Originally a roman holiday held in honor of Saturn the god of harvest around winter solstice. A week of heavy partying in ancient Rome. The main event being the switching of roles between slaves and masters for the duration of a banquet. The lord of the house would then serve wine for the slave. If he would also take a beating I doubt.
As the tradition faded, early christians adapted the charade as X-mas. A clever little work of spin to conjure some more opium for the masses, if you ask my tin-foiled hat.
Titling this song “Saturnalia” is merely because of its date of conception around some X-mas and the musical mis-quote of “Silent Night” (can you hear it?) It has a repetitive disharmonious theme and a circular construct portraying what I believe is the superficial, blind and ritualistic mass-psychosis of that holiday.
As a little treat to myself I let the 1st part break into a softer second part at exactly halfway through. Why? Because I can? And because I like the thought that halfs of halfs never gets you anywhere. Just try closing a door that way. Kinda suitable for this song.
The “Juke Box Hero” quote was btw spoken by Grace Kelly to Bing Crosby in the 1956, super-cheesy, superficial, toe-curling movie “High Society”. As it is, a jukebox is a contraption full of music stored on small circular black discs that are repeated automatically over and over and over.
Footage is of me performing zen-calligraphy of the “enso” in a speeded time-lapse which therefore and in itself is a contradiction. Enso is japanese for “circle” and a Zen tradition in calligraphy symbolizing enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, the void, a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body+spirit create. The circle is usually done in one movement with no possibility of modification: it shows the movement of the spirit at that instant. Zen Buddhists “believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an enso. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true enso.” Some artists need to practice drawing an enso daily, as a kind of spiritual exercise. You should try it. I’m done.
The video is also circular in construct as it starts and ends with the sun traveling (or rather: time lapsing and passing, the world spinning.) It also has a frantic mashup of city commuters on foot going to and from their daily business of nothingness observed from a distant high point, thus being “above” the routines practiced on street level. Now and then the eye rests on a detail but hurries on. But who am I telling. Right?
(And no. No lyrics here. I think words are too abundant on the issue. What issue? You might ask. And I will reply: Exactly.)
track released March 10, 2010
music: Arne Hou Uerkvitz
words: Sheren Spence Frame