We finally met, first time after years of online communication. Algiz rune between us represents the divine might of the Universe. We are standing tall while our friend, outsider artist Henrik Zoltal Doren, is taking the picture. Berlin, 2018, May. The energy of Algiz makes it all feel sacred as opposed to mundane. It is the symbol which could be powerfully equated to a satellite dish. So do we are reaching toward the heavens and communicating with the great Unknown, the Old Ones, Nocturnal Entities, who dwell in the Void, and ever active Force of Love. I dip my fingernails into the cyber world and open the portal for you, reader. Welcome to the Creative Mind of Michael and Shaltmira.
THE ACTION OF CREATION IS SELF-MULTIPLICATION
As one saga describes Odin, 'when he sat with his friends, he gladdened the spirits of all of them, but when he was at war, his demeanor was terrifyingly grim.' When Odin sacrifices himself to Himself to receive the runes, he was setting an example for us: to sacrifice the things that make us small or petty, to give up our fetters, addictions and vice to seek something much greater within ourselves. Funny fact, Odin't name translates as “Master of Ecstasy.” This collaboration wouldn't have happened earlier, Michael says. 'It was my decision to change and step out of my comfort zone. This collaboration happened, because of my personal transformation.'
"The Universe is Mental - held in the Mind of THE ALL." - The Kybalion.
Hold the thought long enough and it will get material shape. The action of creation is self-multiplication, accomplished by transferring a portion of the spirit into the material substance. Spirit and Matter are but the two poles of the same thing, the intermediate planes being merely degrees of vibration. Spirit transcends our understanding, but we can get a sense of it by discussing it's material manifestations. This is what I will be doing today, I invite you to the backstage, to the labaratory of mental alchemy.
THE MUSIC IS LIKE STREAM, IT IS LIKE WATER.
IT IS NOT FROM FIRE, IT IS FROM WATER.
Michael Cashmore is an English composer and musician currently living in Berlin. He has created music under the name of Nature And Organisation since the early '80s and more recently (2006) under his own name. Michael Cashmore has also been a member of the group Current 93 since the late 1980s and composed the majority of the music for the group since joining. He has collaborated with many artists including David Tibet, Antony and the Johnsons, Bill Fay, Marc Almond, Nick Cave, Rose McDowall, and Steven Stapleton. In 2015, the German label Trisol released the long-awaited CD reissue of the complete World Serpent recordings by Nature and Organisation including the two albums "Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude" and "Death in a Snow Leopard Winter" along with the "A Dozen Summers Against the World" EP and another compilation-only track. Entitled "Snow Leopard Messiah," the double-CD set features lyrics and entirely new artwork by Michael Cashmore.
In the mid 80's Cashmore came into contact with David Tibet (ex-PSYCHIC TV) of the group CURRENT 93, which he later joined in 1990. For the next 20 years Cashmore wrote almost exclusively all of the music for the group including the seminal albums "Of Ruine or some Blazing Starre", "Sleep has His House", "Soft Black Stars" and "Thunder Perfect Mind". Not only is he responsible for influential songs like "A Sadness Song", "Whilst The Night Rejoices Profound And Still" or "The Bloodbells Chime" that are long considered classic of the progressive folk and industrial genre, he moreover has written music for British wave legend Marc Almond (SOFT CELL) and avant-garde sensation Anohni (ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS). An artist renowned for his eclectic work and poignant nature, Cashmore is revered by music lovers as one of Britain's most influential and inspiring composers.
MICHAEL CASHMORE AND SHALTMIRA
'This release is a special collaboration with artist, occultist, shapeshifter, nomad and enigma Shaltmira who contributed the extraordinary images for the artwork for this record. The unique design of the packaging has created the first ever vinyl release in history to have two front covers. The sleeve has foil embossed lettering on both sides in two colours, this release is pressed on white vinyl and contains an printed inner sleeve. As this record is limited to only 500 copies this 12" vinyl will become an instant collector’s item and much sought after. This record is an important documentation as part of the transformation of an influential artist.' - TRISOL.
SHALTMIRA: So how many solo albums you are working on now, Michael?
MICHAEL CASHMORE.: I'm working on 4 solo albums as well as three other albums. I want release three albums this year if possible, a solo album from me, your album, and I've just finished a collaborative album with an English dark, indie group called VUKOVAR (https://vukovarbrutalisthouse.bandcamp.com/) .
