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Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium

Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 04, 2010, 05:03:10 AM
Please check this article below and read it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/15/arts/music/15metal.html?_r=2&ref=arts&pagewanted=all

I would love to hear everyone's take of opinion on it.  Mine simply is this...These so-called "intellects" don't know f**k all about what they're talking about and are making over-education theories of trying to over-disseminate black metal through discoursed reductionism and analysis.  I think it's all just bullshit.

Also, to top it off, it's of course an article by the "Jew York Times" newspaper website.

Have fun with the debate.
The mind is a product of the brain; the soul is a product of the choices that brain makes. Nothing is equal; in physics, they refer to a state of equality as "entropy."

http://www.anus.com/metal/hall/index.php/topic,6767.0.html

I don't have quite the same knee-jerk aversion to the rampant overintellectualizing taking place in music these days, but that symposium was borderline pornographic.  There's merit in fringe culture being given an academic treatment and then there's the shame of having a bunch of people waste your time by masking a lot of very frivolous (and often spurious) opinions behind a wall of fancy words.  When you actually read through transcripts of the event, most of it borders on parody done with a deathly straightface, like watching a black metal-themed episode of The Office.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Is this the thread where we bitch about what we really dislike about it? Good, I'd like to start with this:


If that picture doesn't scream "POST-BLACK METAL HIPSTER FAGGOTRY" with flashing neon lights then you're pretty dumb, dude. I guess a baphomet or a skull would have been too provocative. I don't think BM is desperate enough to let a bunch of obvious cowards defend it's merit. And why wasn't Prozak invited as a guest of honor?

I'll listen to the Symposium mp3 files but felt I had to share that first impression. This picture looks more like a Joy Division or The Smiths album cover than anything else, blergh!

"Whoah dude, chill out! Rooftops are totally fucking black metal man!"

I remember the uproar about this. Seemed like a bunch of pseudo intellectual tomfoolery. I know that New York has produced good black metal in the past, but given the track record lately with all of the hipster BM that seems to reside in the state I call home, I wouldn't doubt this "theory symposium" was just another bunch of morons whining about something they don't know much about.
No.

Having reviewed the thread, baby Jesus is most definitely weeping at this point.

Is this the thread where we bitch about what we really dislike about it? Good, I'd like to start with this:


If that picture doesn't scream "POST-BLACK METAL HIPSTER FAGGOTRY" with flashing neon lights then you're pretty dumb, dude.

Oh, it definitely does!  This is definitely NOT a black metal cover/poster/illustration, etc.  It is pure faggotry.


 
Quote
I guess a baphomet or a skull would have been too provocative. I don't think BM is desperate enough to let a bunch of obvious cowards defend it's merit. And why wasn't Prozak invited as a guest of honor?

Yep...pretty obvious, isn't it?  People can't handle a little provocativeness or "evilness," but I think that's a good thing for our side.  It means we're still feared and despised by the mainstream.  Something black metal needs to remain steadfast in....

And yeah, what the hell!?  Why wasn't Prozak invited as a guest of honor?  He would've been the flagship spokesman at that event!

Quote
I'll listen to the Symposium mp3 files but felt I had to share that first impression. This picture looks more like a Joy Division or The Smiths album cover than anything else, blergh!

Yes it does....and that's not a very sincere, good portrayal either.  I sure as hell don't like it.

Quote
"Whoah dude, chill out! Rooftops are totally fucking black metal man!"

No they're not...get real. :P

[/quote]
The mind is a product of the brain; the soul is a product of the choices that brain makes. Nothing is equal; in physics, they refer to a state of equality as "entropy."

And yeah, what the hell!?  Why wasn't Prozak invited as a guest of honor?  He would've been the flagship spokesman at that event!

because Prozak is an outsider as far as the little east coast indie scenester joy luck club is concerned.  populated by the likes of the Pitchforks and Dusteds of the world, where metal shall have nary a mention of evil/death/violence unless it's proffered by American college kids in jeans and baseball caps.

And yeah, what the hell!?  Why wasn't Prozak invited as a guest of honor?  He would've been the flagship spokesman at that event!

because Prozak is an outsider as far as the little east coast indie scenester joy luck club is concerned.  populated by the likes of the Pitchforks and Dusteds of the world, where metal shall have nary a mention of evil/death/violence unless it's proffered by American college kids in jeans and baseball caps.

True...sadly.
The mind is a product of the brain; the soul is a product of the choices that brain makes. Nothing is equal; in physics, they refer to a state of equality as "entropy."

I think it's all just bullshit.

Academia doesn't work like you and me. Instead of coming up with analysis toward action, they come up with talking points. They do this because then the rest of society takes those ideas and runs with them and finds a direction toward action.

I am all in favor of this symposium, even though I think you're right that a fair amount of b.s. is going to get flung around. That's how academia works, and isn't a fault of this symposium itself.

If you look at it that way, you can see that these guys are an ANUS wet dream -- they're treating black metal like an art form and analyzing the meaning behind it. And since the words "transcendental" and "Romanticism" got in there, it's doubly awesome.

