The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

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


August 1, 2022
From the shadows of her aerie, Eurymedusa observed those who traveled the road. Among them was a curious pair composed of an old woman and a child who trailed lackadaisically behind her. Unlike other visitors to the valley, they did not adhere to the main path but repeatedly wandered from it. The old woman occupied the role of tutor, instructing her young student in the identification of each plant and fungus at which she stopped. They were too distant from Eurymedusa for her to eavesdrop but it seemed apparent that the subject of the lesson was herb-lore.

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal & Antoine Cegarra - la vapeur au-dessus du riz, disc 1 (Ovni Records, OVN0004, 2020, France, cdx2,

August 2, 2022
Eurymedusa judged the old woman and the girl, by their appearance, to be poor. Each wore a simple, well-worn peplos. The wide cloth of the old woman's garment formed sleeves over her upper arms; gray hair fell down the back. The girl had pulled the fold of her peplos over her head, shielding her dark brown hair from the sun. She looked to be about seven, while her companion was far too elderly to be her mother. Still, they shared a familiar routine between them. The girl carefully placed in her sack the blossoms and roots collected by the other.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Standards (Tzadik, TZ 7620, 2007 (rec. 2002), United States, cd,

August 3, 2022
Initially, the herbalist and her apprentice appeared irregularly in the valley but soon their visits became daily. Eurymedusa suspected that they searched for more than just herbs. Her intuition proved correct when, one morning, as she watched from the darkness of the cave mouth, the pair ascended the mountainside, making a beeline toward her. The girl fell behind, though whether from exhaustion or disinterest, Eurymedusa did not know. When there could be no mistaking their destination, she retreated into the grotto to wait upon the stone slab beyond the pool. Strangely, she felt greater trepidation at their approach than she had for the huntsman.

written while listening to:  Hans Reichel with Fred Frith & Kazuhisa Uchihashi - Stop Complaining / Sundown (FMP, FMP CD 36, 1991, Germany, cd,

August 4, 2022
In the shade of the cave, the herbalist waited for her apprentice to catch up. This pair hailed from the same stock as the huntsman and Greek was not their native tongue. Eurymedusa heard the old woman admonish her charge in a faint whisper using a language that she did not understand. In her home of Athens, any remaining indigenous people had long since been displaced or absorbed. Only here in the unclaimed wilds between settlements was it possible to find those who still clung to native ways. Side by side, the two presented themselves at the entrance of the grotto.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Next, Let's Try Changing The Shape (Swordfish Records, SFKH 001/2, 2005, United Kingdom, lpx2,

August 5, 2022
During the day, some light filtered into the grotto, allowing Eurymedusa to examine her visitors at close range. The girl held in her hands the sack, which she used for collecting ingredients, while the herbalist carried what appeared to be a picnic basket formed of woven reeds and covered with cloth. The woman's face was tanned and lined; wisps of gray hair hung over her brow. If she had ever entertained aspirations to feminine fashion, she had long ago abandoned the effort. Shadows collected in her gaunt cheeks and the wells of her eyes, concealing her expression.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker - Six of One (Incus Records, INCUS 39, 1982, United Kingdom, lp,

August 6, 2022
As for the girl, she seemed unlike a street urchin. Care had been taken in patching a hole in her peplos. The straps on her sandals were frayed but whole. Her cheeks, which yet possessed the roundness of childhood, were clean and free of lesions, her hair neatly braided. The herbalist formally announced their presence, speaking in Greek but one word, "Sybil." She then performed a deferential bowing of her head. The girl delayed until, after several silent but increasingly irritated urgings of her tutor, she reluctantly reproduced a curt gesture of obeisance.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy Quartet - Revenue (Soul Note, 121234-2, 1995, Italy, cd,

August 7, 2022
The herbalist perceived in the resident of the cave largely what she had expected to find: a woman without any exterior sign of a monstrous nature. Eurymedusa was, perhaps, younger than she had anticipated but not especially so. Her fine, white gown betrayed a luxury not tied to this cave. The visitor guessed, at least partially correctly, that Eurymedusa had belonged to a citizen family and had forsaken that life to settle here. She supposed the reason to be the obvious one, namely that the principal duty of women in Greek life, child-rearing, had not appealed to her.

written while listening to:  Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound Ensemble - 3X 4Eye (Black Saint, BSR 0050, 1981, Italy, lp,

August 8, 2022
The young apprentice saw Eurymedusa in a different light than did her tutor, someone not too distant from her own age, who had escaped the constraints of the city to live freely, according to her own rules. She inspired terror in men and, by her inscrutable countenance and regal bearing, some degree of fear in the girl as well. An envy that bordered on resentment swelled in the heart of the apprentice, for she was an orphan, rescued, ostensibly, from a more dire fate by the herbalist, and even now she sought to find her own way in the world.