S.: Let’s talk about how the idea to do a collaboration with my voice and your music was born. We were chatting online for a while, as we were working on this album which I provided my photos for. And now, as I record tracks for your upcoming solo album, as well as recording vocals for my solo album, let’s travel back in time a little to the moment when the idea to use my voice with your music was born in your head.
M.C.: I sent you some music I was working on for one of my solo albums and you sent me a video message via Facebook with my music playing in the background. I suddenly thought, wow, they sound incredibly good together, your voice and my music, and that’s how I had the idea of inviting you to collaborate with me, all accidentally, you know? After that video message, I thought that your voice and my music are really perfect for each other.
I AM RELEASING MYSELF FROM THE PAST
S: When was the last time you played live? Would you like to perform again and where?
M.C.: The last time I played live was in Moscow with Current 93 in 2012. I'd definitely consider playing solo shows in the future but I don’t want to be a guy who sits in front of a laptop, I don’t find that interesting, I want to see something happen on the stage like Hendrix and The Who did so I am not sure at the moment how I should approach it. The country I would most like to play in would probably be Japan, but I'd Love to go back to New York sometime again in the future. I was in Japan in the 90's in Tokyo and Kyoto, I collaborated with a Japanese artist but can’t remember his name right now. It would be nice to come back with my solo album to Japan, but would cost a fortune! (laughing). When I was in Tokyo I was walking around and found this little record shop, I found the Current 93 EP ‘Lucifer over London’ and couldn't believe it. I didn’t have internet in those days so I never knew that we are were known all over the world, that our records spread so far. It’s crazy to see something you created a year earlier just on a weekend between working a regular job sitting on a shelf all the way in Tokyo, you know? That was the first time I realised, wow, this is big, this is going all over the world to people, I didn’t realise it before.
S.: Did it make you happy?
M.C.: Yeah, kind of, I was surprised. Imagine, you are so far away from home and you walk into a tiny record shop and your record is sitting there.
S.: You're known for playing acoustic guitar, is that what we can expect from you in the future?
M.C.: No, I am transforming myself as a person and my music must reflect that otherwise it wouldn't be true, I am releasing myself from the past. I wouldn't say that I will never play guitar again, I don't know, but right now I find the most accurate way to express myself is through electronic music as well as through melody and chords on a piano.
S.: Do people recognise you in Berlin? How long you lived there and
where did you live before?
M.C.: I've lived in Berlin for fourteen years, I lived in Birmingham, England before. I miss the food, English food, that's for sure. People do recognise me here sometimes, but not so often. One time I was in a shop called Dussmann, it’s a big book and records shop and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You're Michael Cashmore!?’, I said ‘Yes’ and he fell to my feet in the middle of the shop, he was so shocked, that was crazy! When people recognize me we have a little chat, they want to take pictures sometimes.My good friend Anohni told me that when people call me a genius, which is of course not true, I should always accept and respect it as their opinion.
S.: Do you take pictures with them?
M.C.: Of course I do, I do anything for people.
S.: ANYTHING! (both laughing)
S.: Are you not exhausted from getting attention from your fans?
M.C.: I get attention of course, but not an overwhelming amount. People send me their cd’s sometimes, recently someone sent me a drawing, they want me to listen to their music, probably because I inspire them in some way, you know?
S.: Do you listen to the music people send you?
M.C.: I always listen to what people send me, I appreciate them thinking of me, I want to encourage them and give them positive support and feedback but sometimes that's difficult if they are just basically a copy of Death In June or Current 93, I don't want to hear copies, I want to hear originality.
I DON'T WANT TO HEAR COPIES, I WANT TO HEAR ORIGINALITY.
S.: Your mentioned you are working with the record label TRISOL, in general The Trisol Music Group are considered a major European label for works within the realm of Dark Alternative music. How is it going?
M.C.: It's going great with them, the label boss is named Alex Storm, he is a big fan of mine and he is so kind to me, he gives me everything I want for the packaging of my records. I've pretty much reissued all of the back catalogue from Nature And Organisation, but for the future I am looking for a different label to work with as my music is expanding and developing and doesn't really fit in with a label that is associated with a single genre.
RECORD MADE ITSELF IN SOME WAY
S.: What can you tell me about this album, MICHAEL CASHMORE - SHALTMIRA, that nobody else knows?