I have no problems with what they're doing and think we the metalheads should promote this even more.

The mind is a product of the brain; the soul is a product of the choices that brain makes. Nothing is equal; in physics, they refer to a state of equality as "entropy."

I think it's all just bullshit.

Academia doesn't work like you and me. Instead of coming up with analysis toward action, they come up with talking points. They do this because then the rest of society takes those ideas and runs with them and finds a direction toward action.

I am all in favor of this symposium, even though I think you're right that a fair amount of b.s. is going to get flung around. That's how academia works, and isn't a fault of this symposium itself.

If you look at it that way, you can see that these guys are an ANUS wet dream -- they're treating black metal like an art form and analyzing the meaning behind it. And since the words "transcendental" and "Romanticism" got in there, it's doubly awesome.

I have no problems with what they're doing and think we the metalheads should promote this even more.
Agreed. There's a real lack of quality writings on black metal in academics. I wrote a paper last year and I think I only found one journal article that really had any sort of useful information on black metal (Kahn-Harris, K. (2004). The 'Failure' of Youth Culture: Reflexivity, Music and Politics in the Black Metal Scene. European Journal of Cultural Studies , 7 (95), 95-111). In comparison, there's A LOT of literature dealing with punk, riot grrl, goth, hip hop, and so forth.

Funnily enough, I made similar arguments to the sin-eater comment stated in that article using a Frankfurt School analysis of black metal. In short: In order to resist popular culture, black metal had to become antithetical and introverted "beauty" into transgressive ugliness. Something about rejecting the easily digestable, rationalised structure of popular music which resembled the mechanical work experience in favour of a more chaotic, irrational approach too...

Hmmmmm, well, unfortunately the audio recordings of the presentations are of extremely poor quality, pretty much not listenable. I was hoping they would produce written transcripts, which they have but they are collected in a book (link). Also I have found on the internet three of the presentations posted for free by their authors:
- Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya by Nicola Masciandaro
- Remain true to the earth!: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal by Benjamin Noys
- The Headless Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Evan Calder Williams

Personally I have only read the above three papers, and I must say that my opinion of them is fairly positive. I don't necessarily agree with everything they express, but I do think they are reasonably well constructed and interesting, healthy contributions to the marketplace of ideas in the domain of metal.

I think it's important to point out though, particularly in the case of that first paper by Nicola (who I believe was one of the symposium organizers by the way), that his paper is not necessarily intended to be persuasive as much as it is intended to illustrate a perspective... many would criticize it for being presumptuous and lacking in reasoning, but I do not believe it is an attempt to be definitive on the subject, it aims not to explain how to connect the dots but to elaborate the image the author perceives with the dots connected. I think it has merit particularly since that image is hardly even expressed anywhere in the marketplace of ideas, there is basically no writing about it yet. True Nicola does not go out of his way to be humble, but personally I think that's OK as we could all do with less self-depreciation in the name of political correctness (and I think such sentiment is not too foreign in the black metal scene).

Before people bash this symposium, I wonder if they have actually read any of the papers to the end, rather than just disapproving of the pictures used on the website or basing their judgments only on stereotypes or first impressions?

I think it's all just bullshit.

Academia doesn't work like you and me. Instead of coming up with analysis toward action, they come up with talking points. They do this because then the rest of society takes those ideas and runs with them and finds a direction toward action.

I am all in favor of this symposium, even though I think you're right that a fair amount of b.s. is going to get flung around. That's how academia works, and isn't a fault of this symposium itself.

If you look at it that way, you can see that these guys are an ANUS wet dream -- they're treating black metal like an art form and analyzing the meaning behind it. And since the words "transcendental" and "Romanticism" got in there, it's doubly awesome.

I have no problems with what they're doing and think we the metalheads should promote this even more.
Agreed. There's a real lack of quality writings on black metal in academics. I wrote a paper last year and I think I only found one journal article that really had any sort of useful information on black metal (Kahn-Harris, K. (2004). The 'Failure' of Youth Culture: Reflexivity, Music and Politics in the Black Metal Scene. European Journal of Cultural Studies , 7 (95), 95-111). In comparison, there's A LOT of literature dealing with punk, riot grrl, goth, hip hop, and so forth.

Funnily enough, I made similar arguments to the sin-eater comment stated in that article using a Frankfurt School analysis of black metal. In short: In order to resist popular culture, black metal had to become antithetical and introverted "beauty" into transgressive ugliness. Something about rejecting the easily digestable, rationalised structure of popular music which resembled the mechanical work experience in favour of a more chaotic, irrational approach too...

It's true there is not much quality writing available yet on black metal, which is one reason I think this symposium was a good idea. There's a little more than just that one paper by Harris though, which I have collected in a link archive on my metal website. I would particularly point to some of the papers from the Heavy Fundamentalisms: Music, Metal and Politics conferences which deal with black metal.
www.TheMetalDiscourser.com
The universe is naked, attack its corpus, take a real stab at your life and let the blood flow RIP the sound of the very fabric tearing.

