New Podcast: MERZ0004 – zlknf – Bast Babylone (May 19, 2005)

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I was searching for track to feature tonight in honor of the Music and Cats theme of the Bad Kitty Chaos Festival, and eventually settled on this selection from Bast Babylone by zlknf:

lknf: free noise from an autonomous organism.
territory of new sonic landscapes in permanent questioning and mutation, quasi-silence purity to gliding noisaural imensitudes.
Bast Babylon EP available through Merzbau.

In this case, I am interpreting the theme as more “inspirational” than literal, i.e., music inspired by cats rather than created from cat sounds. Certainly, the references to Bast suggest a feline connection, as do the following quotes from the credits:

bast babylone is dedicated to bosch and sybilla.
zlknf thanks the electric masters for their gates are open,
her cats for their love is unconditional, merzbau for the immediate
cooperation and sympathy, and the Friends – AGAPE

Musically, this track reminds me a lot of the piece I did for Dorian Grey's Box, as well as several works in 2 1/2. Disturbingly so. Most likely it is common elements inspired by listening to computer music (ala ICMC and SEAMUS), but perhaps there is also a common element of the cats…

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Worthless Kitty Musings: Brakhage and Bast

I have been viewing on and off a collection of short films by Stan Brakhage. Brakhage was a very prolific and influential maker of short experimental films. Most of his films have little or no narrative, and in many cases are made from images created directly on the film (i.e., not filmed with a camera), as in the case of thethe frame from Resurrectus Est shown to the right. Most of the films are also silent, leaving the viewer to focus exclusively on the images.

One of the films that intruiged me was Cats Cradle, originally done in 1964. Basically, it consists of a series of clips of a black cat interspersed with separate closeups of a man and a woman (apparently there were two couples in the film, but was not able to see this as I was watching). The cuts are frequent and the lighting/tinting is an amazing shade of red/magenta. It really is hard to describe, though you can find a better attempt here. An interesting suggestion is that the film can be seen as the “cat's perspective” on the couple.

The film definitely has a sexual feel to it, though there are no explicitly sexual images (discounting the fact that juxtaposing images of a woman and a man usually adds some sense of sexuality). How does the cat fit into that overall sense? Juvenile word-associations aside, cats have a history of association with (female) sexuality and fertility, most notably through the Egyptian goddess Bast. Bast is definitely a goddess for my personal pantheon, and I've been looking for an excuse to use her in a post on this forum. Bast has quite a resume, as the protector of cats, women and children, also associated with perfume, fertility, love, music and dance. It is interesting to consider Cat's Cradle in the context of Bast, even as a tribute of sorts, although I have no basis to assume Brakhage had such an association in mind. Though looking through his filmography, i think he was fond of cats.