M.: It was not composed, it's a intuitively recorded improvisation.
S.: Do you remember the evening when you were recording it?
M.C.: Not particularly, I don't have such a good memory, and also in a way I was switched off, I just recorded without much thought, that record made itself in some way.
S.: What do you mean by intuitively recorded?
M.C.: I just found a sound that I like and I just played it and recorded it without knowing what I would play.
S.: How did you find the sound?
M.C.: I have hundreds of different synthesisers sounds in my recording program so I just randomly search until I find something that I like at that moment and strangely I always find something very quickly.
S.: Do those synthesisers sounds have names?
M.C.:: They do have names, I'm normally attracted by them.
S.: Do you have a favorite?
M.C.:: No I don't, I try to use them only once and not again.
S.: After you recorded it, how long did it take for you to edit this album?
M.C.: I recorded the basic structure then added extra elements later, added the flesh to the bones, I guess it took around a month.
INTUITIVELY RECORDED IMPROVISATION
S.: How did it come to your mind to use the images of me?
M.C.: Because I saw them on Facebook and thought they looked stunning. It's the first time I've ever made the artwork for a record before recording the music, using the artwork to inspire the music in a way.
S.:Have you ever used other people's pictures in your albums?
M.C.: Mmmmm...no I don't think so.
S.: Do you design your album covers yourself usually?
M.C.:: Yes, all of them.
S.: Do you record all your music in your home studio?
M.C.: Yes I do, in the olden days I would record in a studio but home recording is much easier, I can work when I want without the restriction of having to be at a studio at a certain time. It's much more flexible, I can do more, I'm working on 7 different albums simultaneously at the moment.
S.: Is it not confusing?
M.C.: I like to be confused a little bit. (laughing)
S.: Do you work on your music everyday?
M.C.: I would love to but I have a regular job which means that I am restricted, that ideas start to flood into my mind but then I have to look at the clock because of getting up for work in the morning which is frustrating, so I work at weekends.
S.: What is the thing that interests you most?
M.C.: Transforming myself, my music reflecting that and in turn helping me to transform, I plan to create new musical genres in this way.
After the interview with Michael, I would like to tell a bit about the images that accompanies the vinyl, and which inspired Michael to create this record.
Most of the images was taken while I was living in Berlin in 2016. I was doing my artist's research - 'Urban Shamanism and Visual Perceptual Learning' , which was funded by Lithuania's Council for Culture. The important part of the project was to move to Berlin, which I saw as the capital of Europa's spirituality, in order to explore and cultivate the life of the modern day Urban Shaman.
The cover of the album is my auto-portrait taken in summer, 2016, while was living in Neukölln. This is my TRIANGLE OF MANIFESTATION. In my hands I'm holding the chain by my friend fashion and accessories designer Freya Roisin Randle (WOLFE CHAINZ), as well as wearing the clothes made by her, from recycled bicycle tires.
According to metaphysics, in order to manifest something, three components must come together. These components are time, space, and energy. I accepted my destiny as I marked my forehead with the Gebo rune. “For every gift a curse.”
The triangle facing down is also representing the element of water. The system of the four elements, Air, Fire, Water and Earth is a key foundation stone in the development of the Western Esoteric Tradition, and practices associated with it can still be found in almost all the modern traditions of magic and mysticism, including Alchemy, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Ceremonial Magic, and Qabalah through to the Wiccan Tradition, Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and Druidry.
The lock represents me as Scorpio, being fixed water sign. In Astrology, the fixed signs are the second, fifth, eighth and eleventh (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius). They are characterised by the keyword "stability". Scorpios are fixed in terms of their emotional reactions. They feel more secure when they know what feelings other have. Scorpio seeks to know the deep emotions that others have which motivate them.
The need for exchanged energies and powers to remain equal in amounts is at the heart of the rune Gebo. Every decision we make requires the acceptance of one thing and simultaneous sacrifice or release of another. Self-sacrifice (for honor in battle or for the greater good) is a common theme with the death of warriors. I painted my face in order to connect with my inner warrior spirit/archetype. As Odin on the tree sacrifices ‘himself to Himself’ in his shamanic initiation to discover the knowledge and wisdom of the runes, so did I sacrificed my old ways of living, as I went on the quest towards deeper understanding of the existence.
