«Three Poems By Aleister Crowley/Tzim-Tzum» is one of the most ambitious projects of the Barcelona-based label Discordian and of its founder, Venezuelan sax player-composer El Pricto (aka Andrés Rojas). The two incarnations of the Discordian Community Ensemble present here two complex works based on mystical texts, conducted by El Pricto. In a way, the process of performing compositions based on free-improvisation manifests beautifully the mysterious, and often the mystical process of collective-community-based music-making.
The «Three Poems» are taken from «The Book of Lies» by English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter and novelist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) «The Book of Lies» was first published in 1912, and as Crowley describes it: «deals with many matters on all planes of the very highest importance. It is an official publication for Babes of the Abyss, but is recommended even to beginners as highly suggestive».
El Pricto assembled and conducted a ten-musicians ensemble for the «Three Poems», headed by soprano vocalist Ilona Schneider. This ensemble was recorded live at Barcelona Improfest in February 2017 and interprets Crowley’s cryptic texts, with a great sense of drama and imagination. The subtle chamber work of drummer Vasco Trilla and of the exquisite work of the strings section – double bass players Eduard Altabam and Cárlos Ródenas, electric guitar player Diego Caicedo and violinist Xesc Llompart – allow the sensual and operatic delivery of Schneider to soar and flow from one emotional climax to another, like a mysterious shaman who conducts powerful rituals. Sax player Agustí Martínez and bass clarinet players Naná Rovira and Luiz Rocha intensify these dramatic peaks.
«Tzim-Tzum» (reduction in Hebrew) (Before the Void) was recorded live in Barcelona in November 2019 at TepeKaLeSound’s 15th-anniversary concerts. This work corresponds with the kabbalistic elements of the «Three Poems» and is based on the writings of the Jewish father of contemporary Kabbalah, Isaac Luria (1534-1572, known as Ha’Ari, the lion, האר”י). «Tzim-Tzum» relates to Luria’s concept of what happened before creation. Before the great explosion – the void, a contraction of divine light created an «empty space» in which spiritual and physical worlds and ultimately, free will can exist.
A nine-musician ensemble performs this extended, instrumental composition. «Tzim-Tzum» suggests an enigmatic and delicate drone, based on the tension between the dark, deep-toned bowing of double bass player Alex Reviriego and the fragmented, fierce guitar lines of Diego Caicedo, with reserved support by the strings, woodwinds and horns players. This poetic work eventually reaches a point of complete emptiness, represented by an abrupt silence.
Ilona Schneider (soprano), Agustí Martínez (as, cl), Naná Rovira (bcl), Eduard Altabam (b), Diego Caicedo (g), Vasco Trilla (dr), Cárlos Ródenas (b), Luiz Rocha (bcl), Xesc Llompart (vio), Pope (tp), Fernando Brox (fl), Aram Montagut (tb), Amaiur González (tuba), Jaime Del Blanco (vio), João Braz (c), Alex Reviriego (b)