Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CLEARLIGHT-CIRCUITS MAXIMUS, LP, 1984, USA


With a cover that begs you to overlook it and a name more commonly associated with a 70's French prog band and the 60's psych pop unit, this lost slab of brilliance from the sadly deceased mind of visionary avant gardist and occult initiate Jerry Hunt managed to slip past many, with his work in Clearlight seeming to have been deliberately omitted from any discussion on the Jerry Hunt homepage or much of anywhere else online that refers to his work. Don't let it slip by you. 

Hunt's mad genius and completely singular mysticism-steeped approach rendered him marginalized during his life, which ended in 1993 at his own hand after a cancer diagnosis, though a spate of posthumous releases of his electronic works on Tzadik, CRI and ?Whats Next? managed to raise his profile a tad. Despite ultimately becoming an atheist, Hunt would litter his recordings and performances with ritualistic invocations of the sundry mystical systems that he'd once steeped himself in, from Rosicrucianism to Kabbala to Enochian Magic. I've never fully recovered from seeing an old video of Jerry's, with the grand old man madly puckering and blowing out his lips in accordance with some private ritualized system, or, elsewhere, leaping about the stage in coded occult gestures while waving about rattles and other props which in turn triggered various electronic sounds by his movements. His universe is best explored at length here, but during the time that he was engaged in his more formal solo experiments, Hunt was also a member of this Dallas-based ensemble that also featured one-time Doc Severinsen sideman turned Dallas Symphony Orchestra percussionist Ron Snyder and which would produce two albums during their lifetime, the first of which "As Above, So Below" will follow soon. 

For now though, feast your ears on the delirious swarming blear at work here. In the context of Clearlight, Jerry confined himself to playing only an Emulator, an early sampling keyboard akin to the Synclavier and Fairlight and abetted himself with Snyder on percussion, a pedal steel guitarist using his instrument as an avant garde sound generator and a woodwind player doubling on a Moog Source. If that line-up sounds unlikely, the results seem more still; a disorienting and dissociational flow of syrupy synthetic slurries, lonely winds tracing arcs in the ether and shuffling, slithering and twinkling percussion accents that cut silvery pricks through the nocturnal veil of their communal evocation. The interplay of winds and synths in an acid washed atmosphere harks back in some ways to the pioneering work of Gilbert Artman in Lard Free and Urban Sax and forms a bridge to similar formulations later wrought by 90's Dallas kosmiche icons Ohm, but this is largely inhabiting a planet of its own. And its gravity is decidedly heavy. Thanks to blog friend Craig for this treasure!

Get it via Rapidshare Here

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

So....well there simply aren't words of any language to touch just how *whatever this is* IS! But it sure sounds, ohm..uh. Infinite? Infinitely psychedelic and surreal. Thank you.

rock_paper_scissors said...

oh dear, my brain is burnt again. thanks, mutants!

Anonymous said...

As nice as this one is, their very first one (As Above , So Below) is even better !
so... Maybe next up ? ...(if there are requests ,& if Eric wants that one too?) / @ E.... . Their rare first recording is an epic. In the tradition of the SOFTS "Third" , it is a sprawling double LP (with better cover art ,BTW)featuring 4 ,massive side-long tracks. My favourite is called "The Emerald Tablets of Hermes Trismegistus". ..did it from memory. / CLEARLIGHT were an absolutely unique group. Nothing like them. Not only did they include avant-garde shaman Jerry Hunt , but master percussionist & cymbalom player Ron Snider, & also ...jazz reeds man PeteBrewer w/ the uniquely cosmic pedal steel playing of Larry White. &, I think Texas fusion synth guy Pat Coil adds some synthesisers too. On both releases. ~C

Myles said...

Inspiring. Astonishing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! Always a treat visiting your blog.

Anonymous said...

I remember long ago I was searching the internet for As Above, So Below but I could never find it on wax or for download. Someone was selling Circuits Maximus and I managed to snag that. I'm so glad I'll finally be able to hear the first album. Thank you so much. I love your blog.

El Diablo said...

Fantastic record!