This week is Haunty Taunty week so all throughout the week I will be celebrating all things Hauntology and Vaporwave so expect some old skool retro stuff and other hauntology topics. Today I’ll be talking about my album I made for this year’s Christmas Called Snow Queens & Winter Dreams released on the 25th November 2019. It’s a 12 track Vaporwave/Hauntology/Prog Rock album I made and I will be talking about six of the tracks.
Snow Fox is about an Arctic fox wandering free in the winter wood’s and is why I put a flute in there to represent the woodland part of the song. It is a chilled relaxing track that I made in a couple of hours. In winter they are white to blend in with the snow, while in the summer they change to brown! The Arctic fox is found throughout the entire Arctic tundra, through Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Russia, Norway, Scandinavia, and even Iceland, where it is the only native land mammal. Their average life in the wild is 3-6 years and can survive frigid Arctic temperatures as low as –58°F in the treeless lands where it makes its home. It has furry soles, short ears, and a short muzzle—all-important adaptations to the chilly clime. Arctic foxes live in burrows, and in a blizzard, they may tunnel into the snow to create shelter. The song has got a woodland though jazzy feel to it with a bit of hip hop drumming which I used the 808 for the drums. It’s one of my favourite on the album and reminds me of something though I just can’t figure it out but it reminds me of something that’s for sure. Like all the songs I tried to make it as Christmasy as possible and I think I pulled off the winter woodland song. I picture snow in woodland when I play it and hopefully you get the same feeling too.
The Holy King is about the birth of Jesus and the three wise men travels. It’s an upbeat track with some ambient elements (the pad) to make it feel holy and it’s also about the star the three wise men following to the location of Jesus. Bethlehem has been the subject of countless carols and Nativity plays, but the real story of the little town is far more complex. Bethlehem had a long history even before it became known as the site of Jesus Christ’s birth. Now it sits at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Bethlehem is very close to the Dead Sea. There’s a route up from the Dead Sea in an area called Ain Sakhri, and in caves there, in the 1930s, some Bedouin shepherd boys found a small stone carving. It became evident that it was two people having sex. Archaeologists dated it to the Stone Age—11,000 years ago—and it’s the earliest depiction we have of people making love. Bethlehem was built specifically to sit on top of the aquifer and be the defensive military installation guarding the whole infrastructure. It’s a fortress town amongst a series of villages, which is why the Bible always talks about the best tasting water coming from Bethlehem. The Town was made famous as a site of Christian pilgrimage, not by churchmen, but by a succession of Roman women. one being St. Helena. In late 2001, the violence between Israel and Palestine escalated. In the course of it, the Israelis fired a missile at the building opposite my wife’s house. My mother-in-law, who was by then a widow, was living there. And the building opposite her house was blown up and the roof ripped off our house. We were panicky about how she was coping, so we went there at the earliest opportunity and began living in Leila’s home in Bethlehem in 2002. Things got worse and worse. On the Monday after Easter Sunday 2002, the Israelis invaded, under Ariel Sharon, and occupied all of the cities of the West Bank, including Bethlehem.
This dark number is about the ban of Christmas that happened in the 1647 and isn’t that much Christmasy maybe a bit wintery though. I wanted to keep it dark and moody for this track and used dark but melodic synths to do the job. It’s another favourite on the album and I hope you like it too. Prior to the Victorian era, Christmas in the United States was primarily a religious holiday observed by Christians of the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, and Lutheran denominations. Its importance was often considered secondary to that of Epiphany and Easter. The Puritans, on the other hand, objected to the Christian feast of Christmas, during the English Interregnum, when England was ruled by a Puritan Parliament. Puritans sought to remove elements they viewed as unbiblical, from their practice of Christianity, including those feasts established by the Anglican Church. In 1647, the Puritan-led English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering it “a popish festival with no biblical justification”, and a time of wasteful and immoral behaviour. Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The book The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652) argued against the Puritans and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with “plough-boys” and “maidservants”, old Father Christmas and carol singing. The Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 ended the ban. Poor Robin’s Almanack contained the lines: “Now thanks to God for Charles return, / Whose absence made old Christmas mourn. / For then we scarcely did it know, / Whether it Christmas were or no.” Many clergymen still disapproved of Christmas celebration. In Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland also discouraged observance of Christmas. James VI commanded its celebration in 1618, but attendance at church was scant. In Colonial America, the Pilgrims of New England disapproved of Christmas. The Plymouth Pilgrims put their loathing for the day into practice in 1620 when they spent their first Christmas Day in the New World building their first structure in the New World – thus demonstrating their complete contempt for the day. Non-Puritans in New England deplored the loss of the holidays enjoyed by the labouring classes in England. Christmas observance was outlawed in Boston in 1659. The ban by the Puritans was revoked in 1681 by an English appointed governor, Edmund Andros, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable in the Boston region. By the Declaration of Independence in 1776, it was not widely celebrated in the US. With the appearance of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church, a revival in the traditional rituals and religious observances associated with Christmastide occurred. This ushered in “the development of richer and more symbolic forms of worship, the building of neo-Gothic churches, and the revival and increasing centrality of the keeping of Christmas itself as a Christian festival” as well as “special charities for the poor” in addition to “special services and musical events”. Historian Ronald Hutton believes that the current state of observance of Christmas is largely the result of a mid-Victorian revival of the holiday, spearheaded by Charles Dickens, who “linked worship and feasting, within a context of social reconciliation”. Dickens was not the first author to celebrate Christmastide in literature, but it was he who superimposed his humanitarian vision of the holiday upon the