Dusk-Bound

The success of endeavors that carry with them the implication of development or transformation, such as the evolution of an artistic genre (without any relation to the ‘progress’ of dialectical materialism), requires the constant testing of strength, the crossing of one’s boundaries. Contrary to the beliefs of the simple minded, this does not mean that the act of crossing those lines is in itself enough for a fully-formed conclusion to be presented, although there is indeed great value in violation itself. But one could argue that the great weapons of the mind, enacted, come as a result of a full digestion and re-application of invaluable experience and information that comes from the crude testing of strength, directed towards the intuited limits of the yet unexplored.

Courageous aggression and single-minded determination, the traits of a lion, unabated by adverse conditions and driven by force and lust, a hunger to ever strive for more, to keep going beyond, knowing that conquest is never done. Pride, dignified and as a result of self-contained potential and a will to transcendence, to reaching beyond the scorched nihilistic earth which is itself the basis of this pride, is also necessary. For in unresolved complexes and fixations energy is expended, wasted, where the river of Jungian energy-libido[1] could instead flow towards self-accomplishment and self-discovery. Thus, pride must be upheld despite all perceived errors, but truthfully and not only in appearance, as a defense mechanism, nor as self-deception. This is a pride that drives forth to perfection, to build upon experience: implying the need for the active seeking-out of personal experiences. In thus stepping above the need to appear healthy and strong, because one simply is, an honest and effective work of art can be brought about.

To ultimately behold the fire of new, vibrant creations that subtly release energies which sip into our cognisance from the dark forces of the abyss: this is the road to an cultivation of inner power. It is Desire emblazoned upon the instrument of invocation which materializes spells, which in our present discussion entail music beyond product, beyond appearances, beyond social movements, and certainly beyond the cynicism of merely systematic rationalizers[2]. Our impulse to transcendence is moreover anchored by a hand that points downward, a constant reminder to never forget an unyielding and merciless harsh reality. In this, a balance is struck: formulas of etheric purity built upon tangible movements and manifest structures (as opposed to the ‘placebo music’ of the majority).

Felix Ayo & I Musici – Vivaldi: Le Quattro Stagioni (1959)

Hardly needing any sort of introduction for most in the audience, Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons has been a staple of ‘classical music’ throughout the whole history of recorded music. While clearly centered around stylistic lines, Vivaldi seemed to spun an unparalleled magic which, not unlike Mozart’s accomplishment in this respect, danced merrily along the contours of discovered and imposed rules, never quite infringing but always trespassing with license and a wink, showing the world that greatness lies in the highest, not just in the farthest. The sincerest dramatism in light-footed steps, searing ardour in a unitary, organic undulating motion without end, seeing unique moments pass into memory . In Vivaldi’s best work we find permanence where the Italians had ‘simply’ a raw rococo passing beauty of style (Master Arcangelo Corelli is, nonetheless, a delight), swiftness and aloofness reminiscent of nature where the rest imposed the mark of man’s forcefulness through technique upon nature.[3]

Around this creator, this sorcerer, lay a flowering greenery, some lively and blossoming, some dead and trampled, or decaying. Such is his movement across aural descriptions, a super-sensible communication that moves within, pervades the states and moves across them. Joyous fortitude gives way to elegant candour, followed by melancholic sadness, bittersweet anguish, raised again to longing regret and hope, to end in defiant fury.

“The rolling seasons pass away,
And Time, untiring, waves his wing;
Whilst honour’s laurels ne’er decay,
But bloom in fresh, unfading spring.”
—Lord Byron

Heeding the signs, the unfolding to which Vivaldi attuned his work, Felix Ayo and I Musici created a modern interpretation that highlights the center of this flow as a succession of segments within a whole, while rounding off piercing or sharp edges. Uniquely mellow compared to most recordings, in here, the music does not appear to rush or to lag, but rather advances at a comfortable pace that is always adequate. The pitch, furthermore, is not the high, screechy monstrosity of the more recent interpretations, or the break-neck speed that deforms the landscape-evoking beauty of this work into navel-gazing comedic examples of ‘classical music’. Here, we have musicians giving way to the best in the music, letting essence come forth unmolested by the ever-present banality of ‘artists’, always emphasizing their presumption to importance and their ‘feelings’ and ‘relationships’ —the epidemic of the modern world. [4] Felix Ayo and I Musici’s old rendering of Le Quattro Stagioni thus gives birth to a unique though subtle treasure.

Ildjarn – Landscapes (1996)

Here is mystery compounded with pure clarity, disembodied disclosure of a flowing yet somehow immanent train of thought that reflects transformations rather than derivations. Though the assertion may come off as ludicrous to the straight metal listener, those who have stood on both sides of the fence to commune in all sincerity with both sources of experience will be able to attest that, in essence, very little separates Landscapes from Forest Poetry, two works of apparently opposite natures released in a same year. The advantage that the former holds over the unrelenting pummeling of the latter is its purity, denuded of all pretension or appearance, it simply emulates energetic flows. In one sense, Landscapes is Ildjarn’s elitism beyond Ildjarn itself.

A nameless series of pure ideas makes up this work, and in their namelessness they echo the restless grandeur that we may perceive in reverential ecstasy of nature. That is a peaceful, eternal flowing, existing beyond the creation of this world and continuing far after its annihilation. Vidar Vaaer surely contemplated such fluxions in his customary journeys across those northernmost wildernesses, such emergence of being around and within himself. Communing with nature beyond any pretension for himself, unapologetic, as well as without ascribing to his witnessing any abstractions or names that would only deform, even if in an attempt of description, the unmarred beauty and horror to be found out there.[5]

Perceptions of such a kind are written about deftly and unassumingly by other adventurers, too[6]. And in them one is inspired not only to think upon this subject, but to actually, physically and actively, move towards the attainment of such personal experiences. Precisely in this lies the power of these musical creatures of impulse and desire, of swords of death that cut into the unconscious and thus effect change. To not waste time in artistry in itself, but to let whatever artistry that will come, come; or not, as the case may be; and only as a bi-product of a person’s gradual discovery of the artwork that ‘writes itself’.

Enslaved – Vikingligr Veldi (1994)

Aligned with the endorsement of the current Death Metal Underground’s tyrannical leadership of a future instrumental development of the metal genre, Enslaved showcases one of the purest possibilities of said development through the focus of a lean and structure-oriented black metal. As an outstanding black metal album, it never, even for one second, forgoes a pervading sensation of haunting. The album is constructed out of a strict adherence to themes, with the drumming becoming an almost electronic-music-inspired beat (without failing to vary tastefully and graciously introduce transition material), and the guitars minimal references to the metal genre. Satisfying in delivery yet aloof and sparse, the vocals are a welcome accentuation, whispers in the dark, voices of the Draugr.

While somewhat repetitive to the unaccustomed ear, Vikingligr Veldi is reserved for the enjoyment of the Hessian with a disciplined ear, who makes use of this recording in an automatic trance-state meditation. Beyond the imagery of ancient, deceased viking warriors, we are entreated to the amoral transcendence behind violent acts of a Will to Power, the pure determination of an untamed humanity. In taking us above and beyond it, we perceive the destiny-bound, supra-personal vision of an archetypal Arjuna as the blade of Krishna, the Avatar of Vishnu, whose flaming mouths devour the morass of humankind, and which mouths cover the universe with immeasurable rays that scorch the worlds.[7]

For all ascendance is a descent into our underworlds, and it is through facing death and decay that life is enriched and fed (by the blood of the living); the more we reach for that never-ending dusk, the more we become aware of the on-going spiritual vitality of our existences, just as the more we reach beyond what is human-all-too-human, the we come more in touch with an authentic humanity. The only truly-existing work of Enslaved is an ode to these mysteries, and the intimations that come thereby, lulling us to dance-like swings of triumphal death, after conservative but expertly-applied extreme, minimalist percussion and all manner of black metal techniques, in a musical maelstrom that is ever the embodiment of the essence behind the myth. We are called to stand outside ourselves, to don the attire of a god and fearlessly commune with the dark.[8]


Beneath the civilised veneer, man remains the supreme predator. Cursed with what he believes is understanding, his true soul blossoms godlike in the heart of the nuclear inferno. —Ian Brady, The Gates of Janus


Notes

[1] “The economy of thought which physics has already obtained we strive after in our libido theory. We conceive libido now simply as energy, so that we are in the position to figure the manifold processes as forms of energy. Thus, we replace the old reciprocal action by relations of absolute equivalence. We shall not be astonished if we are met with the cry of vitalism. But we are as far removed from any belief in a specific vital power, as from any other metaphysical assertion. We term libido that energy which manifests itself by vital processes, which is subjectively perceived as aspiration, longing and striving. We see in the diversity of natural phenomena the desire, the libido, in the most diverse applications and forms.” —Carl G. Jung, Theory of Psychoanalysis, Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co., New York, 1915, p. 40.

[2] “However, I will note that having an advanced degree in a particular field of study doesn’t mean that your arguments are valid or that your propositions are true, nor that they should go unquestioned.” —III James Theodore Stillwell, Power Nihilism: A Case for Moral & Political Nihilism. A brief discussion on and about this book was previously hosted on Death Metal Underground.

[3] “All the Vivaldi concertos he had arranged for keyboard in his youth had taught him style, but no Italian contemporary was capable of the combination of unity and imaginative vigor, of consistency and variety displayed by the outer movements, and, above all, of the immensely long sustained arabesque of the slow movement, one of the most profound creations of the century.” —Charles Rosen, Critical Entertainments: Music Old & New, Hardvard, 2000, p. 43.

[4] “Their constant background, rightly called the ‘fetishism of human relationships,’ consists of the insignificant, sentimental, sexual, or social problems of insignificant individuals…” —Julius Evola, Ride the Tiger, pp. 154-155.

[5] “I believe art evolves subconsciously due to a genuine, introspective need to create, originating from despair, anger, hatred, lust or other states of the incomplete human psyche. If the word ‘art’ is to be used, one needs to know that art in fact makes itself, consequently to being uncontrollable. In failing to see this, the works in question will only turn into the inane accomplishments of a craftsman. I guess the majority of bands in the metal music industry fail in their attempts at creating ludicrous and a waste of time for all. If people label their works art subsequent to having made it, that perfectly ok; it may actually be just that. Of course, its one of those words subject to abuse by the common man, and when incorporating too many trivial aspects, while it should in fact be denoting a one-of-a-kind quality, the word just becomes totally redundant.” —Vidar Vaaer, Ildjarn: Final Statement.

[6] “’There,’ thought I, ‘is an ideal place for a penniless wanderer. There no superstitious prowling mischief maker dares venture for fear of haunting ghosts, while for me there will be God’s rest and peace. And then, if I am to be exposed to unhealthy vapors, I shall have capital compensation in seeing those grand oaks in the moonlight, with all the impressive and nameless influences of this lonely beautiful place.'” —John Miur, A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, Chapter 4: ‘Camping Among the Tombs’

[7] Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, Verse 30. See this link. The recommended translated and commented version of this eternal work into English is Bhagavad Gita As It is by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

[8] “The god (i.e. the king) who made this journey had already disguised himself as Óðinn, but to gain access to the realm of the dead he also had to escort a dead person, or else he had no business being there. The god therefore brought the cut down mistletoe, the body of Baldr, and used it as a key to open up the road to Hel.” —Varg Vikernes, Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia, p. 34. This excellent book may be acquired on Amazon.

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6 thoughts on “Dusk-Bound”

  1. LostInTheANUS says:

    Winter is best

    1. Ignorance says:

      Cliches…only.
      they’re all awesome

      1. LostInTheANUS says:

        Agreed, but winter is best.

  2. NWN Blackened Stroker Vinyl says:

    Enslaved turned into shemale music far too quickly…

  3. Big Papa Niggle says:

    Ildjarn’s minimalism and raw expression of id is so extreme that it comes full circle into navel gazing bullshit for autists.

    1. PUTA MADRE says:

      Good article tho, the writing style is awfully reminiscent of a certain previous editor…

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