The occult has a long standing overlap with popular music. The notorious and influential magician Aleister Crowley appeared on Beatle’s album covers, while esoteric beliefs fueled the work of Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. The convergence is not surprising – magicians and musicians both mine the subconscious for blazing inspiration, creating art and rituals to initiate personal or collective transformation. At their core, their work is the same- summoning new realities into existence.
South African musician and artist Amani Lenny Vallihu aka A.L.V candidly situates himself in this historical continuum. “Esoterica and the art of Magic, of the implementation of one’s will, have always played a great importance within my oeuvre”, citing Egyptian Kemeticism, the Voudaun and Thelemic Magic as just some of the mystery schools he has extensively explored. Ritual and experimentation have informed all his work to date, including the enticing and enigmatic albums Swan/Void, Pinnacle and Prince of Darkness. These solo projects have been accompanied by multidisciplinary collaborations with Umlilo, Baloji and Spoek Mathambo.
Darkness is perhaps the recurring motif in his prolific body of work. That is darkness “without evil” – rather than supernatural terror, he is focused on using myth as a “path into unknown ventures of self”. For the last two years, he has focused on planning Majesty, an album which aims to surpass everything he has done before. The goal “was to create an album that was predicated in philosophy, meaning and interpretation that can radicalise the way we view consciousness, ourselves and certain truths that relate to Primordial and Ancient myths. So Majesty is in essence, a sonic myth”. Each song on the album is linked to a different cultural representation of primeval force, from the giant Typhon of Greek mythology to the malevolent Cthulhu.
The recording entailed active “experimentation and advancement” of his own reality. “There was a huge amount of real influences, spirits, entities and primordial beings entering my consciousness every day, to create the album and also to change me as a person”.
The result is music designed to propel the listener into the vast realms of the unknown, with all its mystery and promise.