public, an idea that has been termed as Dickens’ “Carol Philosophy”. Modern celebrations of Christmas include more commercial activity in comparison with those of the past. Historian Stephen Nissenbaum contends that the modern celebration in the United States was developed in New York State from defunct and imagined Dutch and English traditions in order to refocus the holiday from one where groups of young men went from house to house demanding alcohol and food into one centred on the happiness of children. He notes that there was a deliberate effort to prevent children from becoming greedy in response. Christmas was not proclaimed a holiday by the United States Congress until 1870. In the early 20th century, Christian writers such as C. S. Lewis noted what he saw as a distinct split between the religious and commercialized observance of Christmas, the latter of which he deplored. In Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus, Lewis gives a satire of the observance of two simultaneous holidays in “Niatirb” (“Britain” spelt backwards) from the supposed view of the ancient Greek historian Herodotus (484–425 BC). One of the holidays, “Exmas”, is observed by a flurry of compulsory commercial activity and expensive indulgence in alcoholic beverages. The other, “Crissmas”, is observed in Niatirb’s temples. Lewis’s narrator asks a priest why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas. He receives the reply:
“It is not lawful, O Stranger, for us to change the date of Crissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket…”
The Soviet Union (until 1936), and certain other Communist regimes banned overtly religious Christmas observances in accordance with the Marxist–Leninist doctrine of state atheism. In 1920s USSR, the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, and encouraged them to spit on crucifixes as a protest against this holiday; the League established an antireligious holiday to be the 31st of each month as a replacement. Most customs traditionally associated with Christmas, such as decorated trees, presents, and Ded Moroz (Father Frost), were later reinstated in Soviet society, but tied to New Year’s Day instead; this tradition remains as of the present day. It should, however, be noted that most Russian Christians are of the Orthodox community, whose religious festivals (Christmas, Easter etc.) do not necessarily coincide precisely with those of the main western Christian churches (Catholic or Protestant), because of continued connection of the church calendar to the Julian calendar. Likewise, in Nazi Germany, “because Nazi ideologues saw organized religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to deemphasize—or eliminate altogether—the Christian aspects of the holiday” and as a result “propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime’s racial ideologies.”
Trippy Reindeers is about reindeers getting high off fly agaric mushrooms enabling them to fly. I would describe the song as bouncy rather than trippy though it does have some ambient trippiness to it after playing it. In fact, I put something that sounded like a sitar for that trippy sound though I wished I put reverb on it now but oh well. It is a well-known fact that Santa dopes the reindeers up so that they can fly. Muscimol interacts with receptors in the brain resulting in hallucinations; inanimate objects appear alive, objects distort in size, time and space become distorted. It is probably eating the fly agaric mushroom that made Alice grow alternatively tall and short when she visited Wonderland. Other effects of the mushroom are less appealing and include anxiety, nausea, vomiting, twitching, convulsions and coma. Fly agaric was the recreational drug of choice in several parts of Europe before vodka was introduced. Shamans of the tribes that herd reindeer in Siberia and Lapland would collect the mushrooms and carefully prepare them to optimise the mind-enhancing properties – and minimise the other dangerous toxins within the mushroom (of which there are several). The amount of muscimol also varies enormously from mushroom to mushroom, so trying this yourself is a risky business and definitely not advisable. The shamans had the benefit of generations of practical knowledge and years of experience. They believed they could use the mushrooms to travel to the spirit realm in search of answers to local problems, such as a sudden outbreak of illness. The effect of the muscimol gave the impression of flying out through the chimney of the shaman’s abode and travelling to the spirit world where they could seek advice. Muscimol passes through the body relatively unchanged which means that the shaman’s urine also had potent hallucinogenic properties. The effects of the mushroom can still be felt even if the drug has passed through five or six people and this is probably the origin of the phrase “getting pissed”. Reindeer happening upon these patches of yellow snow left by the shaman might well frolic, gambol and skip around in the snow, off their antlers on mind-altering drugs. Perhaps, even, as they jumped up in the air, the sun in the northern regions would be low in the sky, silhouetting them in a characteristic flying pose …
So Rudolph may be under the influence, and given her working conditions, I’m not sure I blame her and I wonder if Santa dabbles in the shrooms lol.
The First Cave is about the possible real birthplace of Jesus which possibly could be in a cave in Bethlehem. The mellow but upbeat track is another one of my favourites on the album and is also the shortest. I tried to make it cave ish which is cames off as ambient but deep and to be honest I wished I slowed down this pace just a little bit but I’m happy with it though. The exact spot where Jesus was born has been the subject of investigation and controversy. The only information the Scriptures gives is contained in the words of Luke, that when Joseph and Mary arrived at Bethlehem, they could find no place at the inn, and that, when Jesus was born, she was compelled to put the new-born babe in a manger.
A cave called, “The Christmas Cave,” has been identified in Bethlehem that could have been where baby Jesus was born or similar to where Jesus was born. As you picture this underground cave and stone manger, you get a whole new perspective as you read Luke 2:7;
And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. Visiting the Caves Bethlehem is just a few miles south of Jerusalem. It is dotted with numerous caves made from the light limestone of the region. The caves were easily made into many shapes and were always dry. They were naturally used for many purposes. Groups can explore one of the ancient caves, like the one Jesus was probably born in, to get a very realistic idea of what the conditions would have been like there in Bethlehem when Mary gave birth to our Savior. See exciting Bible tour locations like the Christmas Cave on a 2019 Holy Land tour or if you would like to travel with your group to the Holy Land or other locations, see what group travel options we can offer. Customized group travel tour options are available as well. You can download Snow Queens Winter Dreams free on Bandcamp.