"Satyricon" is a collection of sketches, demos and song studies dating back to the Etruscan period (7th c. BC), with other pieces recorded as recently as 2011 AD. The original collection was discovered in Carthage in 1932 by a wandering shepherd who had become lost in the Tuscan hills. The various pieces -- lonely dirges and short vignettes of unrequited lust -- were in disordered fragments and have been since reassembled into a logical sequence. Interestingly, several pieces contain musical references to the Federico Fellini film of the same name ("Fellini Satyricon") released more than 25 years later. This has led some archeologists to speculate that the film may have actually been made much earlier than the 1960s, and had, in fact, been discovered alongside other ancient artifacts and sound relics at the Po Valley in 1913.
Though the original manuscript of "Satyricon" is credited to Petronius, the current assemblage comes from Yellow Alex, of whom very little is known. Public records suggest Yellow had a multitude of pseudonyms -- most famously as Whyawatha -- but also including Mea Culpa, MacNally, Richard Raffles (the actor), Papa Christmas, and Mea Culpa Jr. An inscription within the lapels of the manuscript features the simple dedication: "A Niandra LaDes, Jugis Era" (tr: "to Niandra LaDes, my perennial mistress"). In yet another perplexing twist, the album contains a musical fragment from Erik Satie's "Gymnopedies", released nearly three thousand years after the fact. Perhaps Satie had some sort of foreknowledge about the discovery of "Satyricon", and, laughingly, planted his piano pieces as a sort of ironic 'time capsule' to be enjoyed a hundred years later. Unfortunately this theory would not account for the oblique references to James Joyce and Madonna -- artists who thrived eons after the inception of the original work.
Ultimately, the "Satyricon" may be destined -- like Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake" -- to remain shrouded in a cloak of mystery.
Amidst the billows of smoke, however, a picture begins to emerge:
a snake eating its own tail,
the midday sun blaring its song
on the creamy yellow,
sloughed off, Saturnian skin,
shadowed by the ghosts of ground sloths
and other tarpit manimal brothers
and supercilious sisters
somewheres between Hollywood Presbyterian
and The Beverly Center.
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jonathan hart makwaia
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[NOTE: PLEASE DOWNLOAD THIS ALBUM. Don't listen to the album in the Bandcamp browser. Bandcamp inserts gaps between each track that ruins (no pun intended) continuity.]
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released 27 January 2012
All music written by Yellow Alex, except:
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" (I. Curtis, P. Hook, S. Morris, B. Sumner)
"Fatha David" (D. Goodwin)
"Like A Virgin" (B. Steinberg, T. Kelly)
"Seashells" (S. Erfani, Yellow Alex)
All music performed by Yellow Alex, except:
"Life is Just a Party (2)" - additional background vocals by Kim Haden and Brandon Scott
"Fatha David" - bass by David Goodwin, drums by Daniel Seldner
"Portrait of the Artist as a Young Braggart" features Dr. Steven Steward as himself
"riverrun (1)" - flute by Sergio Flores
"Seashells" - vocal by Sanaam Erfani