Parallel Trajectories: U N I V E R S E S at Vignettes + Midday Veil at Hypnotikon

•November 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

File under: Burning the proverbial doobie at both ends…

Emily Pothast - Quasi

Emily Pothast. “Quasi,” Collage and drawing on paper, 2014.

I’m busy a lot, but this week has been one of the most exciting weeks I’ve had in recent memory. Not only have I been working my day job at Cairo and creating works on paper for U N I V E R S E S, my first solo drawing show in over 5 years at  Vignettes, which opens/closes tonight (November 13) from 7 – 10 pm; my bandmate David and I have been spending every night this week working with a wonderful group of singers to adapt three songs from the upcoming, unreleased Midday Veil album for a vocal ensemble.

In the gnostic poem the Thunder: Perfect Mind, the cosmic speaker who has identified herself as both The Whore and the Holy One declares,

“I am the voice whose sound is manifold.”

Midday Veil + Apocalypse Singers

Midday Veil rehearses with the Apocalypse Singers, 11/12/14

How can I even begin to explain the feeling of having these songs, to which I served as midwife as they wrestled themselves into existence, sung back to me in the form of a glorious lady hydra, with all its implications of eternity?  I can’t; thankfully music moves freely where words fail.

We perform at the Triple Door tomorrow night (November 14) at 8 pm sharp to kick off year two of Hypnotikon: Seattle Psych Fest. I’m excited to share all the images I’ve been working on, both musical and visual. Hope to see some familiar faces at Vignettes tonight and Hypnotikon tomorrow!

Emily Pothast - drawings

Sneak peek inside my flat file at drawings for the show at Vignettes

Midday Veil's Apocalypse Singers

Midday Veil’s Apocalypse Singers, left to right: Kate Ryan, Emily Stoner, Rachel Green, Rachael Ferguson

Midday Veil and Swahili Fall 2014 Tour Dates

•September 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

My band Midday Veil and our friends and labelmates Swahili from Portland are doing a run of West Coast dates together in October 2014.

Midday Veil + Swahili Fall tour 2014

Midday Veil and Swahili’s Fall 2014 tour dates:

10/3  Swillery Whiskeybar, Bellingham, WA w/ Spider Ferns, Urban Fantasy
10/4 Art Signified Psych Fest at Red Gate, Vancouver, BC
10/5 The Northern, Olympia, WA w/ Total Life
10/6 Kenton Club, Portland, OR w/ Coronation
10/7 Siren’s Song Tavern, Eureka, CA w/ White Manna
10/8 The Hemlock, San Francisco, CA
10/9 Del Monte Speakeasy, Los Angeles, CA w/WHQLES
10/10 Holland Project, Reno, NV
10/11 1078 Gallery, Chico, CA

The Mysteries of the Mystic Lamb, An Introduction

•September 19, 2014 • 1 Comment
Jan Van Eyck, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

Jan Van Eyck, The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. The Ghent Altarpiece, 1432.

Those who know me well are aware that I am very nearly obsessed with the Ghent Altarpiece by Jan Van Eyck;  specifically the lower central panel of the interior, also known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. The mystical, geometric, and apocalyptic properties of this painting are exceedingly subtle, however once we are initiated into its mysteries, we discover a strange, miraculous painting-within-a-painting that is, like the Kingdom of Heaven it portrays, “hidden in plain sight where men do not see it.”

To be clear: the geometric properties to which I am referring are neither obvious nor visible with the naked eye, at least not immediately. Rather they emerge, to those for whom they emerge, like a three-dimensional stereogram from the picture plane (not unlike an infinitely more sophisticated version of those “Magic Eye” posters that alternately delighted and confounded suburban mall-goers in the 1990s).

In 2009, upon spending several tightly nested eternities absorbing the ecstatic splendor of this strange painting, I managed to codify some of my observations regarding its esoteric optic properties in the form of a blog post called Eyes All Around Five years later, I consider this post among my favorite things I’ve written, so I recommend getting caught up if you haven’t yet read it, since it is foundational to the paragraphs that follow.

