The (original) Glass Chronicles
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The Glass Chronicles was born in 1994 when Ken Nicol began writing and recording a collection of songs and musical pieces inspired by personal events that had just started to take place around that time; experiences he describes as profound and uplifting.
The story begins when he and partner, Carol, sit and reminisce one evening, discussing how as teenagers they’d both spent time with groups of friends who had dabbled with the occult, using what they called Ouija, or Spirit boards.
Now, years later, with no real or deep seated interest in the occult, and through nothing other than innocent curiosity, they decide to try it again – just the two of them.
Promising each other to not influence – at least consciously – the movement of the glass that had been turned upside down and positioned within a circle of letters on the kitchen table, they proceed to ask the classic question, “is there anybody there?”
What followed, is not just a complete surprise, but more a revelation. The fluidity and speed in which the glass moves, along with the eloquence and uplifting nature of what is being spelt out marks for the pair of them the beginning of a journey, one that stretched over the next seven years.
The words of the those who came through the board to communicate, would very often be surprising, striking and quite unpredictable – each character with their own apparent speed and energy.
Far from the spooky or eerie nature that might be expected or associated with the supernatural, the experience is thought-provoking, and often extremely humorous, all of which is logged and written down as it takes place. The result is between four to five hundred pages of text, much of which reads like poetry; words that address many of our far reaching questions, and ultimately – our purpose here.
This was not merely an account of a journey into the occult, or something that was accepted at face value, but more an opportunity to examine, deeply, some of life’s timeless dilemmas.
Of course, the questions still remain, where these people, these spirits, exactly who they said they were? Was it just one force that presented itself in different guises? Or indeed, were they all in some way being cleverly manufactured by the subconscious?
On the creative process, Ken recalls, “… the songs and the music within the show evolved over an eight year period; I was having to take advantage of whatever time became available due to a particularly busy schedule on the road”.
He goes on to say, “… it was as though the glass became my co-writer. Whether a phrase be used word-for-word, or a concept posed, the mood and colour of each musical piece was taken directly from the board, mirroring the stories, teachings, the questions and perplexity posed by those we conversed with – from the slow melancholy of the Welsh station master who calls himself Idris, to the frantic Piece For An Open Mind, conveying the hustle and bustle of life and all the dilemmas that come with it”.
Though Ken describes the experience as inspirational, his rationale still makes it difficult to shed whatever remnants of scepticism remain. Far from it being a hindrance though, this might even be a means of reaching others who are like-minded – those who cannot buy into the romantic realms of mysticism, rituals and crystal balls but who might just be fascinated by the notion of possibility.