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THE END

by Jarboe and Cedric Victor

THE END is a limited edition CD of six recitations by Jarboe


set to the darkwave soundscapes of Cedric Victor who also
wrote the first five texts. The sixth is a magnificent
rendition of the enigmatic gnostic text from Nag Hammadi,
Te Bronte : Nous Inteleyos (T NO NTC}
translated to English as The Thunder : Perfect Mind or The
Thunder, Perfect Intellect.
Jarboes delivery is straightforward. She speaks in one voice with no
sign of the vox personae so prominent on albums like MahaKali and
Anhedoniac. Cedrics atmospheric sound collages add a dreamy quality
to the troubled narratives of domestic violence, alienation and
insanity.

The pulse of the first track has something of a heartbeat. Police sirens
reinforce the unease of The Astigmatics edgy tempo. An ominous
blend of drones and tones accompanies the menacing Dead End
narrative. A more conventional arrangement based on robust
keyboard chords against chiming drones colours the tragic and
disturbing track, Dog. Cedrics compositions conclude with Thinking of
You, whose chilling words are taken below zero by a flute-like chime.

Jarboe and Cedrics interpretation of The Thunder : Perfect Mind is the


most accessible and graceful of all the versions Ive heard. The one by
Current 93 is striking but incomplete and overly menacing. The
exuberant percussive Coptic version by Catherine Braslavsky and
Joseph Rowe articulates only some verses, at long intervals, in English.
The YouTube clips by John Young and BobForehead are both visually
and sonically terrifying. None of them conveys the ultimately
comforting message of the hymn.

Three literary styles interact in Thunder : Perfect Mind. The I AM


statements, called aretalogies, are Egyptian. There are also wisdom
passages in the Hebrew tradition, and elements of Greek philosophy.
Addressed to the individual, the approach is psychological rather than
cosmological.

The aretalogies challenge the intellect with paradoxical statements. The


wisdom element, in the form of admonishments such as be on your guard
or give heed, serves to amplify the aretalogies so that the reader is forced
to ponder the paradoxes. The rhetorical questions, riddles and enigmatic
answers involve philosophy, as in Platonic dialectics which points to truths.

A symphonic synth opens this magnificent, atmospheric soundtrack which


maintains the lofty heights of the masterpieces of Gyrgy Ligeti or Popol
Vuhs Nosferatu. Ghostly whispers follow the intro then fade under Jarboes
solemn recital. The music undulates in synch with the shifting themes and
cadences of the narration. Layered choral vocals ebb and flow, occasionally
complemented by male vocalising weaving in and out of the mix.

Using the translation of George W MacRae, Jarboe deviates from it in only


two instances with a more apposite word. In the line
Give heed to my poverty and my wealth. Do not be arrogant to me when I am
cast out, she recites:
Do not be ignorant of me which better fits the context.

In the phrase and do not despise it because it is small and it is little,


Jarboe has: and do not despise it because it is small and it is low.
This makes perfect sense as its not a literal parallelism where two
consecutive statements refer to exactly the same thing, but a relational
one. The first Coptic word literally means small, little while the second
signifies lowly/insignificant.

Jarboe handles the lacunae with flair. The recital of the broken line
Those who have [...] to it [...] senselessly [...]. Take me [... understanding] from
grief flows seamlessly as is. In others, nearly complete sentences are

recited whilst isolated word remnants are omitted with no harm to the
narrative flow.
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Approaching the finale, the sound of thunder enters and the celestial vocals
rise for the poignant conclusion:
For many are the pleasant forms which exist in numerous sins,
and incontinencies,
and disgraceful passions,
and fleeting pleasures,
which (people) embrace until they become sober
and go up to their resting place.
And they will find me there,
and they will live,
and they will not die again.

Bibliography
Broek, R van den. Gnosis in de Oudheid: Nag Hammadi in context. Amsterdam, In de
Pelikaan. 2010. ISBN:978-90-71608-27-8 ~ EAN:9789071608278
Calaway, Jared; Kotrosits, Maia; Lasser, Justin; Lillie, Celene; Taussig, Hal. The Thunder:
Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan (2010) ISBN-10:
0230105637 ISBN-13: 978-0230105638
Hoeller, Stephan. Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing.
Quest Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2002)
McBride, Daniel. www.perankhgroup.com/thunder.htm
McGuire, Anne. www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/thunder.shtml
Meyer, Marvin W, Robinson, James M. The Nag Hammadi Scriptures: The Revised and
Updated Translation of Sacred Gnostic Texts Complete in One Volume. HarperOne; Int
Rep Rev edition (2009) Olsen, Nanna Liv Elkjr.
Thunder Perfect Mind or How Nonsense Makes Sense.
http://www.academia.edu/1864772/Thunder_Perfect_Mind__or_How_Nonsense_Makes_Sense
Uys, Pieter. Dark Consort by Cedric Victor and Jarboe.
www.scribd.com/document/74619080/Dark-Consort
Waskow, Arthur O. The "I" Who Spoke at Sinai-- and Nag Hamadi.
https://theshalomcenter.org/content/i-who-spoke-sinai-and-nag-hamadi

Linkography
http://deadercuckoo5.blogspot.com/2011/12/jarboe-cedric-victor-end-2006.html
www.discogs.com/Jarboe-Cedric-Victor-The-End/release/1421599

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