written while listening to:  Peter Kowald, Wadada Leo Smith & Günter Sommer - Touch the Earth — Break the Shells (FMP, FMP CD 67, 1997 (rec. 1979 & 1981), Germany, cd,

August 9, 2022
Separated by the shallow pool, Eurymedusa kept the excitement from her voice as she addressed her first pilgrims. "What question do you put to me?" she asked them in a solemn manner. The old woman exchanged glances with her apprentice but neither replied. Silence settled on the still water until Eurymedusa broke it, saying, "Have you not come to hear your fortune told?" She hid her disappointment when the herbalist answered, somewhat apologetically, "To be blunt, I'd rather not, unless you have your heart set on it."

written while listening to:  Ivo Perelman & Vijay Iyer - Brass and Ivory Tales, disc 9 (Fundacja Słuchaj!, FSR 11|2021, 2021, Poland, cdx9,

August 10, 2022
It fell then to the herbalist to guide the conversation toward a destination of her choosing. She opted to begin with a house-warming gift. She nodded at her basket. "We have brought you bread, baked this morning, and olive oil." Lifting the cloth from the basket, the smell of fresh bread filled the grotto. Surviving as she had on a diet of fruit and odd bits of scurrying protein, Eurymedusa proved unable to refuse the offer. She strode across the pool and the trio ate the entire loaf in the cool shadows of the entrance to the cave.

written while listening to:  Muhal Richard Abrams - Colors in Thirty-Third (Black Saint, BSR 0091, 1987, Italy, lp,

August 11, 2022
During this meal an informal exchange of names was attempted. The girl addressed her companion as Petrosélīnon, which literally translates to rock-celery, a term for parsley. Henceforth, we follow her lead and refer to the herbalist as Old Parsley. Because she was expected to continue the tradition, upon her adoption, the girl had been renamed Vlastaráki or Sprig, who would one day assume the mantle of New Parsley. Perhaps due to the colorful monikers or due to her fear of being discovered as an escapee from King Minos' labyrinth, Eurymedusa stumbled over sharing her own name and eventually fell silent.

written while listening to:  Mary Halvorson Quintet - Bending Bridges (Firehouse 12 Records, FH12-04-08-016, 2012, United States, lpx2,

August 12, 2022
Old Parsley assumed that the solitary woman had good reason for refusing to divulge her name. She made it the first order of business to assign her a new appellation, as she had done for Sprig. "How did you get here?" she asked. "I walked along paths at the bottom of the Great Sea," Eurymedusa answered truthfully. "To what end have you come?" asked Old Parsley next. "The Ocean Mother sent me to set the world of men aright." At this declaration, neither the herbalist nor her apprentice registered the surprise that we might have expected at being in the company of a divinely appointed messenger.

written while listening to:  Masada - Tet (DIW, DIW-933, 1998, Japan, cd,

August 13, 2022
The necessity of water in the grotto became immediately clear. They sat in the presence of a nereid, or so Old Parsley announced to her apprentice. To find one of her kind outside the sea was a rarity, enabled only by the perpetually replenished cistern. "Of the fifty daughters of Nereus, you must be one." She hazarded a guess. "Are you Thetis?" Eurymedusa shook her head. Old Parsley went through several other names, until Eurymedusa understood her purpose. "Are you Eupompe?" asked the herbalist. Eurymedusa nodded, "So you have named me."

written while listening to:  Mats Gustafsson & Jim O'Rourke - Xylophonen Virtuosen (Incus Records, INCUS CD 38, 1999, United Kingdom, cd,

August 14, 2022
Thus introduced, Old Parsley and Sprig continued their discussion with Eupompe, Sybil of the Sea. "With which temple are you aligned?" she asked. Eupompe shook her head. "I am not that kind of oracle. No priests control me, nor use me to wring coin from those who seek my aid." This news was both good and bad to the herbalist. It opened many possibilities but it also created a dangerous situation for the sybil and any associated with her, should she prove too popular or provide prophesies at odds with the aims of the clergy of the surrounding area.

written while listening to:  Ingrid Laubrock & Andy Milne - Fragile (Intakt Records, Intakt CD 379, 2022, Switzerland, cd,

August 15, 2022
"Why have you come, if not for prophecy?" Eurymedusa asked the herbalist. The old woman did not beat about the bush. "I perceive an opportunity for mutual advantage." Folding the cloth, she returned it to the basket. "As you have likely surmised, I am a traveling pharmacist. I tend to the women of this coast, as far south as Thyrea and west to Tegea. My remedies are especially efficacious for treating ailments of the stomach and the skin. Some of these women suffer from maladies beyond my tinctures and balms, but well within the abilities of a sybil."

