At night the choppers buzz the bamboo roof of the jungle, dumping from three thousand feet to little more than a hundred, circling, climbing, circling again, no LZ to land in, no casualties to pick up. Above the roar of the rotorwash come the shrieks of the damned: wails, moans, plaintive cries of Vietnamese. It’s real William Castle stuff, weird sounds and screaming meemies, but even knowing it’s coming from a tape recorder, even hearing the static hiss of the loudspeakers mounted on the Hueys, it still spooks the shit out of the VC. “The Wandering Soul,” it’s called—the sounds of dead Cong, their bodies not given a proper burial, their spirits helplessly wandering the earth. Psychological warfare. Inner Sanctum meets Vietnam. Down in the tunnels Charlie hears it, knows it’s a con, tries to sleep but can’t, the damn stuff goes on half the night. The wails grow louder the lower the choppers fly, then trail off, to suitably eerie effect, as they climb away. Until the next chopper comes with its cargo of souls in a box.
It was to be a quick peek through a hand-wide crack, but enough to risk disillusionment and the dispersal of all the enchanting traumas he had articulated in his brain and his books, scattering them like those peculiar shadows he supposed lingered in that room. And the voices—would he hear their hissing which heralded her presence in a zone swirling with roping shapes? He kept his eyes fixed upon his hand on the doorknob, turning it gently to nudge open the door. So the first thing he saw was the way it, his hand, took on a rosy dawn-like glow, then a deeper twilight crimson as it was bathed more directly by the odd illumination within the room.
The flesh surrenders itself, he thought. Eternity takes back its own. Our bodies stirred these waters briefly, danced with a certain intoxication before the love of life and self, dealt with a few strange ideas, then submitted to the instruments of Time. What can we say of this? I occurred. I am not . . . yet, I occurred.
John Tocher surveys the free music landscape for new and old releases encompassing the realms of avant garde, experimental, electronic, musique concréte, industrial, dada-ist music. A transplant from the Los Angeles area, he now makes his home in southeast Texas near the border with Louisiana --deep in swamp country, where the ambiance is enhanced by cicadas and the occasional hurricane.