Last night I attended a lecture on the Ghent Altarpiece by art historian Rebecca Albiani at the Frye Art Museum. Ms. Albiani is an adept speaker, and her insight into the art historical significance of the altarpiece was well worth the price of admission. I was somewhat surprised to note, however, that while she spent several minutes talking about the figures of Van Eyck’s donors that adorn the exterior panels of the altarpiece, she spent almost no time at all on the “Mystic Lamb,” the glorious climax of the altarpiece and arguably the single finest achievement of Northern Renaissance painting, if not the history of European painting.

Jan Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece (closed)

Jan Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece (closed)

After the lecture, I asked her about this oversight. Was it because she was running out of time? Or was she simply less interested in the more esoteric aspects of the altarpiece’s interior?

“I’m kinda less interested in it,” was her honest reply.  Her response did not come as much of a surprise, nor did I find it particularly disappointing.

Art history is—or at least aspires to be—a sober, secular subject. As James Elkins explains in his essential text, On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, this is because the category of “art,” as defined by museums, institutions and the existence of an “art world,” is a fundamentally modern construct. Participation in this construct assumes a certain intellectual impartiality, even transcendence of the limited structures of traditional belief systems.

Art historians don’t often expound on the “mystical” properties of mystical paintings for the same reasons that most people don’t tend to walk around in their day-to-day lives preaching wisdom gleaned from ecstatic, prophetic states. Either (1) they aren’t gleaning wisdom from ecstatic states (2) they are, but they don’t want to seem insane.

(Indeed, perhaps it is prudent to leave the cultivation of true insanity up to the artists!)

The slippery nature of transcendent experiencelike the one encoded in the mysteries of the Mystic Lambis such that it is notoriously difficult to capture in language. Images often fare better, and so we are blessed as a species with a deep and wonderful lexicon of visual roadmaps of transcendence that rival the even the greatest esoteric texts in their cosmic profundity.

In his midcentury study Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, religious historian Mircea Eliade drew the distinction between the “cool,” outer, physical and exoteric components of ritual and the “hot,” inner, subjective component of the ritual as lived experience. While the former may be readily communicated, the latter must be directly experienced and felt.

Bas-relief on the Great Porch of Notre-Dame, Paris

Bas-relief on the Grand Portico of Notre-Dame, Paris

Eliade’s distinction between the “cool” outer shell and the “hot” inner experience reminds me of a passage in Fulcanelli’s Le Mystère des Cathédrales, in which the reader’s attention is drawn to a bas-relief of the Virgin on the Grand Portico of Notre-Dame in Paris. In her right hand, she holds two books. One is openly displayed for all to read, while the other is sealed, its contents an impenetrable mystery to the uninitiated.

The Ghent Altarpiece is structured as a physical illustration of this very idea. For most of the year, except for special religious holidays, the altarpiece would have remained closed, its pseudo-architectural trompe l’œil niches barely hinting at the vivid, red-hot visual ecstasy contained within.

Jan Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece (open), 1432

Jan Van Eyck, The Ghent Altarpiece (open), 1432

As an artist, I am particularly fascinated by the mysterious, generative relationship between ecstatic spiritual practice and the codification of visual forms such as the ones implied by the “hidden” geometric properties of The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.

I am returning to this personal blog after a long hiatus in order to begin collecting thoughts for a series of public lectures that I will be giving next Spring at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery in conjunction with an exhibition, which will run from February 18 – April 4, 2015. The heart of this exhibition will be a radical, multimedia expansion of my lecture “How to Draw God from Direct Observation,” which was first performed in May 2014 at Portland, Oregon’s Xhurch as part of PSU’s Portland Center for Public Humanities “Visions” Series.

For the Hedreen exhibition, I will be converting the gallery into a Divine Observatory that will come to life in the context of a series of public lectures and events. This project in particular is something that has been slowly developing as an idea for many years and I’m very excited to see it come to fruition.

The details of this exhibition are still very much up in the air, however I am fairly certain that the mysteries of the Mystic Lamb will be invoked, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

More soon.