HEALING THE FRACTURES IN THE UNCONSCIOUS PSYCHE
In Berlin I organized series of Ritual Performances, which were connected into COSMOGENESIS cycle. It is the documentation of evolution of the self-Universe. The picture above is taken by photographer Paul Henschen, from SATANIC YOGA Ritual Performance, which took place in Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Once the site of Nazi rallies and the Berlin Airlift, the airport is now a huge park.
I wear white as a direct reference to what is called Albedo stage in Alchemy. This is the stage of illumination and amplification. The process through which previously unconscious contents are brought into the light of consciousness and a dialogue with the unconscious psyche/soul is initiated. The Albedo stage establishes a dialogue that involves both symbols and language, and builds a bridge between the two. They are brought into a state of synthesis and the fractures in the unconscious psyche are healed.
The name of the ritual I chosen was inspired by discovery of the article in Lithuanian press, in which Poland Catholic priest Sławomir Kostrzewa said that those whose are doing yoga 'will be going to hell'. It made me to contemplate on the fear based control of the masses, that religious establishments employ. Yoga is a method of self development and empowerment. Organized religion, such as Catholicism, claims that knowledge and power is being something, what is outside of the individual, in the hands of the others, which therefore become superior over them.
Between 1569-1795 Lithuania and Poland was a dualistic state, The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Constitution of 1791, acknowledged Catholicism as the 'dominant religion'. Now Lithuania and Poland are separate and independent, but is known as conservative and religious countries. I like to look back to the past, the times as Lithuanians were proud of being pagans. Times, when connection with nature and it's forces were strong, and peoples lives were aligned with natural rhythms. Lithuania was the last pagan country in the Europe.
My SATANIC YOGA was a symbolical protest. It is my riot against the dying of the Light. When the dominant religion is Catholicism, everything what doesn't fit its frame is being called 'blasphemous' or 'satanic'. Growing up in Lithuania I witnessed limitations imposed over the years into collective unconscious via religious dogmatism and I used it's own polarization to fight back.
Lithuanians, who emigrated or wanted to criticize Lithuania, pointing out the socio-economical underdevelopment, would refer to Lithuania as the 'Bananas' Republic'. I brought bananas, placed them in the shape of the pentagram and marked them with the hashtag SATANA. The second layer of the Ritual was about facing my own demons, connecting to my inner child and forgiving the self-others-past, which is represented by the old photo with my father, which I placed in the center of the pentagram. The third layer included the physical movements. 'Where the spirit doesn't work with the hand - there is no art'. I was dressed in white as my friend Greek artist Markella DV, who joined me in the Ritual, was dressed in black. Standing in front of each other we were mirroring each other's movements, and this is how we were establishing the connection, symbolically building the bridge between the conscious and unconscious psyche. The old wounds were healed.
French director Emile Cerf was documenting the process, and used the filmed material in short documentary called 'POP SATANISM'.
The picture on the back cover of the album is auto-portrait that I took in Puebla City, in Mexico, 2017. In November, 2016, I left Berlin and went to New York for three months, then to Mexico City, visited Puebla, Morelia, and reached Bogota city in Colombia. I continued to work with the idea of being the bridge. The physical journey was happening simultaneously with the spiritual journey that I was living. I was searching for the methods to connect with people beyond the language. The mask I am wearing in the picture is the persona, who wanders the world freely. The persona, who knows, that mental chains can be broken. That everything is permitted. In Puebla, the town of 300 churches, I stood and spread my black wings. Shaltmira's Sigil on my forehead and number 23 on the chin. Even Odin was often cursed for being a fickle trickster. 'In the land of faceless - the one with the mask will be the Queen!', the words echoed in space, turned into electric current and resonated in the other side of the world, reoccurring as the intuitively recorded stream of sound.
MICHAEL CASHMORE – Shaltmira (12” Vinyl, 14 copies signed by both artists)
MICHAEL CASHMORE – Shaltmira
(12” Vinyl, 14 copies signed by both artists)
• White 180g 12" vinyl
• Mastered specially for vinyl by Bricoleur (CURRENT 93)
• High quality, super-audiophile disc – German pressing!
• Photos by Shaltmira
• Sturdy cardboard sleeve, foil blocked in two colours (green and red)
• Printed inner sleeve
• Printed vinyl labels
• Strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide