The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

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


June 1, 2022
Of course, Eurymedusa wanted to exchange her ordinary life for a magical existence spent swimming in the dark depths of the sea. Derangement of neurotoxins aside, what young person wouldn't want to step into a fantastic and mysterious world utterly beyond the borders of the mundane? Still, she was not immune to the warning implicit in the cecaelia's words. There was some bargain here, beyond the promised transformation of the body, which Eurymedusa did not yet understand. She imagined, erroneously, that the subterranean gloom hid her uncertainty.

written while listening to:  Alexandra Grimal - refuge (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS017, 2022, United States, cd,

June 2, 2022
Misreading, perhaps intentionally, the misgiving in Eurymedusa's face, the Ocean Mother offered an alternative before the festival queen had a chance to compose a reply. "There is another boon, which you may prefer and which, in my magnanimity, I am willing to permit you to substitute for your original request." It now became clear that the cecaelia had in mind all along a different destiny for her visitor. Sitting atop the stone altar, Eurymedusa waited ambivalently for this purpose to be revealed.

written while listening to:  Derek Bailey - Drop Me Off at 96th (Scatter, scatter 02:CD, 1994 (rec. 1986 & 1987), United Kingdom, cd,

June 3, 2022
The cecaelia appeared in no express hurry to convey her meaning. Instead, she invited Eurymedusa to come down from the altar and join her in the cold lake. "What I have to tell you," she said, "is best shared in the water." Eurymedusa found no reason to object. Remembering the mother loggerhead, the idea of swimming on friendly terms with a great aquatic beast appealed to her. She slid off the stone and gingerly descended the rocky slope. Soon she was in the water, where she felt the continuous undulations of octopus arms through the currents in the water.

written while listening to:  Rüdiger Carl & Hans Reichel - Buben ... Plus (FMP, FMP CD 78, 1996 (orig. 1978), Germany, cd,

June 4, 2022
Remaining in the lake, the Ocean Mother extended one octopus arm its full length to pluck the amphora off the altar. She departed the island, always keeping the amphora more or less upright above the surface and full of glowing blue liquid. When she rolled in the water, the lantern was transferred from arm to another in a fluid motion. Such a juggling act revealed a dexterity at odds with her size. After a moment of awe, Eurymedusa turned all her attention to swimming. She dove beneath the cecaelia and admired the watery silhouette lit from above.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino - Won't Becomes Can't (PSF Records, PSFD-8024, 2006, Japan, cd,

June 5, 2022
The Ocean Mother and her festival queen swam together in the underground lake. Each drew their vitality from the water; their joy in immersing themselves plainly evident. Forgotten for a moment was the choice that lay before Eurymedusa, though the alternative to monstrous transformation had not yet been revealed. Holding the light, the Ocean Mother was constrained to remain near the surface. Eurymedusa was free to venture as deeply as she pleased. Like an insignificant herring, she found comfort in losing herself within the cold, dark water. Eventually, however, she was forced to come up for air.

written while listening to:  Evan Parker - The Snake Decides (Otoroku, roku (re) 3, 2018 (orig. 1986), United Kingdom, lp,

June 6, 2022
She feared the ending of this moment so, as soon as her lungs were full, she again submerged. She did not anticipate the godly powers of the Ocean Mother, who possessed a voice no less capable of traveling through water than through air. The strange syllables, intelligible only by some gift of the cecaelia, reverberated through the lake until, finding a resting place in Eurymedusa's ears, delivered a song in praise of life in the sea. Her voice, tempered by the water, rang clear and mellifluous. Swimming in tandem, girl and beast reveled in this music.

written while listening to:  Steve Lacy - Raps (Adelphi Records, AD 5004, 1977, United States, lp,

June 7, 2022
Into this song the Ocean Mother inserted her vision for Eurymedusa, though the swimmer beside her did not immediately recognize it. She sang of a harmony in which all thinking creatures sought to live well within their own sphere, without diminishing the lives of those around them, be they others of their kind, animals, plants or the very Earth itself. Of course, we who read these words without being caught up in the grandeur of the song know such an existence to be utterly at odds with the biological and physical laws that govern our world.

written while listening to:  Borah Bergman & Roscoe Mitchell - The Italian Concert (Soul Note, 121342-2, 2002, Italy, cd,

June 8, 2022
In this song of community, the ways of all species were celebrated. No human voice could sing this hymn. This adoration was reserved for a mother who allowed hundreds of thousands of her children to die so that one might thrive. It rejoiced in the love of every mother for her young in all its manifold forms. It neither denied the mourning of sons nor elevated the need to abjure grief at the death of daughters. Above all, the song of the cecaelia celebrated the constancy of motherhood within the epochal cycles of life.

written while listening to:  Wadada Leo Smith, Henry Kaiser & Alex Varty - Pacifica Koral Reef (577 Records, 5884, 2022, United States, cd,

June 9, 2022
The Ocean Mother sang a winding tale of amelioration, in which individual actions—kindness, devotion and especially sacrifice—inexorably drove the world to a better state. As Eurymedusa absorbed this melody, the cecaelia offered the festival queen a role as shepherdess of this cause. Having heard the song in all it majesty, could she now resist the call to commit her life not to the procreation of a few but to the salvation of all? There was little chance that a young, impressionable woman should decline this noble invitation, however ambiguous or impossible the goal.

written while listening to:  Ivo Perelman & Craig Taborn - Brass and Ivory Tales, disc 7 (Fundacja Słuchaj!, FSR 11|2021, 2021, Poland, cdx9,

June 10, 2022
They swam a while longer as the song of the cecaelia gradually diminished until it was indistinguishable from the ordinary underwater hum. The pair made for a destination, though only one knew of it. For Eurymedusa the abrupt arrival at the cavern boundary came as a surprise. The light of the liquid lantern revealed a human-sized cave—an oblong, black hole in the rockface, its lower lip raised just above the level of the lake. The sudden ending of her audience with the Ocean Mother might have upset her save that the drugs yet dulled her mind.

written while listening to:  Muhal Richard Abrams & Malachi Favors - Sightsong (Black Saint, BSR 0003, 1976, Italy, lp,

June 11, 2022
Although loath to leave the company of the cecaelia, Eurymedusa reluctantly pulled herself onto the ledge of the cave. Sitting on the edge, her legs yet dangled in the water. She made a pitiful picture, framed by the black halo of the cave, so much so that the Ocean Mother, who shed no tears over the hundred thousand, was moved to an unprecedented offer. "Go forth and do our work. However, should you regret your choice and find scant succor in your service, you are free to return. I shall grant your boon and you shall never again rise to breathe the air of men."

written while listening to:  Mary Halvorson - Belladonna (Nonesuch, 075597912708, 2022, United States, lp,

June 12, 2022
This offer emboldened Eurymedusa; the knowledge that she could always come back lessened the finality of her departure. Extending a sinuous arm, the cecaelia handed over the amphora, with a warning that the light had limited life on its own. By its glow, Eurymedusa spotted a package, wrapped in cloth, on the ledge. The cecaelia explained, "It is a gift from the squid, two doses of a toxin to waylay those who would do you harm." From her tone, it appeared that the cecaelia regarded the gift as an unnecessary, sentimental act by the old man.

written while listening to:  Masada - Zayin (DIW, DIW-915, 1996, Japan, cd,

June 13, 2022
Eurymedusa gazed down at the package and noticed a sack beside it. She thought to inquire as to its contents but when she looked up, the Ocean Mother had vanished. No ripples lingered on the lake surface where she might have submerged. Eurymedusa rose to her feet and held the lantern out at arm's length but still found no sign of the cecaelia. This unannounced disappearance, coming as it did without so much as a splash or wake in the water, planted the seed of a gnawing doubt in Eurymedusa's mind. Perhaps her visitation had all been a drug-induced hallucination.

written while listening to:  Jim O'Rourke - Terminal Pharmacy (Tzadik, TZ 7011, 1995, United States, cd,

June 14, 2022
Her doubt had ample opportunity to take root when the effects of both song and drug had worn off. Eurymedusa paced through the long, tunnel, winding her way beneath the Great Sea toward an unknown destination. In her right hand, she held the amphora which was heavier than it looked. In her left, she gripped the sack, slung over her shoulder. She had peeked inside to discover mussels and other provisions, presumably prepared by Phoebe. The thought of the old woman's charity elevated her spirits but momentarily before she succumbed to a general sense of despair.

written while listening to:  Nate Wooley, Ingrid Laubrock, Sylvie Courvoisier & Matt Moran - Battle Pieces 2 (Relative Pitch Records, RPR1058, 2017, United States, cd,

June 15, 2022
Alone in a darkness scarcely threatened by the soft blue light, the confusion of Eurymedusa mounted as she walked. Even as she sought to replay in her memory the precise sequence of words and events from her encounter with the cecaelia, everything became jumbled. It seemed she was supposed to make the world a better place and at the same time convince humanity to restrain its natural fecundity, lest people overrun the Earth. None of it now made sense, least of all her role in it.

written while listening to:  Ákos Rózmann - Mass / Mässa (1988-2004), disc 1 (Ideologic Organ, SOMA044, 2022, Austria, cdx7,

