Magazine Reviews,  Reviews

Review: Tarot Makes Music Magazine

Written by: Emma Sunnerton-Burl

My first impressions were that this, thick booklet, ‘zine’ style, magazine is jam-packed full of information, articles and reviews connecting tarot and music in various ways. With a fully independent and DIY feel to it, it is filled with interesting discussions, approaches and viewpoints. As I delved deeper and read what was on offer I also realised to get the most from this there would be a good amount of time listening to music – most of which was new to me, though many of the genres represented were to my usual taste, so I found the experience very enjoyable. Ste makes it clear this magazine is biased towards his own tastes in electropop and punk/folk-punk music in the alternative scene rather than a magazine with genres from across the board represented – I enjoyed hearing some great music I hadn’t experienced before and consider the links to tarot at the same time.

I think it would benefit from a Spotify playlist of the artists talked of even if the specific tunes are not available. So I made one to augment my enjoyment of the zine; putting an album or two of each musician mentioned onto the list. Some didn’t appear on Spotify so I went to Bandcamp to listen, though this is less easy to share as a list.

The zine is written in an informal exploratory style and I found the tone very warm and inclusive. A nice intro to tarot for those less familiar with tarot started the magazine, then it continues with articles that fall roughly into one of the following categories; Music written referencing the tarot; musicians who use the tarot in their creation process; tarot decks that have been aligned to music in some way – like a song for each card type thing, tarot decks that are depicting musicians and interestingly interviews with musicians which are carried out using the tarot as the first answer to a question before allowing the interviewee to comment both on the question and the tarot card concerned.

I particularly liked the interview style with the tarot as it added a new dimension to interview material and enabled the artist to talk more of their own process in a new way which I found particularly interesting as a tarot reader.

A couple of articles that really stood out to me. One was by Robert Place who talked of the link between numbers, their symbolism and the notes of the western scale, and additional correspondences to astrology and the chakras as developed initially by Pythagoras and how this linked to tarot through these systems.

Another was the review of the Khaoamusica majors deck which is an art, music and tarot collaboration. For a collaborative deck is it very unified and the music though varied sounds excellent. Something I am intending to buy on the strength of this review and the website directed to.

Another distinctive article was from Enrique Enriquez looking at meaning and coincidence and a performance art style use of the tarot which was a fascinating read.

Something that struck me as refreshing and powerfully inclusive, was how much of the magazine was concerned with peoples’ work in music and tarot from the LGBT+ community. Additionally there is a larger, than commonly seen in UK publications anyway, representation of European musicians represented, with songs in languages other than English, which I found very enlivening and expanding.

The review of the punk tarot zine created by Jessie Lynn McMains was good and dotted throughout the zine there were interesting facts that connected well-known musicians and tarot in some way.
My only criticism is that the back cover seems to be printed badly – with half the wording upside down – possibly this being a review copy I have received – others may not have this error.

At the end Ste makes a few final words mentioning the many decks with musical connections and songs with tarot connections that were not included in this chunky zine – I wonder whether it’s a taster of volume 2 (or Issue 1 as this issue is Issue 0 following the Fools journey numbering!) ?

In all I found the zine an interesting read, with topics touched on that would be fascinating to explore further. It gave an interesting way to select new music to listen to and with the list of songs connected to the majors in Khaoamusica I started to wonder whether divination by a shuffled (made by randomising a song list number of times perhaps) playlist might be an interesting divination method to explore.

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Name: “TAROT MAKES MUSIC is a one-off magazine uncovering the fascinating relationship between tarot cards and music. Classic alternative and pop albums that have been inspired by tarot cards are reviewed. Some of the most groundbreaking authors in the tarot world, namely Christiana Gaudet, Enrique Enriquez, Robert M.Place and Theresa Reed (a.k.a The Tarot Lady) share their stories and research. Cult musicians Wendy Rule and Derek Schmidt discuss how the 78 cards of the tarot have inspired them to create haunting and beautiful music. Featuring quirky tarot musical facts, psychedelic music-themed tarot decks and tarot-themed interviews with queer and radical underground musicians, TAROT MAKES MUSIC is a bizarre, niche collector’s item for esoteric music-loving geeks everywhere!”

Creators: Ste McCab – The Tarot Cat
Purchase: It’s available as a printed glossy magazine or a PDF digital magazine on Etsy.

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