Tuesday, 2 August 2016

William Burroughs - Curse Go Back (Paradigm Discs)


'To stay present / To stay absent'

Word falling, captured on tape; Burroughs works the play/stop button here to create repeat cuts that become mantra-like, meaningful only to him, perhaps, but fascinating nonetheless. There are glimpses of personal significance in talk of 'spirit past, the chaos spirit' in relation to the Ugly Spirit which he claimed haunted him for much of his life. As with some earlier word experiments with Gysin, there's the word swap routine in the quest to wring altered meaning from simple statements. Repeating 'the conditions' it's as if Burroughs was still trying to escape those imposed by words even after a decade spent fighting the 'virus' by cutting them up, like a doctor trying to cut out an illness. Unlike his famous creation Doctor Benway's medical efforts, Burroughs was a successful 'surgeon' in the literary sense. Even so, the recordings on Curse Go Back suggest the 'cure' was nowhere in sight. 'The words...the words...the words' he intones, sounding like a soul lost to them. 

'Recorded in Duke Street c1968, the tape was then passed on to Brion Gysin in Paris where it remained in his archive until 1998. This is the first readily available edition of an hypnotic and meditative recording that examines the hidden power of words. Closer to a work of sound poetry than anything literary.
The album includes a 12”x12” insert with an essay by Ben Harper and several previously unseen portrait photos of Burroughs, taken by Harriet Crowder in her Hammersmith flat during a drug experiment. The back cover uses another Crowder image - the very next frame after the famous shot that appeared on the cover of the English Bookshop/ESP “Call Me Burroughs” LP.
Pressed at Optimal on transparent vinyl in a numbered edition of 500.' From Paradigm Discs site

A quick visual tribute I made...

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