The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

Hebeloma's Abyssal Aria
Hebeloma Crustuliniforme
with illustrations by Julia K. Keffer
(link to main page of score)


April 1, 2022
She woke, not knowing the hour save that her body had yet to recover from her journey. Rising, she quietly left the home of Adranís and Phoebe. By blue light, she wandered through the alley back to the plaza. She did not linger before the cecaelia but rather retraced her earlier path to the pier. She sat at the edge of the cold stone with her legs dangling in the lake The temptation proved too great as, without a splash, she slipped into the water. She swam to an outcropping not sixty feet from shore. Climbing onto the stone, she slept peacefully upon this rocky perch.

written while listening to:  Giovanni Di Domenico & Alexandra Grimal - Chergui, disc 1 (Ayler Records, AYLCD-141-142, 2014, France, cdx2,

April 2, 2022
No one came to claim Eurymedusa as she lay upon her remote bed of stone nor was any alarm raised in the village when Phoebe found the guest room unoccupied. She was not their prisoner. She swam back to shore, intending to return to the home of her hosts. In the plaza, she encountered a mother leading a girl of five or six by the hand. The appearance of a stranger, who by the soaking white gown had clearly just emerged from the lake, provoked curious but discreet glances from the woman and wide-eyed wonder in the child.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Aida, sides C & D (Honest Jon's Records, HJRLP205, 2018 (orig. 1980), United Kingdom, lpx2,

April 3, 2022
Eurymedusa slowed her pace to watch the mother empty a glass amphora of faint blue liquid into the annular pool at the center of plaza. She then dipped the vessel into the water, refilling it with a fluid in which the radiance was replenished. Without so much as a nod in parting, she and her daughter exited the plaza. Eurymedusa was drawn like a moth to the pure, azure light of the pool. She sat on the stone wall and peered into the water, searching for signs of octopus or squid but no movement caught her eye.

written while listening to:  Hans Reichel - Coco Bolo Nights (FMP, FMP CD 10, 1989, Germany, cd,

April 4, 2022
Eurymedusa idly speculated regarding the mystery of the light within the liquid. Sitting beside a pool of the luminous fluid did not improve her understanding of its origin. She dipped a finger in the water and pressed it against her tongue. The salty water tasted no different than any droplet from the Great Sea. She accepted that she had been brought to this village for a purpose, that much Adranís and Moros had intimated. Alone in the underground plaza, she contemplated whether ignorance of her purpose was a cause for concern or anxiety.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Tenshi No Gijinka (Tzadik, TZ 7203, 1995, United States, cd,

April 5, 2022
She was saved from further introspection when the child, whom she had encountered earlier, returned to the plaza. Accompanied not by her mother, she held the hand of another girl, perhaps an older sibling. The obvious subject of their keen interest, Eurymedusa waited quietly as the two children hesitantly made their way toward her. They paused midway, conferring among themselves in whispers, all the while keeping their gaze on the pale, wet woman, seated beneath the stone cecaelia. She had a strange premonition that they meant to put her to a test, though in what manner she did not know.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker - Process And Reality (FMP, FMP CD 37, 1991, Germany, cd,

April 6, 2022
Eventually, the curiosity of the girls overcame their trepidation and they arrived before Eurymedusa. In appearance, neither girl bore any traits that one might attribute to denizens of the subterranean world. Their hair was not prematurely white nor were their teeth sharpened into fangs. One of them carried the faint aroma of almonds, as if she had recently been bathed then anointed by a loving mother with perfume. Eurymedusa introduced herself by name. They meekly responded "Elissa" and "Myra" then appeared shocked, as if they had been tricked into revealing too much. Eurymedusa's laughter at their expressions elicited reluctant smiles.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy - More Monk (Soul Note, 121210-2, 1991, Italy, cd,

April 7, 2022
Eurymedusa wanted to be wary. She supposed that creatures of the depths possessed the ability to disguise themselves in innocent forms, so as to lull travelers into a false sense of security before devouring them. Yet these two girls, as they climbed up on the stone wall to sit on either side of her, were so genuinely child-like that Eurymedusa threw caution to the wind. Whether they were constructs of a malevolent mind or not, she intended to succumb to their charms lest she deprive herself of the very essence of what makes a life worth living.

written while listening to:  Roscoe Mitchell Sextet - Sound (Delmark Records, DE-408, 1996 (orig. 1966), United States, cd,

April 8, 2022
"Is it true," asked Myra, the younger girl, "that you are a holy woman?" Even when Eurymedusa had surrendered her fate in the labyrinth to divine providence, such a conception of herself had never entered her mind. "Who told you that?" she countered. "Everyone was getting ready for the holiday," said Elissa, "but they were worried. We can't celebrate without a festival queen. And you arrived so late. Myra said you abandoned us." The younger girl squealed in denial, "I did not!" She began to cry and only the embrace of Eurymedusa proved able to staunch the flow of tears.

