Getting High on Chocolate
Girl Eats Food is back for Season Two. In the first episode, anti-chef Jo Fuertes-Knight explores the growing trend of people using raw chocolate to “align the heart chakra” and go on an “inwards journey.”
After a Chocolate Ecstasy tour involving pizza-flavoured truffles, Jo hijacks a chocolate convention at London Olympia. There are women there who wear clothes made out of chocolate.
The next day, she joins a shamanic cacao ceremony round the back of the IMAX in her quest to get high off chocolate sent from a cacao shaman in Guatemala, called Keith.
What’s the Frequency, Iasos?
If you’ve ever had a near-death experience, chances are you’ve been fortunate enough—depending on how you look at it—to hear music that sounds identical to the blissed-out tones produced by the mononymous minstrel Iasos. In 1989, a scientist at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire discovered that Iasos’ music—in particular a piece called “The Angels of Comfort”—bore a remarkable resemblance to the divine strains heard by people as they dipped a toe into that sun-dappled dimension between the present and the not-so-present. Yet that information would not surprise Iasos one bit, because the 66-year-old believes he is an earthly conduit for the musical expressions of a being named Vista, who transmits ideas to Iasos telepathically, which he then turns into song. Iasos, who was born in Greece but raised in California from the age of four, has enjoyed these visitations for some 40 years, during which he’s released many albums of enlightened instrumental music and held workshops around the world on the restorative qualities of sound.
A true outsider and in many ways a visionary artist, Iasos is up there with the likes of Vangelis, Brian Eno, and his old pal Steven Halpern as one of the electronic pioneers of what became known as new age music in the mid-1970s. In recognition of his restless spirit, Chicago’s Numero Group recently put out Celestial Soul Portrait, a selection of tracks from the first decade of Iasos’ career that draw attention to the experimental nature and uncanny beauty of his work. For a cosmic voyager, Iasos was surprisingly easy to get hold of—we spoke on the phone—and came across as pretty normal and, as he puts it, “grounded.” He lives in Marin County, north of San Francisco, where his daily routine includes meditation, yoga, feeding the local deer, and spending time in the studio making music and visuals.
VICE: Greetings, Iasos! How are you?
Iasos: I’m fantastic! I just came back from a concert in Los Angeles and it couldn’t have gone better! It was sold out; standing room only. It was a young, playful crowd. There were a lot of beaming, happy faces. I had quite a time.
Do your concerts always go so well?
The one before, in Portland, Oregon, was even better. You see, I measure the dramatic impact I have on the audience by how much stillness there is when I take a bow to signify that the concert is over. Because if they really get it, they’re really zoned out and no one gets up. In Portland it lasted so long it was almost embarrassing. I bowed to signify it was over and then I went to the front of the stage and nobody got up. Then one minute went by and nobody got up, there was silence. Two minutes after, six minutes after… I thought this is too much and walked into the lobby and that broke the spell.
A lot of people will encounter Iasos for the first time through Celestial Soul Portrait, which shines a light on your earlier work. Is there renewed interest in your music?
It’s funny you say that. Ever since I started, my close friends have always said, “Iasos, you’re way ahead of your time.” And now that it’s 2013, people are getting interested in music I released in 1975. So it kind of verifies them saying that.
I have to say it’s encouraging to hear you talking like a completely normal person. Having seen photos of you and listened to your music, I had the impression you’d be a pretty zoned-out individual.
[hysterical laughter] That’s very funny! It’s funny that you expected me to be zoned-out. I am grounded and present.
Reasons Why LA Is the Worst Place Ever
I recently moved from London to Los Angeles. Despite the fact that LA is the undisputed worst place in the entire world, I’ve been trying super hard to like it. Mainly because I like being that guy who likes the thing everyone else hates just to annoy people (which reminds me, people I know in real life: I never really liked Skrillex or Twilight. You should’ve seen your faces though).
Liking LA also seems to be “a thing” lately. I’ve seen a bunch of articles about it, like this one by Joseph Gordon Levitt that people keep sending me. In it, he talks about how LA is superior to New York because you can sing in the car when you’re stuck in traffic, and also he once saw the movie Swingers here.
Anyway, below are the main things that have been annoying me since moving to LA.
THERE IS DANGER EVERYWHERE
In London, the worst that can happen while you’re out walking around is maybe stepping in a puddle or gettinghappy slapped. Here, I have to worry about drive-bys and forest fires and mountain lions and “The Big One” and rattlesnakes and brain-eating parasites and home invasions and fucking TSUNAMIS! Why did someone think it would be a good idea to build a city here?
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE A NORMAL NIGHT OUT
In London, or New York, or Paris, or any other city on Earth, going out means either walking/taking public transportation to a bar or club, then maybe walking to another place after that, then taking a cab home. This becomes problematic in Los Angeles, because public transportation does not exist. And I’m pretty sure cabs don’t exist, either. This means everyone drinks and drives, and I’m not sure if you’ve seen those ads about it on TV, but drinking and driving is really, really, really not OK. Then, you have to find somewhere to park or pay a bunch of money to valet, and then line up to get in, and then before you know it you just paid $30 to get into a “yoga rave” that’s ten minutes from ending, you’ve forgotten where you parked and, oh shit, you got a ticket. Fun times.
THERE IS HIPPIE BULLSHIT ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE
Every time I think I’ve met a normal person, I find out they’re extremely into some kind of new-age nonsense. Did you know that Mercury is in retrograde right now? Me too, and I really, really shouldn’t know that.
The pod is in a private room with a shower next to it. I got all naked and clean and then slid right into the bath. I closed the door and turned off the lights. The water felt slimy because of the trillions of Epsom salts that they put in it to make you float. This also means that the water burns and tastes like poison. At first the paranoia was a little bit exciting. I felt scared of being in a confined space, in silence, in darkness. But besides that, there wasn’t much else going on. By default, since I was alone with no other option, I ended up masturbating for the rest of the time just to appease my boredom and restlessness (honestly, I couldn’t think of anything else to do). I was laying in the dark, with no sense of time or space, and I just kept imagining an Ovarium employee opening the door from the outside and peeking in to say “what’s up?” I also farted, which made my asshole severely itch and burn, so that also kind of sucked.