The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

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


December 1, 2022
The news spread quickly that both the son and wife of the Thyrean magistrate had consulted the sybil, who dwelt in a cave along the valley road north of Lerna. Even Polyxena, sequestered in her parents' house, heard rumor of the visit and wondered as to its purpose. At every village, the herbalist was beset with requests by would-be pilgrims. She had to institute an upper limit on the number of appointments; one every few days seemed acceptable to Eupompe and it allowed Old Parsley to perform her primary work as a healer.

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal & Benjamin Lévy - The Monkey in the Abstract Garden: Vagabondes (Ovni Records, no catalog #, 2021, France, digital files,

December 2, 2022
For the priests of the temple of Poseidon in Lerna, the visit of the magistrate's wife was the last straw. In deliberations behind closed doors, some within the priesthood called for public action, based on historical precedent. A blasphemy should be found within one of her prophecies. She should be tried and stoned as a heretic, according to the law. Another voice urged caution, warning of her popularity, "While it is essential that we purge this wayward influence from our faithful congregation, it would be unwise to provoke the common wrath by directly implicating the temple in the downfall of the oracle."

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - New Sights Old Sounds, disc 1 (Incus Records, CD 48/49, 2002 (orig. 1979), United Kingdom, cdx2,

December 3, 2022
From the factotum's earlier investigation, the temple council was well appraised of the vulnerability of the oracle. They thought her wholly unprotected. While aware of the huntsman's original account of her ferocity, the priests regarded this tale as the exaggeration of an ignorant drunkard, subsequently unsubstantiated. "She has, unfortunately, taken no precautions to prevent a wolf from entering her cave at night," said an aide to the high priest. "A folly," agreed the old man, with a sagacious nod of his bearded head, "in keeping with her general show of poor judgment."

written while listening to:  Hans Reichel - Variations on Jay (Table of the Elements, O 8, 1993, United States, 7",, Sologuitar (FMP, FMP S 5, 1975, Germany, 7",, Daxophone (Table of the Elements, Be 4, 1993, United States, 7",, untitled (Guitar Player Magazine, SOUNDPAGE #52, 1989, United States, one-sided flexi 7", & Tisch Null (Emphase Records, es-11, 2008, Germany, 7",

December 4, 2022
The factotum intended only to show the site to the assassin, passing along the empty road at midday. As he pointed out the mouth of the cave, their eyes caught movement at the crest of the ridge. A solitary woman in a white gown—surely the sybil—disappeared, descending down the far side. Without exchanging words, the pair climbed the slope, reaching the rocky summit long before Eurymedusa had finished the treacherous descent to the beach. They observed her wade into the sea, garbed in her gown. Unaware of her audience, she swam leisurely from the shore.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Saying I Love You, I Continue To Curse Myself (Blast First, BFFP 109 CD, 1996, United Kingdom, cd,

December 5, 2022
"The sea is rough today," said the assassin, a lanky man with a hard, angular face. There was only one interpretation of his words and distant expression. "This was not the council's plan," countered the factotum. "This is a better plan," replied his companion. "There is nothing more natural than a drowning." The factotum accepted the wisdom of exploiting this unanticipated opportunity. "The Ocean Mother has called her oracle back to her," he announced to the assassin. "That is what the people will say when her empty gown washes ashore."

written while listening to:  Andrew Hawkins & Evan Parker - Leaps In Leicester (Clean Feed, CF362CD, 2016, Portugal, cd,

December 6, 2022
The two men descended from the bluff, making no attempt to hide themselves from the swimmer out at sea. "Wait here," ordered the assassin when they stood at water's edge. "Waylay her if she slips past me." The man disrobed and waded through the surf, bearing no weapon save his large hands and the mechanical indifference required for his vocation. There was an easy rhythm to his stroke as he swam out to meet his quarry. The factotum remained on the beach. Every so often his eyes caught some part of the sybil's body break the surface of the water.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy - Torments: Solo in Kyoto (Morgue, MORGUE-01, 1979, Japan, lp,