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith's Great Lakes Quartet - The Chicago Symphonies, disc 3: Pearl Symphony (TUM Records, TUM BOX 004, 2021, Finland, cdx4,

April 9, 2022
"I'm afraid," Eurymedusa admitted, "that I don't know what holiday you have in mind." Elissa lacked the discretion to conceal her astonishment. She could scarcely believe that their festival queen not only had arrived late but apparently had failed to prepare herself in even the most rudimentary matters. "It's just the most important holiday of the year," said Myra in a lecturing tone learned from her parents. She glanced over her shoulder at the gargantuan stone statue looming above them. "It's for the ocean mother, of course." At mention of the cecaelia, Myra hid her face in her hands.

written while listening to:  Ivo Perelman & Sylvie Courvoisier - Brass and Ivory Tales, disc 5 (Fundacja Słuchaj!, FSR 11|2021, 2021, Poland, cdx9,

April 10, 2022
Eurymedusa would not speak a lie, though she had no compunction against holding her tongue. In a conspiratorial whisper, she shared a secret with the two girls. "I don't especially think of myself as a holy woman." Each waited with bated breath for her to reveal her true nature. "Actually," she said, "I am a swimmer." Across the woman separating them, the girls exchanged confused looks. "What's the difference?" Myra asked. In this way, Eurymedusa was made to understand that the villagers held in reverence all creatures who dwelt in the sea.

written while listening to:  Muhal Richard Abrams Octet - View from Within (Black Saint, BSR 0081, 1985, Italy, lp,

April 11, 2022
Eurymedusa led the two girls down to the lake. Without reservation, she waded into the water from the shore. "Come swim with me," she beckoned to the children. Myra stepped forward gingerly until the water rose to her ankles. "It's too cold," she complained. In a show of bravery, Elissa removed her clothes and, with a running start, leapt into the lake. Though she could not hide the goosebumps that rose on her skin, she called to Myra to join her. Soon, all three were splashing in the shallows, warming themselves with the exertion of their play.

written while listening to:  Stephan Crump & Mary Halvorson - Secret Keeper: Emerge (Intakt Records, Intakt CD 249, 2015, Switzerland, cd,

April 12, 2022
The swimmers' attention was drawn to a woman, who had appeared on shore. She called for the girls to get out of the water. It was apparent to Eurymedusa that she struggled to keep the panic from her voice. Elissa also detected the frantic undertone and obediently replied, "Coming, Mama." Myra, who had finally warmed herself, resisted. The pleading from the shore grew more insistent. It was as if the woman feared that Eurymedusa was some aquatic monster, which could at any moment snatch these babes from their mother, drowning them in the cold, dark waters of the underground lake.

written while listening to:  Masada - Hei (DIW, DIW-899, 1995, Japan, cd,

April 13, 2022
Word quickly spread in the small village that the festival queen had attempted to lure two children into the lake. Only a mother's instinct had saved the girls before they were tragically lost to the depths. When this rumor reached Adranís and Phoebe, the couple confirmed that their guest room was empty. The old woman went alone to the deserted shore where she espied Eurymedusa swimming languidly. Amidst the black waters, her white gown flashed like the silver underside of sardines, fluidly shifting in her natural element.

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke - Remove the Need (Extreme, XCD 018, 1993, Australia, cd,

April 14, 2022
She was never called to introduce herself to anyone directly for she had shared her name with the two girls, who had revealed it to their parents; from them it spread to the rest of the village. Nor was Eurymedusa asked to explain her intentions with respect to Myra and Elissa. Thus, she missed the opportunity to exonerate herself from the unspoken accusations of attempted pedicide. Among the adults, everyone knew that the festival queen was dangerous. Fortunately, it was the nature of the position that her stay in the village would be brief.

written while listening to:  Tom Rainey Trio w/ Mary Halvorson & Ingrid Laubrock - Pool School (Clean Feed, CF185CD, 2010, Portugal, cd,

April 15, 2022
Phoebe thought it best to isolate Eurymedusa from the residents of the community. Under the pretext of gathering breakfast, she led her on a round-about path to a narrow gully, connected to the lake by a tenuous ribbon of water. In a lonely stretch of caves, Phoebe handed the blue lantern to her guest before kneeling beside the stream. There she blindly ran her fingers over the sand and rocks lining the bed. When she found a mussel, she raised it like a prize to show Eurymedusa, who responded with a lackluster smile but nevertheless joined in the hunt.

