Sunday, May 07, 2006

Up the Down Staircase: Garmonbozia "Stairway to Heaven"

Religion does strange things to people. Sometimes their strangeness turns out to be truly incredibly amazingly amazing.

Turn up your speakers and prepare to be truly incredibly amazingly amazed.

Dutchman Jeroen Offerman, now a performance artist, explains:

"My parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and so I had a very strict Christian upbringing. There was a suspicion of rock and pop music, and some music, Led Zeppelin in particular, was branded downright evil. The rumor was that if you played Stairway to Heaven in reverse you could hear messages that would urge you to follow the devil's path. Supposedly even if you listened to the music in a normal manner you would subconsciously pick up these messages and act accordingly.

"In my early teens, I destroyed some music that I thought I shouldn't listen to or have at home. Stairway to Heaven was a difficult one for my friends and me. We thought the song and the lyrics were so utterly beautiful and yet we couldn't listen to it out of fear of what could happen to us if we did. That's the tension I felt by listening to this record: a teenage attraction to something dangerously beautiful.

"I am still intrigued how these myths are created and the effect they can have. So I started to learn to sing the song and its lyrics in reverse.

"After three months the job was done. I went up to the steps outside Saint Paul's Cathedral in London and performed it for an audience of confused passers-by, pigeons, and a video camera. Back home I reversed the tape and put a karaoke track underneath."

Link to Offerman's site

Download the video

Here's more info about Jeroen Offerman.

Artwork: M. C. Escher, of course

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  1. That is just too cool. Thanks so much for providing the link. I want to see the version before he reversed it too!

  2. I find it laughable to imagine the Devil sitting in Hell penning such tunes as, "Yellow Submarine", "We Are The World", and "Stairway To Heaven". Sometimes I wonder what a shallow, small world it is that these people live in.


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