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EsoterAnimation: The Midnight Gospel by Duncan Trussell and Pendleton Ward (Overview)

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What comes out while you mix the abilities of a podcasting comic within the metaphysical, and the animator genius behind one of the influential cartoon reveals within the XXIst century? 

The reply is… Netflix’s The Midnight Gospel.

[Mild Spoilers]

The Midnight Gospel is the most recent animated sequence developed by Netflix. It’s the brainchild –or ought to I say Moonchild?– of Duncan Trussell, standup comedian and host of The Duncan Trussell Household Hour podcast, and Pendleton Ward, award-winning creator of Cartoon Community’s Journey Time. In his podcast Duncan has had a formidable record of celebrities starting from scientists, non secular academics, psychonauts, philosophers and ritual magicians to debate all types of esoteric subjects with him, in a light-hearted and approachable approach. Within the Midnight Gospel Duncan provides voice to Clancy, a ‘spacecaster’ who makes use of his malfunctioning simulator to discover all types of unusual worlds to seek for denizens of the multiverse he can interview. 

Every 20 to 25-minute-long episode consists of barely altered snippets of audio instantly taken from TDTFH recordings, and combined along with Pendleton’s beautiful animation which fits above and past the surrealistic content material that made Journey Time such a contemporary cult present, including to his fantasy recipe specific symbolism from the Kabbalah, Tarot playing cards, Western hermeticism, Enochian rituals, Vedic traditions, Tibetan Buddhism, LSD journeys and VALIS is aware of what else. 

That is ‘grownup leisure’ within the truest sense of the world, that means you don’t actually get to listen to a variety of ‘f-bombs’ or watch a variety of sexual references –except for Clancy’s vagina-shaped simulator and the occasional hermaphroditic, poli-genital avatar Clancy employs each time he visits hedonistic planets– like those related to the grownup leisure style due to publications like Heavy Steel (oh Druuna, I nonetheless love you). As an alternative the kinky fetishes are changed by deep –with a capital ‘Dee’!– discussions concerning the nature of actuality, non secular practices, the seek for the divine in all of us, meditation methods, ritual magic, demise, reincarnation and enlightenment to call just some. Animation for the initiates, if you’ll.

The closest comparability one may make with this daring alchemical experiment is maybe Richard Linklater’s Waking Life from 2001, which additionally mixed the animation medium with profound philosophical discussions —Waking Life even consists of the ranting of a not-so-deranged younger Alex Jones. Linklater used a rotoscoping method which went wilder and extra ‘dream-like’ throughout some particular scenes within the film to spotlight the concepts being offered to the viewers. 

However in Midnight Gospel each. Single. Body is fully wild and chock full of colourful little particulars; to the purpose that after watching the primary two episodes —“Style of the King” (visitor star Dr. Drew Pinsky) and “Officers and Wolves” (visitor stars Anne Lamott and Raghu Markus)– I virtually feared the system wouldn’t work as a result of the visuals had been too distracting. I imply it’s kinda arduous to concentrate to a dialogue about pot and opiates habit when there’s a complete freaking zombie apocalypse unleashing within the background!

However then I spotted that the issue was in my conditioning on how I are inclined to devour this sort of content material: Like many followers of podcasts one of many issues I take pleasure in probably the most is when placed on my headphones and play one in all my favourite reveals whereas I carry out one other exercise –exercising, commuting, or in my case engaged on an artwork fee. The exercise needs to be mechanical sufficient in order that I can let audio accompany me whereas I let my physique carry out the given chore, but I’m nonetheless having to pay a certain quantity of consideration to what I’m doing; this multi-tasking strategy is a good way to make a menial process extra entertaining, however the draw back is I’m not 100% attentive to the podcast.

Like a fidgety pagan god, Midnight Gospel calls for ALL of your consideration, to each the content material that’s taking part in in your display screen in addition to the data obtained by your ears. It’s important to be right here now, as Ram Dass –who makes a pleasant little cameo at one level– used to say. As soon as I figured it out, I used to be in a position to totally benefit from the many worlds envisioned by Pembleton and Duncan.

All of the episodes are superb, but when I had been to choose my high Three these can be: 

#3) Turtles of the Eclipse (visitor star Caitlin Doughty because the Grim Reaper) which offers concerning the unhealthy approach wherein our tradition faces demise.

#2) Annihilation of Pleasure (visitor star Jason Louv as a hen psychopomp) which offers with how we could must stay and die many lives till we lastly work out tips on how to escape the jail of actuality.

#1) Mouse of Silver (visitor star Deneen Fendig, a.ok.a. Duncan’s personal mother) which offers about how hurtful it’s to say goodbye to these we love probably the most –despite the fact that they by no means actually depart us. This episode used a recording Duncan made when his mom was dying of most cancers, which I nonetheless think about it to be top-of-the-line fucking podcasts ever made. As soon as I requested my mates Darren and Graham to ship some inquiries to Duncan after they had him on their podcast The Grimerica Present, and I felt the necessity to specific my gratitude to him for sharing such a candy and private present with the entire world, which I in comparison with the closest factor human beings may do to equate Jesus’s miracle of the multiplying fish and bread. Nicely, Mouse of Silver is as if the bread was fabricated from rye, and had a little bit of ergot fungus on high!

The Midnight Gospel: Mouse of Silver

The Midnight Gospel is the form of present which signifies that, regardless of society’s seeming downfall at this time, the paradigm is altering and WE are successful. Now you can take pleasure in all episodes on Netflix.

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