written while listening to:  Lawrence "Butch" Morris - Testament: A Conduction Collection, disc 10: Conduction #50 (New World Records/CounterCurrents, 80478-2, 1995, United States, cdx10+book,

April 16, 2022
We have not yet had the opportunity to paint our portrait of Phoebe, so let us take this quiet moment to remedy the omission. Awash in liquid blue light, Phoebe appeared to Eurymedusa as a creature who dwelt between worlds. At ease in the subterranean environs, she possessed in equal measure the resilience of a woman of common stock, who had seen much transpire without the benefit of filter or softening lens. Few illusions had outlasted her years and the enthusiasm with which she gathered mollusks revealed her enduring devotion to labor on behalf of those whom she loved.

written while listening to:  Pauline Oliveros - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970, disc 8 (Important Records, IMPREC352, 2012, United States, cdx12,

April 17, 2022
While she worked, Phoebe did not wait for Eurymedusa to ply her with questions. Rather, the old woman spoke of what she imagined would be most useful to her guest. In no hurry to return, she began in a meandering way. "I wasn't born underground, so I know what it is like to live beneath both sun and sea." She dropped another mussel in the basket. "I find in the language of your body the same reservations that I felt long ago upon my arrival here. I wanted to shout, 'How can anyone be expected to live in darkness?'"

written while listening to:  Joëlle Léandre & Jérôme Bourdellon - Evidence (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1010, 2013, United States, cd,

April 18, 2022
"Of course, the same can be said of those who dwell on the surface. It is the lot of sons to die in war and mothers in childbirth. If you are lucky enough to be born in a time of peace, misfortune arrives in the form of famine and, if not famine, disease. What are women to do?" Phoebe looked up from her task to find Eurymedusa working intently, but she sensed the girl was listening. "To live best is to find a people and a place where she is sheltered as much as possible from the brutal caprices of life."

written while listening to:  David Murray Octet - Home (Black Saint, BSR 0055, 1982, Italy, lp,

April 19, 2022
Eurymedusa had been selected by lottery as one of fourteen youths to be offered to the Minotaur, so that the Cretan armies besieging Athens would sail home. To lecture her on the whims of fate was unnecessary. Her life stood as an exemplary tale of the helplessness of individuals caught in the web that others called destiny. Reassurances of the nobility of her sacrifice, which spared her family and the rest of the city, dissuaded her not in the least from viewing with dissatisfaction her role as a pawn. Of these thoughts, she said nothing.

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman - Body Meta (Artists House, AH 1, 1978, United States, lp,

April 20, 2022
Phoebe waited for Eurymedusa's gaze to settle on her before continuing. "What to do then," she asked, "when a woman finds her people and her place?" She answered her own question, saying, "She must fill her home with what love and wisdom she can gather. She must share her good fortune unreservedly so those who dwell in her village learn from it and make common cause for kindness to flourish." She paused before adding, "She must also make this life feel as ordinary as possible so those outside her reach do not recognize it as worthy of envy."

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - Alto Saxophone Improvisations 1979, sides A & B (Arista, A2L 8602, 1979, United States, lpx2,

April 21, 2022
"Throughout the world, happiness is unevenly distributed. A woman of little account, such as I am, works only to improve her local situation. Other women..." Here, Phoebe glanced meaningfully at Eurymedusa. "Other women are subject to a greater calling. They are asked not only to improve their own lot but the lives of many who reside in distant places, most of whom they will never meet." Having said what she wanted to say, Phoebe fell silent. A look at the basket told her that they had gathered too many mussels, but these too could be shared.

written while listening to:  Susan Alcorn - Concentration (Recorded, 017, 2004, United States, cd,

April 22, 2022
In blue light, Phoebe examined the expression on Eurymedusa's face. There she found a hardness in the glint of her eyes and the set of her jaw, which suggested that the young woman had not been entirely receptive to her message. She felt compelled to add, "If you deny that our lives can have meaning down here, then you must deny purpose to the lives of those who dwell above as well. If you see only darkness here," said the old woman, "you have missed the most important part."

written while listening to:  Paul Panhuysen - Partitas for Long Strings (Experimental Intermedia Records, XI 122, 1998, United States, cd,

April 23, 2022
As they followed the winding stream back to the village, Eurymedusa said, "I too have lived in darkness."

"Yes, so I see." The woman paused. She turned and pierced Eurymedusa with a steady gaze. "I see also that you continue to carry the darkness within you."

The words came stumbling out. "I have already made my sacrifice." To be sure, Eurymedusa had not intended to voice this admission but her ability to swallow her tongue, while admirable, was not without limits.

