Monday, April 8, 2024

Emissaries of Divine Light - Paul Levine


Found in a stash of private issue new age cassettes, at an Aurora estate sale - same place I found the previous post. While the first cassette was a hodgepodge of heavy breathing, chanting and a general mishmash of audio, this next tape might be one of my favorite Colorado finds, so far this year.

Simply titled Expressions I, this is a singer-songwriter gem. Paul Levine is just a man and his guitar. Accompanied by an uncredited female background singer (or two), it's simplicity at its finest. Sadly, there is absolutely no other identifier on this, minus a 1990 year notation. Just a tape and a picture of the Paul.

It appears Paul was associated with the Emissaries of Divine Light, as the address on the tape is to its Loveland compound. The songs all have a feel good "let's all live together in harmony"  - but not an overtly religious -  vibe. Definitely NOT a typical loner sound, associated with most SSW finds.

Yes, I DID notice that this Paul Levine has a more than passing resemblance to the author of the same name. I contacted him to ask (answer still pending). I'm going to assume they are not one in the same, but who knows.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Emissaries of Divine Light

Emissaries of Divine Light formed in 1932, with the belief that a "human beings' true qualities can only be known as they are expressed in practical daily living." In 1945, international headquarters were established in Loveland, headed by Lloyd Arthur Meeker. The first mention of the group, in the press, was in the April 17, 1949 issue of the Rocky Mountain News. The very small brief, in the religious section of the paper, only indicated that "another service was underway, southwest of Fort Collins, by a religious group, known as the Emissaries of Divine Light."



After Meeker died in a plane crash (note above), the leadership passed to William Martin Alleyne Cecil, 7th Marquess of Exeter ("Lord Exeter"), who had been a dedicated adherent.

Almost as soon as ground broke, locals became suspect of what was soon described as a cult. Core beliefs included attunement, or "energy medicine" - "attuning of the human capacity with the universal animating spirit within all people." Members believe that universal life energy is conveyed through the hands of the practitioner, through endocrine glands.

Discovered this tape at an estate sale in Aurora. The find was included in a box with about half a dozen various new age cassettes. No additional items about the this particular tape were found. Assuming the year on this is 1987, based on the only date listed on the cuts. Titled Sounds, Words and Silences, the find starts of with several minutes of (very) heavy breathing, followed by a sermon from Lord Exeter on the topic of silence. What follows is some African chanting and ambient piano music. Side B includes a talk on love and more light piano. Then we are treated to more chanting (this time in Russian), and some jazzy improvisation on flute, synthesizer and fluegelhorn. The selection entitled "Improvisation on Roland synthesizer" sounded promising, but I guess they forgot to include it. The side ends with howling, screeching and droning chanting.

NOTE: The descriptive above is more impressive than the actual audio. I haven't decided on plans to dub any samples, at this time. Stay tuned - I will be posting audio from another Emissaries of Divine Light-related cassette found in the stash.

Side A

Glen Ivy Women's Chant Group -  Breathe
Lord Exeter - August 30, 1987 - Sunrise Ranch
Empumalanga Collage
  - Zulu singing
  - Michael Boon
  - Absalom Makathini
  - Grace Makathini (translated by her son Gideon)
  - Zulu singing
  - Michael Boon
George Hanson - Concert, Cape Town, South Africa
Andrea Milinkovich - "Lullaby for Ultann"

Side B

Ellen Roos - Thoughts on improvisation
George Johnson - Improvised study in just Pythagorean tuning
Rob Sutherland - Improvisation on Roland synthesizer
Soviet Collage
  - Change - Sunrise Choir
  - Bruce Allyn
Gary Diggins - Fluegelhorn improvisation at King View concert
Still Meadow Chant Group - Chant

Martin Cecil died on January 12, 1988. The group continues to be headquartered in Loveland, under new leadership.