The original distraction had turned to annoyance, then to intrigue, and finally into a mission: I had to discover the source of the sad Pink Floyd tune that was haunting me so. Despite the extravagance for a comics artist barely able to pay his rent, I purchased all of Floyd’s albums that I could find: Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, and Meddle. I spent an afternoon at my apartment playing them all, both sides, back to back. This created only further confusion. I couldn’t find the mystery tune but, after several playings, I became convinced that certain notes and tones in the work “Echoes,” from Meddle, were in some inscrutable way part of what I was searching for.
“How can this be? What the hell is going on?” I was talking to myself out loud now. “This is madness . . . this is nuts!” I waved my hands about, gesturing to myself in disdain, snorting, and pulling goofy faces.
From Floyd’s beginnings in the late 1960s, it was understood by the hip underground that their music was best experienced in a chemically altered state. While I’m sure that my altered perceptions were in no way influenced by the drug culture of the times (I was too uptight to read the Village Voice, let alone High Times) I am aware of these apparent correlations. Coincidences are a natural ocurrence, but by their random nature, the development of intrinsic patterns of chance is almost impossible. If a pattern should emerge from chance, the series of events comprising the pattern are linked together operatively. Thus they are no longer random, but meaningful. This is Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity. There may well be a hidden connection between my 1973 experiences and the ’60s/’70s zeitgeist, and if so, it probably goes a lot deeper than meaningless coincidence. More on this at another time.
Dope free, Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” can be perceived as a long dream state emergence from the shadow dimensions of eternity. Mystical
and everyday perceptions co-mingle across the reaches of forever. The
confluence of separate lives and experiences
in symbiotic relationships that, with time as their common vehicle, are
not coincidence nor predestined, but the nature of all things in Time.
Stoned, well . . . I dunno, do I. (No edifying calls or letters, thanks.)
With my recently disjointed sense of clock-time, the music’s narrative content seemed all the more provocative and, perhaps, prescient. With every replay of “Echoes,” specific electronic sounds would invoke the memory of an apparently forgotten Time Cycle. The practically physical, but nonetheless psychic, effect of my central perception of self being pushed apparently leftward as a different consciousness — or my own accelerated consciousness — asserted itself in my brain. The result being a jolting sense of displacement, a warping of the ordinary “feel” of clock time. Then a rush of crystal clear, transcendent, knowing, that just a few seconds before would have seemed unthinkably, unutterably, complex.
These phenomena scared the crap out of me in ’73. I recognized the initial sensory shifts from my precognitive experiences just the week before. I began to call them the “warning signal,” as in “Watch out! Here it comes again!” As I write these words at the close of the twentieth century, I am a long-term veteran of the “warning signal.” In 1985, after a short period of remarkable psychic events, I renamed the effect the Reality Shift. In her 1999 book Future Memory, fellow “time traveler” P. M. H. Atwater dubbed her experiences the Brain Shift. UFO researchers in Great Britain call this sudden disorientation of ordinary perception the Oz factor.
As some considerable time went by before the mystery of “Lost Chords” was solved, I’ll let the outcome of this tale float for a while.