Chilam Balam (Jaguar Translator)

by Quetzatl

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Quetzatl - Chilam Balam

Deep in the jungles of time, books were written, symbols were carved. In the twentieth Katun of the thirteenth Baktun.... layers of breakbeats, filtered pads, acidic arpeggios, and environmental recordings were archived into the digital domain during a series of live recordings in the lower Appalachias. After years of fine tuning hardware manipulation techniques and the improvisational aptitude of related mechanics, "Chilam Balam" was evoked. Consisting of nine tracks and clocking in at fifty two minutes, subjects of a transient hyperdimensional nature are explored using the medium of broken beat percussion and other sonic frequencies.

Crossing the sound structures of Drum & Bass with research into Mayan Cosmology, a story about the end of time unfolds. The keepers of the calendars have been counting the days, 144,000 sunrises.... another 144,000 sunrises and another and another.... they have always known that there would be a time when the cycles would come to a close, once again. The world has been destroyed many times.... by wind, ice, fire, water.... around a new theme the twenty entities spin in their anti-clockwise fashion. Modern day scientists use seismographic devices to detect this new theme. For now we have been given the gift of time.

The term "Chilam Balam" is derived from a group of writings from the Yucatan Peninsula comprised mainly of the count of Katuns involving also the original prophecies of the legendary prophet "Chilam Balam". These writings came about in the 16th Century by European count, while the sons of Mayan nobility were being forced to learn European alphabetic characters. They used this new ability to translate their remaining hieroglyphic texts and stories into books now known as the Popul Vuh and Chilam Balam. They had left their grand red cities to live in the jungle and let the Earth heal, there were lessons to be learned in the jungle.

Y2K did happen. It just happened differently than most people thought it might. The year 2000 did not bring about the failure of machines and computing devices, but rather the rise of a closer proximity and the continuing relationship between man and machine. People gained the ability to communicate with other humans all over the globe, and not just share words, but images, sounds and information faster than ever before. No longer did an artist need a studio full of antique gear. One just needed a computer, some programs and a bit of imagination. More humans making more music.

This album was composed just before that time, in the gregorian years of 1998 and 1999. "Chilam Balam" was programmed and performed using a hardware sequencer, along with various drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, effects modules, microphones and portable recording devices. All of the songs were recorded in real-time, except "Let the Ceremony Begin" and "Svamin" which were recorded step by step using an analog multi-track recorder.

Originally released on Diskatopia Records in the year 2000. This classic example of "turn of the century" breakbeat is now re-issued through Waveform Modulations. An important evolutionary stepping stone in the current of artistic production flowing from the entity known as Quetzatl. Now available as a full-length or as individual tracks.

If this album is your cup of Ayahuasca tea, check out other releases by Quetzatl available through Waveform Modulations, Heterodox Records, Tokei Pul and other labels.

Technician: 2NT6
Species: Trogoniform

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws. Violators subject to the wrath of the Jaguar.

Also available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify


released June 20, 2000

Composed, Performed, and Produced by
Esiris Kayab Lyons

All arrangements recorded in real-time.

Artwork and Hieroglyphics: Esiris Kayab Lyons

Density Wave Enhancement: Thomas C. Brown

Graphic Layout and detailing: Glimmer Media



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With a focus on the preservation of audio and visual art as a type of time capsule, and aimed at creating an archive of quality projects, the time has come to let the waves take flight!

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