The Transit of Rahu & Ketu


Screen shot for the entire composition.
The sound of fallen coins on the bathroom floor, a dropped dinner plate, a hubcap dislodged during a car crash.  It was a spinning, undulating sound of a dislodged and fumbling through my fingers, sticky, gooey, circular top of partially frozen orange juice concentrate can careening onto the kitchen counter that first grabbed my attention, when I was yet a young man back in the late sixties. I come across this sound with a certain frequency, like with buttons popping off my favorite sweater and spinning off onto the floor. Whenever I hear this dissipating, circular, edge planing waggle, usually some mishap has occurred.

I thought about producing this work for many years. Before digital recording the task seemed insurmountable because of the analog tape editing process. Even in a digital studio the task of recording, trimming, sorting and arranging 932 audio segments for 75 recorded circular objects took 3 months. This digital music concrete for Rahu & Ketu's ride through the cosmic train yard takes the form of a steep bell curve (see illustration above).
The Hindus believe that the mythological demons Rahu and Ketu cause solar eclipses. The gods and the demons once formed an alliance to produce a nectar that could give them immortality. When the nectar was being served to the gods, a demon, disguised as a god, sat between the Sun and the Moon and tried to procure some nectar. When the Sun and the Moon recognized the demon, Lord Visnu immediately severed his head. Unfortunately it was not fast enough, because the demon had already tasted a small quantity of nectar and had become immortal. Ever since, this demon is said to wreak vengeance upon the Sun and Moon whenever they come near. The head of the demon is known as Rahu who is considered as being alive because he tasted the nectar, but his tail known as Ketu, is in the world of the dead. In Hindu astrology Rahu and Ketu are known as two invisible planets. They are the enemies of the Sun and the Moon and at certain times of the year during conjunction or opposition, they swallow the Sun or the Moon causing either a solar or lunar eclipse. Rahu and Ketu are points in the astronomical sky refered to as the north and south lunar nodes. The ancient Hindu observers understood the cause of these eclipses and so they described this process in a language of metaphor that everyone could understand - a great festival celebration. Rahu & Ketu in your astrological chart is definitely not a good sign. As they move through a persons chart these characters usually presage a great deal of trouble. Let's face it, they are demons.