and angels.
LOOKING FOR GOLD
God did not choose to give us the medicines prepared. He wants us to
cook them ourselves.
With heads for tails we've wrapped around the world
Our amber paths are etched to globes in code
We ride on tigers through fields of young and old
We search among you men looking for gold
Amber paths refers to ancient trade routes that prospectors once believed to lead the way to gold deposits. When our world still had frontiers, much secretism and code was made to preserve these and other sorts of areas. It is common knowledge that even Columbus was in possesion of maps that lead him directly to the New World. The double meaning of these paths is revealed as the song progresses.
"Riding the Tiger" was a phrase coined by Julius Evola (and later corrupted by Yo La Tengo, Jefferson Starship and others), used to describe a method of surviving in a corrupted world: by living on the back of the beast, you avoid its most harmful elements, that of the claws and teeth.
Within the mines of human minds we seek to gain the Masters of the Name:
Are you the fire or just another flame?
The "Masters of the Name" (known also as the Baalei Shem) were a Jewish mystic sect of the 10th and 11th centuries, who were thought to be able to use the true names of God to perform feats of magic - stirring the oceans, raising the dead, and making themselves invisible. The sect became for a time a popular religious movement in Europe, and was associated with the Kabbalist Isaac the Blind.
The "fire-flame" line comes from a song by the 50s singing group The Orioles.
We are the fluids that dance upon the rest
We follow deeper laws possesed within this mess
We perch atop the very writhing beast
Out of reach are we from all its claws and teeth
Our lives are shot to god from living bows
We live in streams of mercury
We're a current through the centuries
The first line comes from this Evola quote: "Life is like a bow and the soul like an arrow, the target being aimed at is the Supreme Spirit", and describes his ideal human life. Keep in mind that Evola (nor this song) does not use the conception of "God" in a traditional sense - while being a mystical fascist and under the temporary employ of Mussolini (who thought Evola had magical powers), he was also a devout Buddhist and student of eastern religions.
Mercury, or "quicksilver", as it was known by alchemists, is one of the seven alchemical metals, and was of utmost importance practically, as its reaction to nitric acid produced a dramatic red smoke, but also metaphorically, as they thought the element transcended the solid and liquid states, and represented the transcendence over life and death, and heaven and hell. The metal is often represented by a serpent or a snake. Coincidentally, mercury is liquid at room temperature. So is the element Francium, of which there are thought to be less than 20 atoms of on the entire planet at any given moment.
As legends fade and Kali wakes
Our fate owes no faith to this age
So we spend the final days looking for gold
The smoke that rises from our stone will turn this world to dust
Kali Yuga describes both an age and a creature in Indian mythology. Kali, the Goddess, is associated with death, violence, blood and sex. Some interpretations of Tantric texts place her as the ultimate reality and source of being.
Kali Yuga, the age, also refered to as the Iron Age, refers to the age in which we currently reside, and describes the downfall of the gods, and general chaos enveloping humanity. Hindus await Kalki, the 10th and final avatar of Vishnu, riding a white horse and striking down the wicked with a sword. Note the cover of the 12". After the conclusion of this age, time is reset and brings about a Golden Age. A similar theme is described in the Bible, the Eddas of Norse mythology (the coming of Ragnarok), and of course the 3rd Matrix movie.
High and low, above below
We look in places no one goes
To boil the base and to transmute the world
We Pan the rivers endlessly
To forge a golden dynasty
Our chemistry turns living into light.
"As below, so above; and as above so below" is used in alchemy to describe the transmutation from lower to higher elements. The alchemical process is briefly described in this section.
"Pan" is capitalized because it refers to the act of panning for gold, but also to the Greek God Pan, the satyr-god who lords over shepards and flocks. The connotations should be clear.
We beat the drum to stir the elements
They seperate to liberate the best
Our suns are rising west transcend the meek
Our laws will part the golden from the weak
The bees decide who listens and who speaks
Their golden mead is fed to heads we keep
New worlds and paths do these new minds concieve
Not those who could become but those who be
We wont rest until the Golden Dawn
We fight with our black books in this grim war...
Bees were once regarded by the British to be storers of sacred or important knowledge. Many British estates maintaned several hives, and employed Bee Masters to speak to the bees. Special occasions and important decisions were always told to the bees in advance to ward good fortune. Bees have always been important symbols of sacred information. Many old illuminated texts will have small bee images.
The Golden Dawn line is to push forward the gold imagery, but also of course refers to the track by Yngwie J. Malmsteen, by which of course I mean the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an influencal magical society founded in London England in 1888.
Alchemists and mystics alike felt that the Earth had always been a place of Grim War between the forces of heaven and hell, a sort of spiritual and metaphysical battlegrounds. The little religious fish symbol (called an Ichtys) you see on peoples cars while meant to represent the feeding of the 5000 LP by the band Crass, it has also been said to be a VESICA PISCES, the sliver image created when two globes are crossed (thus the battleground image - the sliver represents earth, while the two globes represent heaven and hell), where such icons like Jesus like to hang out.
And of course, the grim war line also refers to a Grimoire, which is a type of book written in the 18th century that will contain magical spells and conversations with angels. The most famous grimoire was written by the Elizebethan magi John Dee, who founded Enochian magic (practiced by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and concerns the sacred language of God) after deciphering his conversations with a series of angels. Dee, considered by many to be the first true rennaisance man, was also the basis for Shakespeare's Prospero character, and invented the term "British Empire", and played guitar for Fucked Up on the Haymaker split 7".
Whole in the broken, straight in the bent
We make the muddy waters clear
We plunge to depths unknown for the adepts
We secure conditions for the rest
And we rise
On horses black we plunder through
The white with serpents eggs strapped to
Our backs are turned against the silver moon
Here is a description of the cover piece again. The attempt to bring darkness to light. This union of opposites idea is rife in the upcoming Fucked Up LP Hidden World.
A serpents egg is also known as a philosophers stone (also known as the Rebis, or great equalizer, which is used by alchemists as a vehicle for the alchemical transformation. It is most often a powder, used in the hopes of transforming base metals into silver or gold. There's that serpent again.
Transcend transmute to absolutes
The serpent sun illuminates
Our golden age where all the lead is gone
The record uses the same symbolism and metaphors that alchemical texts used to do, for the same purpose. Alchemy was on one hand a legitimate scientific pursuit, and was the precursory to the (more) legitimate science of chemistry, but on the other hand a grand and historical religious metaphor. Texts that gave instructions on ingredient mixing were also religious codes that could be read only by adepts. The transformation from lead to gold was the attempt also to transform baser human lives into greater ones, the transformation of death into life, human into god. Many alchemists were infact looking for the elixer of life, in order to bring humanity a step closer to the heavens (see Dee's conception of the Jacob's Ladder). The song describes the pursuit of an adepts through a wicked world, looking for more adepts.
The connotations for such a message in todays world can be wide ranging, but takes from the mythology and tradition of 1000s of years of heresy and magic.