Friday, May 11, 2018

The Siren is Still Taking Trophies

Terribly sad news: Scott Hutchison, 36, lead singer and songwriter for the Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit fulfilled a longstanding promise and swam to the Siren in the waters of the Firth of Forth. His body was found at Port Edgar.

Hutchison struggled with Major Depressive Disorder and as with Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, made his struggle the focus of his art. Which is painfully ironic since all the music I've heard so far from this band (who, like Lil' Peep, I hadn't heard of before this tragedy) has a powerful healing and transcendent quality to it. 

Chris Cornell used rage to transfigure his depression into a kind of holy terror, where Hutchison seemed to transmute a general sense of resignation into a healing sorrow. Equally cathartic, but different roads. Check his stuff out, it's gorgeous.

I guess channeling terrible pain into beautiful music is a Scottish specialty.

Of course, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is in fact the Siren. We're coming up fast and furious on the anniversary of Cornell's death on the Detroit River and the 21st anniversary of Jeff Buckley's death on the Mississippi and now we have another extraordinary troubadour dying on another legendary river.

What's more, we just past the 50th anniversary of the first modern invocation of the Siren by Tim Buckley on the final episode of the The Monkees TV show, a week before the 50th anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

We also can't ignore that this latest Siren-summoning took place mere minutes downstream from the birthplace of the woman unwittingly chosen to fully bring this ancient elemental into the postmodern world.

And following the tangled semiotic thrulines of the past 12 months, we need to also make note that Hutchison went missing the day after the "Heavenly (or Las Vegas) Bodies" Met Gala, which singer Rihanna appeared as a Pearly Pope and insta-celebrity Cardi B came as the Pearly Dewdrip High Priestess, accompanied by designer Jeremy Scott....

...who dressed in a outfit clearly inspired by Elvis in his Heaven or Las Vegas years. More on those outfits later. 

Australia-- which keeps popping up in all this-- just saw its worst mass shooting in 22 years, in the Margaret River region of Western Australia. As you know, the name Margaret means "Pearl." 

And those damned rivers again.

Oddly enough, the shooting took place 91 days after the start of Perth's Siren Song ritual.

91. Huh.

You see, Margaret River is three hours south of Perth ("just down the road" in WA terms), where the Siren was invoked for ten days, a dusk and dawn.

The shooting at Margaret River was Australia's worst since the Port Arthur massacres in Tasmania in 1996. Oddly enough, the Siren Song ritual (which it is openly acknowledged as) was performed nearby in Tasmania last year, during Hobart's Dark Mofo festival.

And you might remember that Hobart's Siren Song ritual was itself cloaked in tragedy when the pilot who took part in it was killed in an air crash a few months later.

And if you know the material, you'll immediately recognize that Siren Song is essentially a group of singers doing their best Elizabeth Fraser impersonations over a droning backdrop. Only without the dazzling range of timbre and color. Or the intestine-carving emotional power.

UPDATE: Check out this link for some crucial synchery from Tasmania pertaining to this year's Dark Mofo. Two top-notch Fraserlings will be performing this year; my beloved Zola Jesus and Chrysta Bell of Twin Peaks: The Return fame.

Frightened Rabbit were scheduled to play the Southbank Centre next month, where a Siren recently made an in-person appearance. They were set to play opposite the Welsh mainstays Manic Street Preachers for this year's Meltdown Festival. 

Also due for the festival are Deftones, who had their own tragic encounter with the Siren.

I realize that Worshipful Master Robert Smith of the Hermetic Order of Ancient, Free and Accepted Fraserfarians is curating the Meltdown this year and has packed the bill with all kinds of Fraserfarians and Fraserlings but could someone suggest that Deftones not play "Wax and Wane" in their set, especially considering the supercharged nature of the Royal Festival Hall? Even if Smith asks them to?

All the more so since I've finally cracked the code on that song, in light of recent information circulating in the parapolitical underground. All I can say right now is that the Sibyl's various dissociations and the trauma-ward hospitalizations just got a lot less mysterious. 

Perfidious Albion.