December 7, 2022
The sea was choppy with the approach of an incoming storm. The assassin managed to catch glimpses of the sybil when a passing wave lifted him to its crest. Absorbed in the exercise of swimming, she seemed not to have detected him yet. Far from shore, he recognized the need to make brisk work of his task, lest there be a pair of drownings. By habit he preferred to kill quickly, adopting a business-like approach in these transactions. As a point of professional pride, he did not derive any cruel pleasure from the moment of death.

written while listening to:  Roscoe Mitchell - Duets with Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin (Wide Hive Records, WH-0311, 2013, United States, cd,

December 8, 2022
They came together, the two swimmers, one playing the role of shark and the other dolphin. The prey, however, was no helpless calf to be startled into paralysis by the mere appearance of a predator, no matter how abrupt. On the contrary, Eurymedusa had swum the Great Sea from Knossos to distant isles. She was counted among those blessed by the Ocean Mother. The outstretched hand that made to seize her ankle closed only on empty water as she effortlessly pivoted and dove with a preternatural grace into the shadowy depths.

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith & Jack DeJohnette - The Emerald Duets, disc 4 (TUM Records, TUM BOX 006, 2022, Finland, cdx5,

December 9, 2022
The assassin gave chase, following her down as if he were a hapless sailor being lured to his death by the flirtations of a sultry mermaid. Deeper and deeper he swam. Eurymedusa paused, turning to gauge his pursuit, which allowed him to close the distance between them. The water teased her black hair about her pale face as she casually observed his approach. With a twist of her waist and a flick of her feet, she darted away. The fluidity of her movements confounded the man. His cool demeanor gave way to fury as he realized that she toyed with him.

written while listening to:  Daniel Carter, Matthew Shipp, William Parker & Gerald Cleaver - Welcome Adventure! Vol. 2 (577 Records, 5837-2, 2020, United States, lp,

December 10, 2022
The assassin surfaced to catch his breath, only to be buffeted by wave after wave. He immediately processed two facts: the sybil was a far superior swimmer and the sea grew increasingly dangerous. He resolved to allow the storm to do his work for him. He swam back to shore where the factotum greeted him, asking, "Is it done?" The assassin shook his head. "She is in her element. I was no match for her there. Let us stand guard on the beach and prevent her from coming ashore until the sea claims her."

written while listening to:  Andrew Hill - Judgment! (Blue Note, BST 84159, 1964, United States, lp,

December 11, 2022
The gray slate of clouds rumbled as the winds carried the storm to land. Rain, driven by gusts, battered the two men as they maintained their vigil, monitoring the shoreline for the girl to make her attempt to slip past them. Lightning followed thunder and yet the pair did not abandon their post upon the beach. With scarcely more than a fortnight until the winter solstice, the days were short. Dusk soon cloaked them in a cold, wet darkness. Still, they did not spy the sybil. The likelihood that she had drowned gradually grew in their minds.

written while listening to:  Susan Alcorn Quintet - Pedernal (VG+ Records, 005, 2021, United States, lp,

December 12, 2022
As for the swimming sybil, she was forced to exert more effort than usual in treading the rough water, but she fully believed that she had not completed her assigned task. Unless her work to date had been deemed utterly abysmal, the Ocean Mother had no cause to retrieve her yet. She cast these doubts from her mind and drew strength from the tumultuous sea. When the clash of colliding waves thrust her upward, she fully breached the surface. A joyful laugh escaped her, so amused was she by her own ridiculous, flailing imitation of a dolphin.

written while listening to:  John Zorn Masada Chamber Ensembles - Bar Kokhba, disc 2 (Tzadik, TZ 7108-2, 1996, United States, cdx2,

December 13, 2022
As an orange tinge crept across the sky, the factotum and his companion mutually conceded that the sybil must have drowned. During a pause in the rain, they climbed the bluff from the beach. At the crest, they turned and, for a final time, surveyed the beaten shore, littered with broken branches, seaweed and other plant debris. The sea possessed the calm of a battlefield abandoned to the keeping of the fallen. No sign of the sybil could they find. On their way back down to the valley road, the factotum took a moment to confirm that the cave remained empty.