Introducing TEP ZEPI, an object / experience by Hair and Space Museum

•June 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Hair and Space Museum - TEP ZEPI

A few months ago, Sharon Arnold of LxWxH Gallery asked if David and I would contribute a piece to the June 2014 installment of the gallery’s Subscription Project, a curated box set of editioned art objects.

Since around 2010, David and I have been collaborating on multimedia installations and performances as Hair and Space Museum. We have performed a 12-hour improvisation to overnight audiences at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery, contributed a sound and video feedback installation to Bumbershoot 2012, and even performed at a book release party at Family Business Gallery in New York, but as of yet, we have been too busy with our other project Midday Veil to give HSM a proper physical musical release. The LxWxH box set seemed like a great forum for creating a handmade, short run physical release that could also serve as an art object.

Hair and Space Museum - TEP ZEPI

TEP ZEPI is an edition of ten lathe cut 7″ records featuring a 5-minute improvised composition on each side. Inspired by the Voyager 1 Golden Record, as well as a recent re-watch of the 1997 film adaptation of Carl Sagan’s Contact, we decided we wanted to make a special sculptural package for the record that contained instructions for the assembly of an object of unknown origin to accompany the musical experience.

To produce the object, I designed and executed my first ever bookbinding project: a 6-fold, fabric bound, hand silkscreened case for the record that transforms into a freestanding three-dimensional pyramid. The title TEP ZEPI, which translates as “First Time,” refers to an ancient Egyptian creation myth in which key aspects of civilization were handed to the Egyptians by visitors from space.


Hair and Space Museum - TEP ZEPI

The Wave Length box set is currently available in an edition of 10 via LxWxH Gallery. A release party is scheduled for this evening, June 27, at Vermillion Gallery and Bar in Seattle from 6 to 9 pm.

Ambitious projects tend to make you thankful for the talents and generosity of your community, and I would like to extend our gratitude to Mike Dixon of who cut these gorgeous, amazing-sounding records for us; to Jonathan James Carr, who helped me cut out the boards for the covers; to Shaun Kardinal for giving me a refresher course in the Pen Tool while I was designing the covers; to the Vera Project’s silkscreen studio; and to Gala Bent for bookbinding and material advice.

Midday Veil On Tour Now

•March 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Midday Veil On Tour Now

More info:

Midday Veil Interview in The Quietus

•October 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Midday Veil

Even when they’re voyaging deep into the unknown, Midday Veil stimulate the synapses with dynamic arrangements and the kind of melodic sensibility that eludes the majority of their peers. They bludgeon, seduce and inflame.

Read the full feature + interview in The Quietus.

Midday Veil – New Video, New Album and US Tour Dates!

•March 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Midday Veil has just released an epic, 12-minute video for “Great Cold of the Night,” a track from our upcoming album THE CURRENT, produced by Randall Dunn. Directed by visual artist Steven Miller, the video begins at a performance and culminates with human sacrifice, an alchemical transformation, and last but not least, a cake orgy.

See CVLT Nation’s premiere of the video here.

Read an indepth interview about the video with director Steven Miller and myself from Redefine Magazine here.

Midday Veil - The Current

THE CURRENT, featuring album art by Robert Beatty, will be released this spring on LP, CD and as a limited edition, tour-only cassette via Translinguistic Other. (Preorder here.) A string of US dates has been confirmed for March and April, including appearances at SXSW35 Denton in Denton, TX, and LA Psych Fest, and a European tour is currently being booked for Fall 2013 with Expo ’70.

Full tour dates below. See you soon!