June 16, 2022
Eurymedusa found it absurd that this darkness should induce in her despair when she had dwelt for many months in a flooded portion of the labyrinth and never lost hope. She, who was a friend to darkness, abandoned the lantern, suspecting that its watery light betrayed her. She set the amphora down gently in the tunnel and walked away until its glow was entirely swallowed by the immensity of the surrounding Earth. Without the weight in her arms or the light in her eyes, she moved through utter blackness like an unseen shadow.

written while listening to:  Pauline Oliveros - Reverberations: Tape & Electronic Music 1961-1970, disc 7: Angel Fix (Important Records, IMPREC352, 2012, United States, cdx12,

June 17, 2022
The notion of finding her way was meaningless when she had been given no destination nor formulated one on her own. All the same, the tunnel did not fork, though at times it opened into a larger cave. Then, she circled the perimeter, locating an exit by running her fingers along the wall. The air was damp but the footing dry until, entering one cave, she stumbled into a shallow pool. Exposure to even ankle-deep water proved sufficient to rekindle the song of the cecaelia in her memory; her hopelessness fell away like leaves from an autumn tree.

written while listening to:  Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark, Steve Swell, Per-Âke Holmlander, Agustí Fernández, Zlatko Kaučič, Barry Guy, Rafał Mazur, Mikołaj Trzaska, Peter Brötzmann, Paal Nilssen-Love, Maya Homburger & Joëlle Léandre - Not Two...But Twenty!, disc 5 (Not Two Records, MW 1000-2, 2020, Poland, cdx5,

June 18, 2022
She could not know that, while subsisting on the meager provisions in her sack, she trod the many miles to the peninsula of Peloponnese. She would have much preferred to swim the span but she was bound to both darkness and water. As her path began to gradually ascend, she possessed no means of orienting herself nor of predicting that the tunnel would deposit her on the western coast of the Gulf of Argolis, south of Argos, a mere sixty miles over land and sea from her parents' home in Athens.

written while listening to:  David Murray Octet - Hope Scope (Black Saint, 120 139-1, 1991, Italy, lp,

June 19, 2022
The tapestry of stars hung over the second emergence of Eurymedusa from the Earth. Alone, she bathed in the silver light of the moon and swayed to the cadence of nocturnal insects. Yes, it was true that she had not identified the mechanism by which she might promulgate the message of the Ocean Mother but the majesty of the night heavens made her ignorance seem, if not an essential part of the plan, at least an insignificant worry.

written while listening to:  Ornette Coleman - Who's Crazy? 1: La Clef des Champs 1 (International Record Imports, IRI 5006, 1979 (rec. 1966), France, lp,

June 20, 2022
She retreated into the cave, though not far enough for the ambient glow of the surface world to be lost. There she slept until the rising sun woke her. She ventured forth to explore her surroundings by the light of day. The mouth of the cave was situated on the side of a mountain facing inland. Standing on her doorstep, she was greeted by an expansive view of a narrow, crooked valley. Far below, the glint of a thread of water, sheltered by holly oaks, flickered with a slow current. To the side of the stream followed a dirt road.

written while listening to:  Anthony Braxton - For Two Pianos (Arista, AL 9559, 1982, United States, lp,

June 21, 2022
She supposed it was a forest, though the trees were isolated; the gaps between them occupied by brush and hardy shrubs. Where rock surfaced, meager shreds of green given to yellow and brown tenaciously clung to life. It took her the better part of an hour to climb to the ridge above the cave. There, standing among spiny euphorbia and flowering clover, she gazed eastward out over the gulf. It should come as no surprise that this vista induced in Eurymedusa the longing to swim. She resisted the urge to madly clamber down the treacherous slope to the rocky shoreline.

written while listening to:  Chris Burn's Ensemble - Densités 2008 (Bruce's Fingers, BF 135, 2016, United Kingdom, digital files,

June 22, 2022
As the breeze pushed strands of hair across her cheek, she inhaled the mountain air and her reticence struck her as arbitrary. By way of compromise, she tackled the descent methodically, her back to the water, her hands finding purchase as much as her feet. When her toes slipped from a foothold, it only served to heighten her anticipation to reach the water. The sun rose as she descended, casting her shadow on the face of the bluff. Reaching the level of the sea, she moved from rock to rock, until the welcoming waves washed over her feet.

written while listening to:  Paul Panhuysen - And the Mexican Jumping Beans (Apollo Records, ACD 080116, 1999, The Netherlands, cd,

June 23, 2022
As she swam, an unreasonable joy took hold of her. For a while she kicked her legs and dove vigorously. The fish avoided her ruckus. Later, she stretched out her arms and floated on her back. She would live here, close to the water. The struggle to reach it would serve as a reminder of its importance. Eurymedusa knew with certainty that she had a purpose and she had some intimation as to its nature, though she did not know how to accomplish it. From a philosophical point of view, this is a most fortunate set of circumstances for a person to have in life.