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke - Happy Days (Revenant, 101, 1997, United States, cd,

December 14, 2022
Later that same day, the men returned to the temple in Lerna where they reported the truth of their encounter. They had delivered a stern message to the sybil. In the moment, they had deemed it best to allow father Poseidon to render his judgment as the sea raged over her. Whether she lived remained unclear but, if so, she certainly would be more careful going forward. Although it did not accord with their original intention, the high council accepted this turn of events as foreordained. There was time yet for the wolf to act more decisively, if provoked.

written while listening to:  Dave Rempis, Elisabeth Harnik & Michael Zerang - Astragaloi (Aerophonic Records, AR034, 2022, United States, cd,

December 15, 2022
Though exhausted, Eurymedusa lingered in the aftermath of the storm. It was past midday before she left the water. She paced across the shallow pool in the cistern and collapsed upon the stone slab only a few minutes before the arrival of the herbalist and her apprentice. They had come bearing groceries. They found the sybil, bedraggled but exultant. Setting aside the food, Old Parsley pressed her for an explanation. There seemed no reason to conceal the truth. "The priests offered me to the sea last night." She yielded a wan smile. "It appears I was found wanting."

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Mass / Mässa (1988-2004), disc 7 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA044, 2022, Austria, cdx7,

December 16, 2022
In addition to nourishment, Old Parsley also had a message to deliver. "I am bringing you another man tomorrow." The sybil frowned. "I have had enough of men." The herbalist chuckled in response. "If I only had a drachm for every time a woman told me that." Sensing Eupompe's uncharacteristic need for company, Old Parsley did not immediately depart. The three of them broke bread together and celebrated the sea's rejection of the sybil. "We would have missed you dearly," confided the old woman, a sentiment with which her apprentice reluctantly agreed.

written while listening to:  Pauline Oliveros - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970, disc 2 (Important Records, IMPREC352, 2012, United States, cdx12,

December 17, 2022
The trio walked the road in single file, with the herbalist leading, the apprentice a few paces behind and a tall, heavyset man bringing up the rear. Although a chill hung in the morning air, he perspired, unaccustomed to the length of the trek from Lerna. He made no complaint but bore a stoic expression upon his ruddy, bearded face. He deemed this modest effort a worthwhile activity, for the sybil of the valley had piqued the curiosity of Thucydides the philosopher. He felt fortunate that life should offer him such varied diversions to occupy his time.

written while listening to:  Joëlle Léandre & Paul Lovens - Off Course! (Fou Records, FR - CD41, 2022 (rec. 2013), France, cd,

December 18, 2022
At the herbalist's bidding, the philosopher entered the cave. He strode cautiously in the dim light until he reached the branch in the tunnel. He entered the cistern and stood at the edge of the pool. Seated on the crude stone pedestal, the sybil waited for him in a composed state. To his eyes, her face, free of the lines of age, and her thin frame appeared scarcely beyond adolescence. Yet, he was careful not to misjudge her, having heard the many anecdotes regarding the wisdom of her prophecies. He introduced himself, "I am Thucydides of Lerna."

written while listening to:  World Saxophone Quartet - W.S.Q. (Black Saint, BSR 0046, 1981, Italy, lp,

December 19, 2022
The sybil perceived a man of privilege. Such men were not uncommon in Athens and her father had counted himself among them. His bearing communicated an expectation of respect and entitlement to the rights and comforts accorded to wealthy Greek citizens. She had hoped that his erudition would have instilled a humility in him but it was not apparent to her at first sight. She too withheld judgment, knowing of his reputation for perspicacity. She greeted him, "Welcome, Thucydides of Lerna. I am called Eupompe and I dwell here in service to the Ocean Mother."