Midday Veil Spring 2013 US Tour Dates

2/28 Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
3/09 35 Denton, Dan’s Silverleaf, Denton, TX
3/11 Invasion Festival, The Crown and Harp, Dallas, TX
3/13 Official SXSW Showcase, The Hideout, Austin, TX
3/14 Austin Psych Fest’s LEVITATION, Austin, TX
3/14 Holodeck Records Party, Austin, TX
3/15 Sahara Lounge, Austin, TX
3/16 Redefine Magazine’s FEEL YOU, House of Commons, Austin, TX
3/18 Guestroom Records, Oklahoma City, OK *
3/18 Stash, Norman, OK
3/19 FOKL Center, Kansas City, KS *
3/20 Situations, Chicago, IL
3/21 4329 Kirby Ave, Cincinnati, OH
3/22 Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA #
3/23 PA’s Lounge, Cambridge, MA #
3/24 Silent Barn, Brooklyn, NY #
3/25 Cake Shop, New York, NY #
3/26 Ace of Cups, Columbus, OH
3/27 Radio Radio, Indianapolis, IN *
3/28 Eronel, Dubuque, IA *
3/29 Side Door Lounge, Omaha, NE *
3/30 Mouth House, Denver, CO *
4/05 Gem and Bolt, Oakland, CA †
4/06 Tin Can Ale House, San Diego, CA †
4/07 LA Psych Fest, Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA †
4/08 The Knockout, San Francisco, CA †
4/09 The Works, Eureka, CA †
4/10 East End, Portland, OR †

* with Expo ’70
# with Ghost Box Orchestra
† with Brain Fruit

A STORY OF RATS – Vastness and the Inverse

•February 15, 2013 • 1 Comment

I’m exceedingly proud to announce that Translinguistic Other Records will be releasing Vastness and the Inverse, the new LP from Seattle dark noise/drone architects A STORY OF RATS this month.


A Story of Rats began as the the solo musical project of visual and sound artist Garek J. Druss, who also plays in Seattle-based duo Dull Knife and Portland-based TECUMSEH and Atriarch, as well as multimedia ensemble Saint Genet.  Garek’s investigative work blurs the lines between sound and gesture, tangibility and time. The current lineup of ASOR also includes Andrew Crawshaw (Terminal Fuzz Terror, Broken Press) and D. Salo (Joy Wants Eternity, Saint Genet).

In 2011, our friends at Eiderdown Records released ASOR’s first LP, Thought Forms. Their second full-length, Vastness and the Inverse, will be entombed on 33RPM vinyl (limited to 300 copies) and offered up for consumption by Translinguistic Other with an official street date of March 4. Its haunting artwork was created by Druss and hand printed by Broken Press, and the record itself was recorded & mixed by Wolvserpent’s Blake Green in Seattle, WA, and mastered for vinyl by the inimitable James Plotkin. The LP comes with a download which features a bonus track, a reinterpretation of Side A’s side long dirge “Her Teeth are Nil,” remixed by Tristan Shone (Author & Punisher).

The record is available for presale now via TLO Records. An LP release show is scheduled for Thursday, February 28 at Chop Suey in Seattle with Midday Veil, Great Falls and Hekate.


A string of dates with Of The Wand and The Moon (Denmark) + King Dude have also been confirmed for late March/early April:

Tues 3/26 – Seattle, WA – The Comet
Wed 3/27 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
Fri 3/29 – San Francisco, CA -The Chapel
Sat 3/30 – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Atrium
Sun 3/31 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo
Mon 4/1 – San Diego – The Casbah
Tues 4/2 – Sacramento, CA – TBA


•December 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment


More info:

[POEM]: The 4th of July

•December 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The 4th of July is hidden
in a box of sundries
beneath a worthless curtain
on account of being clumsily battered for years by flaccid sunbeams
has been rendered devoid of reds,
its once healthy blues given way to an acrid, semisynthetic green
(whose existence is a travesty to the very concept of “color”
if you ask me).

And yet
all the delegates are present here
though the watchman decries his post
and I’m suspicious of the wounded man
—who turns elevens into sevens—
aching though he may be
beneath the weight of history.

I am lost to history.
For instance:
Where is my Fertile Crescent?
Did I really exchange it for a few sessions of awkward, menial sex and Coming Home Early from The Celestial Buffet of the Great Self?
If so,
can you remind me why?
Is it because you can never truly seduce a soul in exile?

are pumpkins really that shape?
I am at a loss for shapes.
Even now as I write this hymn
on graph paper
where every possible point of contact
with the world of forms is equidistant from the last.

-E.P., 12/4/2012