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Mass / Mässa (1988-2004), disc 3 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA044, 2022, Austria, cdx7,

August 16, 2022
Old Parsley continued, "Not only would access to you aid my patients but it would also burnish my reputation and improve my business." She found it unnecessary to describe her humble circumstances since there was no pretense of luxury about either of them. True to her role as merchant, Old Parsley supposed that the sybil also required an explicit benefit from their partnership, so she added, "In exchange, Eupompe, you need someone to guide pilgrims to this remote cave and to provide you with food in the winter months when the trees offer naught but bark to foragers."

written while listening to:  Pauline Oliveros - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970, disc 6: Fed Back (Important Records, IMPREC352, 2012, United States, cdx12,

August 17, 2022
Although Eurymedusa was not predisposed to view life as a series of transactions, as did the herbalist, the allure of a reliable supply of food in the winter was not lost on her. She sat in silence, gazing out the mouth of the cave. From time to time her eyes settled on one or the other of her guests, who waited patiently. She enjoyed the freedom to consider her options at length, but the herbalist was bound by appointments. Hesitant to hurry one who conversed with the gods, Old Parsley nevertheless prodded her, "Does my proposal meet with your approval?"

written while listening to:  Sainkho Namchylak - Letters (Leo Records, CD LR 190, 1993, United Kingdom, cd,

August 18, 2022
"You know where I live and what I do," answered Eupompe. "If, by my service, I can provide aid to any in this land, be they your clients or otherwise, I am bidden to do so. Should you be able to induce, on my behalf, a modest offering to sustain me in lean months from the pilgrims whom you escort to my door, I would not be averse to accepting this charity. However, should one in need, without means to pay your fee, seek an audience with me, you are not to turn them away because of poverty."

written while listening to:  David Murray - I Want To Talk About You (Black Saint, 120 105-1, 1989, Italy, lp,

August 19, 2022
Her business concluded, Old Parsley made to rise but the sybil waylaid her with a gesture. "A moment," she said. To the apprentice she now directed her attention. "Do you have a question to put to me?" The girl, shy and stubborn, harbored many doubts but remained adamant that she would not give the sybil the pleasure of forcing her to admit the uncertainty, which so plagued her. A moment of tension passed between them before, wordlessly, the apprentice rose to her feet, an action that the herbalist accepted as a signal to depart.

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman - Ornette on Tenor (Atlantic, SD 1394, 1962, United States, lp,

August 20, 2022
Alone, Eurymedusa returned to her stone seat in the cistern. She was beset by a sense of unreality. The notion that a divine cecaelia had sent her to this place so that she might dispense prophecies to guide the lives of women and men seemed implausible even to her, who had experienced it. Probably, she rationalized, it had been a hallucination induced by the squid's toxin. Still, she was here and could not resist the forward current of time. She hoped that she had handled the matter with the herbalist correctly, but she had no way of gauging her success.

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - Creative Orchestra Music 1976 (Arista, AL 4080, 1976, United States, lp,

August 21, 2022
The apprentice continued in her largely silent role as the herbalist went about their business. They spent the majority of their hours walking, either in search of medicinal herbs or from one patient to the next. Widely recognized, they were allowed admittance to each town without inquiry but also without greeting. It was accepted that Old Parsley, neither citizen nor slave, worked outside the established halls of medicine. Only because some in prominent positions occasionally requested her services was she allowed to persist in her unhealthy example of feminine independence.

written while listening to:  Lê Quan Ninh, Michel Doneda & Steve Robins - Brame (Ouïe-Dire Production, CP 0209, 2002, France, mini cd, & Isabelle Duthoit, Kristof Guez & Marc Pichelin - Bords de Mhère (Ouïe-Dire Production, CP 0210, 2002, France, mini cd,

August 22, 2022
The apprentice did not immediately comprehend the herbalist's approach to liaise on behalf of Eupompe and regarded it as ineffective. While preparing a poultice in a kitchen in Lerna, Old Parsley spoke to the cook of her visit to the sybil. When the lady of the house interrupted their conversation and expressed incredulity that the herbalist had survived the encounter, Old Parsley assured her that the predations of the oracle had been somewhat exaggerated. In this way, she began to normalize relations between Eupompe and the people who would come to claim her as their own.

written while listening to:  Emanuele Maniscalco - VÆVER (no label, no catalog #, 2020, Denmark, digital files,

August 23, 2022
The pair dwelt in the village where Old Parsley had been born, residing in an abandoned hut. When the roof leaked, they gathered patches of thatch to seal it. Sprig was often called upon to scale the sloped roof for even her slight weight put its strength to the test. At night, they lay cloth mats on the earthen floor. The apprentice drifted to sleep while, to the song of crickets, Old Parsley recited, in lieu of bedtime stories, a mixture of herb lore and anecdotes of local personalities, all necessary knowledge in pursuit of their trade.

written while listening to:  Cecil Taylor & Buell Neidlinger - New York City R&B (Barnaby Records, KZ 31035, 1972, United States, lp,

