On Gil De Ray’s IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRONE (Cold Lips Press 2019)
What is music for?
To break ranks with our own modes of being,
And change the codes, calls and systems that navigate for the heart.
In Gil De Ray’s new release, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRONE,
The sound teaches, as each song-target finds focus,
Fired as they are by Ray’s art.
This is the graphic novel as song,
And tract for becoming, with each piece of music
Urging the form past its crest. The acompanying images scorch;
Soundtracks for the eye, as the artist and expert musician
Spells out the dangers in ways that are actively Pinteresque.
Ray fuses coloured water and air with electric string
And fate’s chorus to play freeing keys that unlock us
While we sit subdued in our cells, The keys rouse each dream’s
Pitch to make the so called known day a fresh nightmare
In which the streets we claimed proudly now maze and betray us,
Pushing us all beyond signposts directing us down towards hell.
Here, then, is an album assault in the old fashioned sense,
Spearing futures;a mixed media market that barters at once
For the soul, And all from an artist who knows how to negotiate
The split promise and unify with hook, chorus, image
And illustrated word, all we know. Or all we should know.
Each song is a hand grenade made from chord shapes,
Thrown from the body of both singer and guitar,
Into a thought-storm of drums, as the electronica gathers,
A musical climate in which a run of notes traps a star.
Ray’s fast sketched head opens play as an insect drone hovers
Over; important at once to find image that represents us all
In the rush
before the signalled attack
For which this buzzbomb droid acts as herald,
Turning each face to graffitti, scrawled with grace
As its burning and before those who would kill us
Itching now to surrender all women and men to death’s hush.
Gil De Ray says as much in his credo intro:
We live ‘in the drone’s shadow as the worst kind of despots
Now run the world..
The war is one fought for our minds,
Our consciousness, too, through wrecked conscience
‘as the algorhythmns and data harvests’
And the enemy’s flags are unfurled.
A hatted man’s silhouette fires at us from the page
And could for a moment, be Burroughs, but is more likely an agent
From the ruling elite with his gun, setting his sights on the crowd,
Chasing no doubt the assassin as a means of disguising
The war declared on us, the war we never knew had begun.
A golden Robert Mercer now appears – O Bannon and thus,
Trump’s enabler – with a yellow star draped across him.
His Quiz Show sneer mocks the spectres who once lost to lyme,
Starved for race. This would be despot defies,
Even as he is defiled in this image, and made all the more
Hateful through the sunstruck slick veneer of his face.
These opening pages reveal the scale of Ray’s vision,
We are the martyrs and the murderer’s too, stained by fate.
LOSING CONTROL shows the slip as the appalling truth sours.
A chiming chord leads us down reverberated steps to the well
From which the soothsayer sounds as the vocal ‘heart-echoes,’
Ray’s voice a toned warning, its strength and warmth cast like spells.
The irresistable ease in which this first song unravels
Provides a means to deliver an album of pure alchemy,
As the modern age is displayed with a late sixties style
Shimmer, sounds soar through blood rivers
That carry truth and the heart’s (dis) harmony..
‘Something’s taking over
I can feel it in my skin.
Like a virus taking over
When the blood begins to flow
There’s a certainty you know
All the victims get evicted
When the truth becomes another show
you gotta binge on..’
As we take on that truth we too are infected,
Mikey Buckley’s guitar blisters through as if the complaint’s
Psychedelic, disturbing the haze that moves purple
Into the darkening spectrums of blood,
Ray’s warning builds like a bruise, in 4 minutes 22
We’re the wounded, drowning while swimming
Through God or the PM’s second flood.
Trump appeals with camp hand in the following image
The so called pussy grabber grabbing himself sans le drag.
Instead, a trio of drones costume him with a death stoked tiara
As in red shadow, swastika stars dress his flag.
EGO AND I GO smashes through, as the wah wah peddle
War blazes: song as condemnation and soundtrack of course
For the pig
who courts the princess in each of us
And comes on her, forsaking sperm they just stain us
With the print of their guts and spiked shit.
‘Ego and I go,
Ego and I go
Take me home tonight.’
And so we do, swallowing all of the mistakes we are granted.
As this sneered creed ensnares us and we no longer know
How to fight.
A mask of fear now appears, placed aloft,
As a totem while a cult tribe observe us, appearing beneath its gaze,
On a ridge. Ray mixes media as he draws and all painting styles
With his music, as the forms fuse through art’s chorus,
Allowing the placing of verse and tone to find bridge.
It is a threatening sight infiltrating all senses,
As from stark shadow the threat is increased as he sings.
EYES WIDE SHUT: Three words and notes strike
Like fast gunshot fire, into the sleeping brains to remind us
That to live and live freely is to see at once all that’s wrong.
Our selfish ‘cult of Dionysius’ have been blind
And the medium stripped of its message,
And so Ray, like Mcluhan is moved to inform now
Through song. That underground sixties vibe
Soon returns, as lost phantom bands reconfigure;
Sounds that return us to an Orpheus on lead guitar style
Enclave, in which the dangers we face
And the masks placed across terror are bacchanales played
At midnight; string fired orgies for all of the corrupted souls
We can’t save.
These songs sound like gold rivering through secret chambers;
They have all of time in them and yet the taint of the new
Still precedes. We are the cult that allows ourselves to be eaten;
Prey to another whose toxicity flavours the corrupted dream
We have offered and on which, stripped of purpose,
It so remorselessly feeds.
