Headpress Books Established 1991

Gathering of the Tribe

Music and Heavy Conscious Creation

An album by album look at the role of the occult in popular music.


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RD Laing Life Before Death Album Sleeve

“There is in sounds a virtue to receive the heavenly gifts”
— Henry Cornelius Agrippa


Much of the music discussed in Gathering Of The Tribe deals with the special power of sound and tone. Frank Zappa may have said that ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture,’ but this book explains how music can — or for a moment believed it could — move mountains.

It is a matter of record that over the centuries composers and musicians have been consistently inspired by the occult. Few music lovers can fail to have been intrigued by the rumours of magick and mysticism that surround many of their favourite albums.

In chapters that cover the different musical styles, from jazz through folk, rock, pop, noise and experimental forms, Gathering Of The Tribe sketches a fascinating overview of this provocative and enduring relationship with heavy conscious creation, offering en route a guide to the ultimate occult record collection, ranging from the Beatles to the Stones, Led Zeppelin to Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart to the Wu Tang Clan, Debussy to Throbbing Gristle, Charles Manson, Barbara the Gray Witch, Coven and more.

Illustrated with album sleeves.

The various sections include:

  • Cosmic Sounds / experiments with music and the supernatural
  • Jazz and the Spirit World / improvisation and revolutionary jazz forms
  • Freaky Folk / weird manifestations of a documentary form of music
  • The Law of Octaves: Esoteric Music / esoteric philosophies, religion and the law of octaves
  • Psych-Out and Countercultural Occult / the peace and love flipside
  • Sorcery and the Cinema / the spirit world on film
  • The Devil’s Interval / the rock horror show: rock music and the occult
  • Mindf*ckers / cult groups, outsider artists and their sounds
  • Electric Storm in Hell: Weird Soundscapes / modernist mood music
Jonny TrunkRecord Collector
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“A cult classic in the waiting”
Kier-La JanisseSpectacular Optical
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“I loved this book. There were enough familiar topics to hook me in, but in addition to its consciousness-expanding and historical insights, it operated as a vital guide through some of the world’s most challenging sonic experiments. Exciting connections appeared throughout, which meant that while reading I was constantly inspired, making notes of obscure tangents to follow once the book reached its end.”
Austin MatthewsShindig!
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“The key tenet of Goodall's proposition is that music can produce what he refers to as 'Heavy Conscious Creation' or a kind of 'altered state of perception'. This is not your average music tome and takes a far more philosophical bent than most… [Gathering of the Tribe] may indeed unlock some of the secrets within your record collection that hitherto you were unaware existed.”
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David Kerekes

DAVID KEREKES co-founded Headpress and its imprint Oil On Water Press. He is author of Mezzogiorno (2012) and Sex Murder Art: The Films of Jörg Buttgereit (1994), co-author of Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff (1994 & 2012) and See No Evil: Banned Films and Video Controversy (2001) and has written extensively on popular culture.

Gary Ramsay

GARY RAMSAY is a freelance journalist and editor. He has contributed to numerous film and music publications including Creeping Flesh, interviewed cult figures such as Tura Satana and Mike Mignola and is currently writing the book Sonic Celluloid — film and music soundtracks.

Jennifer Wallis

JENNIFER WALLIS is a historian and lecturer based in the UK. Her recent publications include the edited volume Fight Your Own War: Power Electronics and Noise Culture (Headpress, 2016) and ‘Small screen shockers: Rape-revenge narratives in the made-for-TV movie’ in Julian Petley and Xavier Mendik (eds), Shocking Cinema of the 70s (Bloomsbury, 2021).

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Mark Goodall

MARK GOODALL is an academic who teaches and writes about film and music. He is also a musician and composer, filmmaker and has worked as a journalist, bookseller, community artist, printer and cheesemonger.

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Mick Farren

MICK FARREN was born on a wet night at the end of World War II and complained prolifically about it ever since. During his long, occasionally hallucinatory, and sometimes hell-raising career, Mick Farren published twenty-two novels that ranged from the psychedelic fantasy of The DNA Cowboys Trilogy, to the neo-goth vampirism of The Renquist Quartet, and the far future militarism of Their Master’s War. He also published more than a dozen non-fiction works on topics that range from music to drugs to conspiracy theory. An unreconstructed rock & roller, he continued to function as a recording artist and songwriter, with more than a dozen CDs to his credit, and cult followings in the US, Europe, Japan, and even India. He made detours into anarcho-agitprop like editing the underground newspaper IT, and defending both his liberty and the comic book Nasty Tales through a protracted obscenity trail at the Old Bailey. He was part of what is now called (by some) the NME golden age, during which time he helped explain punk to people who still thought Rick Wakeman had merit. As a lyricist, Mick's words have been sung by Metallica, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Brother Wayne Kramer, the Royal Crown Revue, and the Pink Fairies. He died in 2013 after collapsing on a London stage while performing with the Deviants.

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