‘Seduction Through Witchcraft’: Witch House from 1969 (featuring Louis and Bebe Barron)


 
In 1969, Louise Huebner, the “official” witch of Los Angeles, recorded a spoken word album of her successful book Seduction Through Witchcraft for Warner Brothers Records, who were no doubt happy to cash in on the notoriety of a celebrity occultist in the era of Anton LaVey and Sybil Leek.

Tailor-made for the acid-head occultniks of the time, Huebner lays some sexy pop magic on her listeners, including cuts like “The Self-Fascination Ritual for Increased Power,” “The Demon Spell for Energy,” “Orgies - A Tool of Witchcraft” and “The Earthquake Spell for Unwanted Lovers.”

Seduction Through Witchcraft features a musical score by circuit-bending electronic music pioneers Louis and Bebe Barron of Forbidden Planet fame (Huebner’s late husband, Mentor Huebner, was a leading Hollywood production illustrator and storyboards artist who did uncredited designs for the film). It’s one of the Barron’s most obscure works, and not even listed on their Wikipedia page. I noticed that much of the online information about the record completely neglects to mention them.

Seduction Through Witchcraft is quite good fun. It was briefly released on CD, but that’s been out of print for years. In 2009, Scorpio Music put out a 180 gram vinyl LP version came out that’s still around.
 
Below, “The Demon Spell for Energy”:
 

 
“Orgies - A Tool of Witchcraft”:
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Anaïs Nin reads from ‘House of Incest’ with futuristic electronic soundtrack in ‘Bells of Atlantis’


 
Hugh Parker Guiler (1898–1985) was Anaïs Nin’s husband from 1923 until her death in 1977. He was a successful banker who used the name “Ian Hugo,” to keep his art and experimental filmmaking career separate from the disapproving financial world.

In 1954, “Hugo” made a short film called Bells of Atlantis, featuring Nin, who appears as a mythical queen of Atlantis, reading from her 1936 surrealist novella House of Incest and an electronic music soundtrack courtesy of Louis and Bebe Barron (who made a similar score for Forbidden Planet two years later). Kinetic artist Len Lye also worked on the film with Guiler.

From The Anaïs Nin Blog:

At a May 27, 1977 lecture, [Guiler/Hugo] said after screening his Bells of Atlantis... “Thank you for your kind response, which I am sure is also meant as a tribute to Anaïs Nin. I do think that this film does bring her closer to you—to her style as a poetic writer of the first order, and her presence as an extraordinarily sensitive, and warm human being. I can certainly testify personally to this through the almost 54 years that we were married, to the time of her death in January of this year.” (It should be pointed out that there was an audible gasp by the audience, since they only knew Ian Hugo as an artistic collaborator of Nin.)

“And I will add that her physical beauty seemed to glow as if from some inner light which, as I now see more clearly, enabled her to explore, day by day, ‘the lost continent within ourselves’ (a phrase by the poet Marianne Moore in referring to Bells of Atlantis). And it is only now that I fully realize how much I owed to her presence and her encouragement all those years in trying to explore my own ‘lost continent’ which I first tried to reach out to in making this film.”

Although the quality here is fairly beat—it’s all there is—just imagine how utterly visionary and weird this film would have seemed at the time it was made, contemporaneous as it was with the early work of Stan Brakhage and Kenneth Anger.
 

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion