First some general housekeeping. Did a review for the Grapevine on an album by a singer/songwriter called Sveinn Guðmundsson. I didn’t like it, not one bit. But it turned out this was the first negative review the GV has printed for quite a while which i suppose make a change for them. Oh well. You can read it HERE
Now onto .more pressing matters. As I’ve been noting in a slightly apologetic manner over the last few weeks, i´ve been neglecting my blogging duties due to the demands of my new university course. LOTS of reading, fretting about things i’m guessing the other students aren’t worrying about (“Shit I’ve written too much for my home exam!”) and just general WTF moments about why I’m doing this again at the worst moments (i.e. when I’m trying to complete written assignments).
I do listen to music when i can, but often it stuff to help me power my walks to and from the campus, or to help me concentrate on trying to read/write about German expressionist cinema. so that means loads of looong techno and ambient mixes to act like a sonic metronome to ensure my synapses spark away in perfect timing.
But I’m still buying stuff that take my fancy. such as this the latest release from the cloaked ones SUNN O))) in a collaboration with Norwegian avant metallers ULVER. Started listening to it this week. and I’ve gotta say it’s got a pitiless depth to it that has me in danger of floating away into the nothingness of inner space.
But first some philosophy. Casting my mind back to an essay by Eugene Thacker in his book “In the dust of this planet:The Horror Of Philosophy” last year about the horror of the realms of unknowing and philosophy’s inability to articulate it. In an essay on what the “Black” in Black Metal means, he articulates the realms of human perception in terms that there is the world we live in (World-for-us), the planet that exists without human thought and contact but we can articulate (World-in-itself), and then there is the enigmatic spectral world that we cannot see and touch, a world that is completely obvious to our existence (World-without-us). He posits that Black=Satanic in civilisation (world-for-us), before countering it with Black=Pagan, something pre-christian, from nature itself (world-in-itself). He then gives us a third meaning of the “black” in Black metal to mean “Cosmic Pessimism” (World-without-us), the idea of a dark metaphysics of absolute negation, a nothingness that would herald the extinction of life and thought. Like Cthulhu mixed with Schopenhauer if you want.
And it was THIS that popped into my head when the first track “Let There Be Light” was playing. The track seems so pitiless in its lack of human emotion, pretty much oblivious to humankind in general. Just heavy seeping guitar tones and impenetrable brass notes that rumbled and ached over my speakers. Something majestic, but it would send you insane if you tried to think or articulate what it was, like the old one slumbering in his tarry pool of darkness before awakening.
The other two tracks seemed to hark about the other meaning of black as they give off a slightly sulphurous whiff of Bohren And Der Club Of Gore.Tracks of despairing doom-jazz inflections that lay bare the sheer nonsense and unimportance of our lives, while Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver croaks and drawls utterances on the final track “Eternal Return.”. It’s music that exists in an innerworld inside us but we can’t touch or grasp it.
A right barrel of laughs aren’t I? It certainly made thinking about the subjectivity we displace in viewing the world into a new light.