written while listening to:  The Gil Evans Orchestra with Cecil Taylor - Into the Hot (Impulse!, A-9-S, 1962, United States, lp,

June 24, 2022
Scaling the bluff consumed the afternoon. Fortunately, the midsummer days were long and the sun stayed with her for the entirety of the climb. Her labor disturbed wall lizards, the length of her hand, who scurried over the rocks with enviable ease. In time, she crested the ridge and returned to the mouth of the cave. Exhausted but thirsty and hungry, she eyed the ribbon of water in the valley beneath her. She would not make it there and back by dark. Retreating into the cave, she postponed visiting the stream until morning.

written while listening to:  John Zorn, George Lewis & Bill Frisell - More News for Lulu (hat ART, hat ART CD 6055, 1992, Switzerland, cd,

June 25, 2022
She intended to eat the last of her provisions, but in the darkness of the cave she discovered a second tunnel. In the excitement of her arrival at the surface, she had failed to notice that her path merged with another. Now, in her weariness, she could not identify the way that led to the sea, and the sack, which she had set down somewhat farther back, lest it be disturbed by wildlife. She erroneously chose the path on her left. After a short curve she found herself enveloped in the still, damp air of a dead-end grotto.

written while listening to:  Irène Schweizer & Hamid Drake - Celebration (Intakt Records, Intakt CD 363, 2021, Switzerland, cd,

June 26, 2022
Water, dripping from the ceiling, had accumulated on the stone floor. The pool was less than a foot deep but spanned the entirety of the cave, save for a dry slab of rock jutting forth from the back wall. A veritable cistern, a slow trickle of water in and out kept the contents of the reservoir fresh. She knelt and slaked her thirst. She wondered if her good fortune was due to the blessing of the cecaelia. It cheered her to imagine the (admittedly unsubstantiated) possibility that forces in the universe were weighted in her favor.

written while listening to:  Biliana Voutchkova, Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues & Magda Mayas - The Afterlife of Trees (Creative Sources, CS 471 CD, 2017, Portugal, cd,

June 27, 2022
It cannot be denied that Eurymedusa saw in this cistern-cum-grotto an echo of her sanctuary in the labyrinth. The differences were, of course, stark. Beneath Crete, she had found a stone shelf on the far side of a vast lake. In those black depths, she had hidden from the Minotaur and the maze had prevented her from leaving. Here, the shallow pool stretched a dozen strides and adjoined a nearby exit to the outside world. Still, Eurymedusa paced across the pool and slept peacefully on the stone slab, one hand draped over the edge, fingers dipped in the surrounding water.

written while listening to:  John Coltrane - Lush Life (Prestige, PRLP 7188, 1961, United States, lp,

June 28, 2022
In the morning, she ventured down the other tunnel to retrieve her provisions and found a morsel, nothing more. Envisioning a return to the cave with a bounty too fulsome to carry in her arms, she thought to take the sack with her as she foraged in the valley. She stored the two glass vials of toxin in a crack where her stone bed met the rear wall. The arrival of dawn was delayed in the valley by the ridge above the cave. In shadow, she sauntered down the slope, exploring with delight the garden at her doorstep.

written while listening to:  Vijay Iyer Trio - Historicity (The ACT Company, ACT 9489-2, 2009, Germany, cd,

June 29, 2022
Neither the diminutive rock bunting with its tawny breast and twice-striped face nor the shy wood lark sheltering in the brush paid Eurymedusa any mind. If they found the radiance of a raven-haired maiden garbed in white gown an intrusion on their morning routine, they did not allow their annoyance to be known. When the turquoise-bellied bee-eater and the pied flycatcher each rose to their daily work, they too accepted Eurymedusa as a feature of the landscape, a migrant like them blown in from southern shores to summer on the peninsula.

written while listening to:  Masayo Koketsu - Fukiya (Relative Pitch Records, RPRSS011, 2022, United States, cd,

June 30, 2022
Descending to the stream, she passed scraggly blackberry bushes. They bore a few lingering berries but their season had peaked two weeks earlier. The fruit had largely been picked over by birds and other wildlife. Eurymedusa nevertheless savored the sweetness of what remained. When she reached the stream, she drank deeply to the music of the water flowing over rocks and against itself. She rested her feet in the cool current, while overhead pendant fruit hung from the trees lining the bank. She alternated, as she walked in the valley, between mulberries and tart wild plums.

written while listening to:  Colin Stetson - New History Warfare Volume 3: To See More Light (Constellation, CST092-1, 2013, Canada, lpx2,

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