On Page Nine:
Across a gloriously voluptuous sky,
The nuclear achieves the orgasmic, as startling yellow
And reds explode kingdoms for which the trio of drones
Become crown. The page thrills you at once
Just as it terrifies you, as all signs of life blister
And in dry colour and blistering heat the heart drowns.
Hope is exploded and death creates the new skyline.
A gathering in the shadow watches sky fire.
The Immenance stuns you. Here is an image
That plays like a chord. That’s profound,
The image heralds the song SYSTEM ERROR,
As not only judgement but process as well has been warped.
Ray shines out all the more, his sermons from moral pollution’s
Mount scour shadow,
His and Buckley’s sounds are ecstatic
As they try to lead us on and restore
The times when we knew that there could well be
A future, were we not so reliant on the attitudes and behaviour
That keep us outside the closed doors.
The guitar’s angry rattle, the snarl of wah wah and groove
Underlying, the unstated beat that grants bodies the places
To change and transform, it is all in this song as Gil De Ray
Spotlights danger; their ‘pyschic vampirism’ must not claim us,
We must learn and rise as before. The ‘insecurities of the state’
Have been passed and even pissed on the public,
As the system collapses we need to ‘shut down and restart.’
Like all the best songs,, these seem familiar
Yet surprise us, each one becomes the soul’s theme tune;
Films for the brain, soundtracked art.
Take a girl with a gun and the hetero male will surrender,
All fears and desires will precipitate his collapse.
War traps all men with the deceit of fulfillment
And this simple image, while monochrome shows thrill’s crap.
We’re all horny for war and think we’ll be fucked
When we conquer – but its only the vanquished who receive
That precise kind of sex. The image attacks
And provides condemnation. We fuck ourselves,
Or fuck blindly, unaware of the horror
As the prevailing cunts smear each test.
We fight deluded and strive to achieve this girl’s glory,
But she grins as she watches. This girl has listened
And only she’s close to what or who will come next.
BURNING FLAG skitters in on a tip hop beat
And what could bea House of Love guitar figure,
The notes curved and folded, like a warm embrace
We have lost. Ray’s seductive whisper croons hard
As he starts to paint harsher glories,
with what could be 15/8
There to trick us,
Rattling some of the tectonic shifts within dance.
Celebrate freedom perhaps
When the predominant flag paints false pictures,
Or stumble blindly when debt demands the full cost.
Are we still together?
And doesn’t recognise the dance partner,
The singer’s sanity stripped of value as veins and soul
Feel the loss.With the blood flow obscured and even diverted
By our need for false glory, the richness of the track
Thrills the flesh;
Here is music that saves
The hopelessness in the lyric,
With a leather strapped flourish and suspended chords
Two drones crest a blood moon in the following image:
The rising immigrant in utero awaiting the chance to ascend
From the darkness of fate to spark the prejudice
Stacked against it, here is one sundered spirit
Denied both chance and hate’s end.
IMMIGRANT RISING breaks through
As the fate is cast for the foetus,
With each individual unwanted
We are all set to deport; what the system seeks to enforce
Is not the cause to complete us.
As we deny our compliance
We try to avoid
the ruling hook that aborts
Whatever tender flesh we still have
And this is what his epic song savours;
There is hope in the triplets
Of body and note as death looms:
I was born under a nuclear sun
A little immigrant rising
From the inside of the womb
To the outside of the tomb
As Gil De Ray shines, the music penumbras,
Coruscating guitar, and conundrums
That stamp, syncopated as a visceral voice
SO FAR AWAY was written for Gil De Ray’s brother,
Recently lost to life, he’d been stranded for a number
Of years in drug’s thrall. Here is blood infused empathy
That replaces the silence, grown like a wound
Between people who share the silence and shadow
When not even love can quite call.
I wrote this song
despite the lies
that bind you
The connection shows horror and the sheen of truth
The past framed. Its an address seamed with care,
For when no touch stokes sensation. It is the clothes
Love is wearing when emotional nakedness strips each name.
A swoop of strings flock like birds as Gil De Ray now Sinatras,
A serenade who’s solution is to contain the loss of a soul
In starred notes.
A glistening piano glistens,
As if lighting the way for his brother,
Whose private darkness is marked in the words each boy wrote.
Years ago all was well. Now despite troubled water,
Sound strives to soothe them even as the drone flies above.
It is the wasp’s bitter wing, made electric storm that song softens.
As So Far Away brings you closer, whether sistered or solo,
You will understand brother love.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRONE sets the task.
We have to crest the restriction.
Seek the space they can’t see you,
Like a cornered Winston Smith with his book.
Electric piano, then beat artfully echoes the goosetep.
But the fraught farm is open if only we knew where to look.
Through ‘deranged senses’ he fights to show you the light
You are scared of. Safer to stay in the shadows,
Even if the dark arc soon scars.
Through ’empty streets’ you now run, sickness in your bones
Clawing at them, soon you won’t even recognise
Your own city as the roads within lead to Mars;
Barren, bereft, buckled under, bewildered,
The spies we played games with are the insect hordes
That infect. This remarkable work is both saving grace
And solution. Heed De Ray’s warning.
In music and art Gil reflects.
Smash the mirror. Its black.
Take yourselves to clear water.
Bathe in this music.
These starred directions are all you will need to get back.
The album will be available from www.gilderay.bandcamp.com
David Erdos August 19th 2019