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman - Town Hall 1962 (ESP Disk, ESP-1006, 1965 (rec. 1962), United States, lp,

December 20, 2022
The philosopher had prepared a list of topics that he wished to discuss with the sybil. First, he expressed his gratitude for her recent intervention in reinstating his star pupil to his lectures. "I thought that I had lost Aesop," he said to her, "so adamant was his father's opposition to spending any time in Lerna, no matter the benefit. It is simply a marvel to me that you were able to find a solution to what appeared an intractable dilemma. If I may be so bold as to ask, how did you accomplish this miracle?"

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - For Four Orchestras, sides D, E & F (Arista, A3L 8900, 1978, United States, lpx3,

December 21, 2022
The sybil smiled faintly at the compliment but demurred, saying, "You misunderstand my role. I laid bare only the most obvious truths so that all parties could see the situation for what it was. I exerted no influence on Polyxena, Aesop, his mother or the magistrate in realizing the happy resolution that you now relay." At this response, the philosopher's estimation of the sybil rose greatly for he strove in his best instruction to perform precisely the same task, namely to reveal truth already known to those who, by dint of circumstance or emotion, had failed to recognize it.

written while listening to:  Dreamstruck (Marilyn Crispell, Joe Fonda & Harvey Sorgen) - With Grace in Mind (Fundacja Słuchaj!, FSR 12|2022, 2022, Poland, cd,

December 22, 2022
"I see you are no mere matchmaker," said the philosopher. "As I traveled here, the herbalist informed me that your work has drawn the ire of the local clergy." The sybil remained silent. "Wisdom of the kind that you distribute is no common bauble to be cast aside. Rather, it should be cherished to the benefit of the people of this land. Perhaps, I can be of some help in this regard. Were you agreeable, I could portray this visit as an accord between us. With what standing I possess, I might reassure the priests of your intentions and so safeguard your well-being."

written while listening to:  Mat Maneri, Tanya Kalmanovitch, Tomo Jacobson & Kresten Osgood - Variations on No Particular Theme Part 1 (Gotta Let It Out, GLIO49LP, 2021, Denmark, lp,

December 23, 2022
The sybil graciously thanked the philosopher for his kind intentions. While he was free, of course, to follow his conscience, she assured him that her safety lay entirely in the hands of the Ocean Mother. "You need not worry on my behalf." At that moment she seemed imbued with a subtle glow of blue light, as if the phosphorescent organisms of the underground village had finally taken hold in her cistern. She continued on a different track. "Your witness to the priests would be more compelling if you shared the experience of other pilgrims by accepting a prophecy."

written while listening to:  Cecil Taylor - 3 Phasis (New World Records, NW 303, 1979, United States, lp,

December 24, 2022
Having anticipated this eventuality, the philosopher had prepared words in advance, which he now recited to the sybil. He adopted the attitude of a learned man, one accustomed to receiving accolades from his peers. He gestured with his hands in a mildly theatrical manner. His voice adopted a ponderous affectation as he delivered his lines, "Despite your admitted talent, I am not able to oblige your request, Eupompe, for reason is my lord and master. I set no store in the mysticism that you peddle, though I recognize its influence on those who do."

written while listening to:  George Lewis & Splitter Orchester - Creative Construction Set (Mikroton Recordings, mikroton cd 50, 2016, Russia, cd,

December 25, 2022
The philosopher had one item remaining before he concluded his visit with the sybil. Even as he began to speak, he seemed to deliberate whether he should deliver this last message. "As you surely heard from Aesop, I hold lectures with an elite group of promising young men twice each month. Based on this interview, I am inclined to make an exception to my usual criteria for admission. You possess raw talent, but your utility would be enhanced with appropriate polishing. If you are of a similar mind, I invite you to attend." He folded his arms and waited for the sybil's response.

written while listening to:  Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile - Snark Horse, disc 6 (Pi Recordings, PI90, 2021, United States, cdx6,