August 24, 2022
"Eupompe is not the first oracle to come out of the sea," said Old Parsley, as she lay on her back, to a half-asleep Sprig. "When I was your age, the Ocean Mother sent us another of her many daughters. Like Eupompe, she was naïve and foolish, so naturally the people loved her too much. Her prophecies did not contradict the doctrine of the priests but the wild adoration caused her to earn their enmity all the same. Arrested on charges of heresy, she was sentenced to death. For the first time I witnessed the stoning of a woman."

written while listening to:  George Lewis - Endless Shout (Tzadik, TZ 7054, 2000, United States, cd,

August 25, 2022
That night, Sprig dreamt of a silver moon that led her to the cave of the oracle. Only in dream did she find the courage to cast off her pride and address Eupompe. "Old Parsley says she took me in because I was abandoned and the life she offered me was better than being torn apart by wild dogs or sold into slavery. Is it true that this life we have is to be judged merely as the better of grim alternatives?" The shadowy sybil mouthed a reply that proved indecipherable, given the general fuzziness of dreams.

written while listening to:  Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile - Snark Horse, disc 2 (Pi Recordings, PI90, 2021, United States, cdx6,

August 26, 2022
It seems both Old Parsley and her apprentice roused in the middle of the night. By the pattern of their breathing, each sensed that the other was also awake. They lay in a shared darkness, silent save for the sporadic, rattling call of a nearby nightjar. The herbalist kept to herself the notion that they must proceed carefully if they were to spare the sybil, and by extension themselves, a violent end. For her part, Sprig reciprocated this reticence, saying nothing of the combination of jealousy and frustration that their new business partner engendered in her.

written while listening to:  Magda Mayas & Tony Buck - Fluoresce (Monotype Records, mono050, 2012, Poland, cd,

August 27, 2022
In Tegea, while tending to a woman who could not sleep due to inflamed welts on her arms and back, Old Parsley recounted their picnic with the sybil. "Lo to any man who should attempt such an outing!" she added so as to limit the perceived docility of the sybil. "When I put this rash behind me," said her patient wistfully, "I have a thing or two I should like to ask of your friend." Old Parsley nodded noncommittally. "I don't see why not. I'll mention it to her the next time I pass by."

written while listening to:  John Coltrane Quartet - Crescent (Impulse!, AS-66, 1964, United States, lp,

August 28, 2022
As the season for planting winter wheat approached, local festivals honoring Demeter sprouted in each town. The generosity of citizens typically increased during celebrations so Old Parsley made sure to visit as many towns as possible at this time. As a result, she and her apprentice traveled extensively. Sometimes, the pair did not return home until midnight. In Lerna, they were kept so busy that they were forced to spend a night in town. Frugal to a fault, Old Parsley had them bed down in the loft of a stable, permeated by the reek of goat.

written while listening to:  Rudresh Mahanthappa - Mother Tongue (Pi Recordings, PI14, 2004, United States, cd,

August 29, 2022
Never a word of complaint passed the lips of the apprentice. Nor did she allow herself to express her exhaustion by falling behind her mentor as they hurried through the streets. She did not fear reprimand, for the old woman, while stern, treated her relatively well. Rather, Sprig was apparently stoic by nature, a pliable form coalesced around a hard kernel. Had she dwelt in an attentive home, she would have provoked worry in her parents. As it was, Old Parsley considered the unnatural fortitude of her young companion a stroke of good fortune, necessary in this line of work.

written while listening to:  Amidea Clotet - Trasluz (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS008, 2022, United States, cd,

August 30, 2022
Absent any means for the formal scheduling of appointments, the women who made up the herbalist's clientele also formed a network through which requests for her services were transmitted. As such, Old Parsley would be alerted by a patient in Thyrea to the ailment of a woman in Hysiae. Each spoke candidly of the illnesses of others, knowing this mechanism of communication also served them. Nevertheless, they exercised some discretion, using code words for certain pernicious maladies. So it was that Old Parsley came to know of a woman "in urgent need" of her ministrations in Lerna.

written while listening to:  Andrew Hill - Black Fire (Blue Note, BST 84151, 1964, United States, lp,

August 31, 2022
And what of our heroine, Eupompe née Eurymedusa? She bided her time in the cistern, waiting for the moment when she would be called to put the Ocean Mother's charge into action. Without a calendar, she relied on the foliage of the trees and the migration of birds to inform her that the month of Metageitnion gave way to Boedromion. Raised in Athens, she was a city girl whose knowledge of natural cycles was limited. Her uncertainty gave her pause; some nights she fell asleep convinced that she would be the worst sybil in the history of fortune-telling.

written while listening to:  The Charlie Mingus Jazz Workshop - Pithecanthropus Erectus (Atlantic, SD 1237, 1956, United States, lp,

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