"No, my child," Phoebe replied, "your years of laboring on behalf of others have only begun."

written while listening to:  The Cecil Taylor Unit - Live in Bologna (Leo Records, CD LR 100, 1988, United Kingdom, cd,

April 24, 2022
As they arrived at the entrance to her home, Phoebe asked her guest, "Did I answer your questions?" Eurymedusa did not want to appear impolite but there had been only one question for which she desired an explanation. This topic her hostess had curiously avoided. The time for reticence had passed. "What are the duties of the festival queen?"

At this moment, Adranís appeared in the entrance. He eyed the basket of mussels in Eurymedusa's hands. "Breakfast!", he declared with gusto. Thus her question remained unanswered for the time being.

written while listening to:  Bert Turetzky, George Lewis & Vinny Golia - Triangulations II (Kadima Collective, KCR 30, 2010, Israel, cd,

April 25, 2022
Later, Phoebe examined Eurymedusa's gown with a seamstress's eye. No expense had been spared in its manufacture. The fine linen, likely imported from Kemet far to the south, had been embroidered with white thread in a diagonal mesh along the hem. Usually the festival queen did not arrive in such finery, prompting the village to provide a decorative peplos. In this case, Phoebe merely insisted that Eurymedusa disrobe so that she might wash the accumulated dust from the gown. She did not inquire if Eurymedusa preferred to be rid of the garment in which she had been offered to the Minotaur.

written while listening to:  Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols, George Lewis, Joëlle Léandre & Günter Sommer - The Storming of the Winter Palace (Intakt Records, Intakt 003, 1988, Switzerland, lp,

April 26, 2022
Adranís departed the home but the two women were not alone long before Elissa, the elder of the two girls whom Eurymedusa had met in the plaza, wandered into the cave. She greeted Phoebe as "Grandma", although it was not clear if this moniker was intended as a term of affection or an indication of familial relationship. The old woman replied to her visitor, asking, "Does your mother know you're here?" Despite the girl's ambiguous shrug, Phoebe allowed her to settle in among them. The girl giggled when she noticed Eurymedusa wearing Phoebe's clothes, while her gown dried.

written while listening to:  Magda Mayas, Pierre-Yves Martel & Éric Normand - Boule-spiel (Tour de Bras, TDB 9025cd, 2017, Canada, cd,

April 27, 2022
"I wanted to say goodbye," said Elissa to Eurymedusa. "I'll be there tonight but, of course, I won't be allowed to speak to you." In this way, Eurymedusa understood that her wait for the festival to begin would be brief. The girl referred to "tonight" but, as always, the distinction between night and day was arbitrary underground. Eurymedusa wondered momentarily how the villagers synchronized their lives dwelling in perpetual darkness. Emerging from this thought, she found Elissa's attention still focused on her. "Thank you," she replied to the girl, "for both your hello and goodbye."

written while listening to:  John Coltrane Quartet - Ballads (Impulse!, AS-32, 1963, United States, lp,

April 28, 2022
Phoebe braided Eurymedusa's long, black hair. She had a particular pattern in mind and did not seek permission or advice. Elissa watched raptly. When the old woman had finished, the girl asked to have her hair braided as well, a request to which Phoebe agreed. The style she used for the girl was purposely distinct from that reserved for the festival queen. As Phoebe worked, she commented to the girl, "Your mother will know where you were." By way of defense, we suppose, Elissa explained to Eurymedusa, "I told Mama that you weren't going to drown us."

written while listening to:  Vijay Iyer - Solo (The ACT Company, ACT 9497-2, 2010, Germany, cd,

April 29, 2022
After several hours, Phoebe shooed the girl home. The old woman disappeared into the back room and returned holding a phial of scented oil, with which she anointed Eurymedusa on her forehead, on each side of her neck, at her wrists and the small of her back. Dressed again in the gown, Eurymedusa was scrutinized from all angles before Phoebe declared her perfectly fit for the festival, at least in appearance. "You should compose yourself now," she advised. "How will you prepare?" Eurymedusa replied, "I would like to go swimming," to which Phoebe exclaimed in alarm, "Out of the question!"

written while listening to:  System Friche - Le Chant des Pistes (no label, no catalog #, 2021, France, digital files,

April 30, 2022
During these meticulous preparations, Eurymedusa came to realize that she was not the first to be made ready for the festival by the old woman. She went so far as to privately imagine that Phoebe once might have even served as the festival queen herself, perhaps the first one. This notion, unsubstantiated as it was, nevertheless helped soothe Eurymedusa's nerves. She did not know what to expect but, given the care with which she had been attended, felt sure that if she lacked some essential information, her hostess would share it.

written while listening to:  Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Volume 1 (Aagoo Records, AGO 039, 2012 (orig. 2007), United States, lp,

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