December 26, 2022
Momentarily at a loss for words, the sybil could not deny that she was regularly plagued by doubts regarding her ability to make the world a better place. Yet, a stubbornness urged her to refuse the philosopher's invitation. She preferred the wisdom that she had come by on her own, unburnished by the intellectual conventions of the privileged class. As an awkward compromise, she answered him, "Perhaps, you are right. A sybil could benefit from cosmopolitan instruction." Her hesitancy was apparent but the philosopher nonetheless interpreted her statement as an acceptance of his offer.

written while listening to:  Magda Mayas - Heartland (Another Timbre, at25, 2010, United Kingdom, cd,

December 27, 2022
With the departure of the philosopher, Eurymedusa was left alone in the grotto. She felt depleted though she had not prophesied. The great uncertainty of the future weighed on her. She pondered the unintended consequences of the ripples that she caused in her wayward attempts at amelioration. Gazing over the valley, she stood in the mouth of the cave and longed to see the turquoise of the bee-eater but its kind had fled south across the Great Sea for winter. The moustached warbler offered its drab company in consolation, a gift which the sybil was only too willing to accept.

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Transition (Impulse!, AS-9195, 1970, United States, lp,

December 28, 2022
Minutes before the philosopher's next lesson began, a girl of six or seven, garbed in a freshly laundered peplos, appeared at the door to the classroom. She quietly took a seat among the older and exclusively male students. One rebuked her for her impertinence. "Begone, child!" Recognizing the girl who, alongside the herbalist, had escorted him to the grotto, the philosopher perceived the sybil's hand at work. He intervened, saying, "Stop. Young Parsley,"—for he did not know her name—"comes highly recommended. Let us observe to what heights she may climb, given our tutelage and the support of the present company."

written while listening to:  Ike Quebec - Swing Hi Swing Lo: The Complete Blue Note/Savoy Masters (Definitive Records, DRCD11135, 1999 (orig. 1944, 1945, 1946 & 1947), United Kingdom, cd,

December 29, 2022
We are obliged to engage in idle speculation regarding the decision-making of the sybil. Perhaps she believed that, in the future, Sprig would unite the best attributes of Old Parsley and the sybil, healing both body and mind of suffering in a single stroke. In the moment, it seemed entirely plausible that this child could accomplish a more efficacious service than Eurymedusa was able to deliver on her own. As the star of the new oracle/herbalist rose, the woman cloistered in the cave above the valley road would become utterly extraneous. Or so she dreamt in hope of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

written while listening to:  Biliana Voutchkova & Tomeka Reid - Bricolage III (Relative Pitch Records, RPRDL008, 2022, United States, digital files,

December 30, 2022
After the lesson, Aesop approached the girl. He offered a smile in greeting, which, per her nature, she did not return. "I am going to visit my betrothed," he said. "We are not allowed to be left alone until we are wed. As you are a mutual acquaintance and we are in need of a chaperone, I wonder if you would care to join us?" Old Parsley had given her apprentice the entire day off. Thinking to make the most of it, Sprig headed off for what seemed to her mind an improbable second visit to the house of Polyxena.

written while listening to:  Nicole Mitchell & Fabio Paolizzo - Medusae (Don Giovanni Records, DG-255, 2022, United States, cd,

December 31, 2022
Come with me, Gentle Reader. Old Parsley has granted us access to the sybil and she waits for us. I do not desire to have my fortune told but you are free to ask her anything you want. Seated on the stone slab in the dim light of the cistern, she will resolve your most pressing need. Or, you can just ask me, for I have unraveled the pattern of her mysteries. Eurymedusa shares the same prophecy again and again, described in slightly varying terms, because there is only one prophecy. It sleeps inside each of us, waiting to be roused with the special jingle of a few magic words.

written while listening to:  Crush String Collective - Aeriform (Barkhausen Recordings, BHR003LP, 2022, Denmark, lp,

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