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 07, 2010, 09:04:49 PM
These people talk a big game but rarely do anything cultural important at all. If you think black metal should be a certain way, make it that way: form a band and play that way. Darkthrone influenced most people's opinion of what Black Metal is about far more than these guys ever will.
"Necessity knows no law except to conquer."
- Publilius Syrus

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 08, 2010, 12:30:15 AM
The same argument could be made about Prozak's reviews.  Some people make music, some analyze it.

Hmmmmm, well, unfortunately the audio recordings of the presentations are of extremely poor quality, pretty much not listenable. I was hoping they would produce written transcripts, which they have but they are collected in a book (link). Also I have found on the internet three of the presentations posted for free by their authors:
- Anti-Cosmosis: Black Mahapralaya by Nicola Masciandaro
- Remain true to the earth!: Remarks on the Politics of Black Metal by Benjamin Noys
- The Headless Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Evan Calder Williams

Personally I have only read the above three papers, and I must say that my opinion of them is fairly positive. I don't necessarily agree with everything they express, but I do think they are reasonably well constructed and interesting, healthy contributions to the marketplace of ideas in the domain of metal.

I think it's important to point out though, particularly in the case of that first paper by Nicola (who I believe was one of the symposium organizers by the way), that his paper is not necessarily intended to be persuasive as much as it is intended to illustrate a perspective... many would criticize it for being presumptuous and lacking in reasoning, but I do not believe it is an attempt to be definitive on the subject, it aims not to explain how to connect the dots but to elaborate the image the author perceives with the dots connected. I think it has merit particularly since that image is hardly even expressed anywhere in the marketplace of ideas, there is basically no writing about it yet. True Nicola does not go out of his way to be humble, but personally I think that's OK as we could all do with less self-depreciation in the name of political correctness (and I think such sentiment is not too foreign in the black metal scene).

Before people bash this symposium, I wonder if they have actually read any of the papers to the end, rather than just disapproving of the pictures used on the website or basing their judgments only on stereotypes or first impressions?

I think it's all just bullshit.

Academia doesn't work like you and me. Instead of coming up with analysis toward action, they come up with talking points. They do this because then the rest of society takes those ideas and runs with them and finds a direction toward action.

I am all in favor of this symposium, even though I think you're right that a fair amount of b.s. is going to get flung around. That's how academia works, and isn't a fault of this symposium itself.

If you look at it that way, you can see that these guys are an ANUS wet dream -- they're treating black metal like an art form and analyzing the meaning behind it. And since the words "transcendental" and "Romanticism" got in there, it's doubly awesome.

I have no problems with what they're doing and think we the metalheads should promote this even more.
Agreed. There's a real lack of quality writings on black metal in academics. I wrote a paper last year and I think I only found one journal article that really had any sort of useful information on black metal (Kahn-Harris, K. (2004). The 'Failure' of Youth Culture: Reflexivity, Music and Politics in the Black Metal Scene. European Journal of Cultural Studies , 7 (95), 95-111). In comparison, there's A LOT of literature dealing with punk, riot grrl, goth, hip hop, and so forth.

Funnily enough, I made similar arguments to the sin-eater comment stated in that article using a Frankfurt School analysis of black metal. In short: In order to resist popular culture, black metal had to become antithetical and introverted "beauty" into transgressive ugliness. Something about rejecting the easily digestable, rationalised structure of popular music which resembled the mechanical work experience in favour of a more chaotic, irrational approach too...

I'll give those links a read when I get the chance.  If you say it's actually the opposite of what my initial impressions are/were, I'll eat my original words.
The mind is a product of the brain; the soul is a product of the choices that brain makes. Nothing is equal; in physics, they refer to a state of equality as "entropy."

Re: Hideous Gnosis black metal symposium
March 09, 2010, 06:03:14 PM
I think it's all just bullshit.

Academia doesn't work like you and me. Instead of coming up with analysis toward action, they come up with talking points. They do this because then the rest of society takes those ideas and runs with them and finds a direction toward action.

I am all in favor of this symposium, even though I think you're right that a fair amount of b.s. is going to get flung around. That's how academia works, and isn't a fault of this symposium itself.

If you look at it that way, you can see that these guys are an ANUS wet dream -- they're treating black metal like an art form and analyzing the meaning behind it. And since the words "transcendental" and "Romanticism" got in there, it's doubly awesome.

I have no problems with what they're doing and think we the metalheads should promote this even more.

I am not against having a symposium about BM either. In fact I think it's pretty cool that these guys got this far. I've read the articles Transcix posted but every time they mention a shitty band I just feel like quitting reading. My impression is not that they are treating black metal like an art form. My impression is that they're pushing the shitty "modern" bands they like: Xasthur, Mutiilation, Peste Noire and just about every other band they mention while they hardly even mention what created the whole black metal movement: Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone and the ideas those bands stood for. Then they try to intellectualize whatever loose ends they come up with but lack a solid foundation for their claims about black metal. They are constantly avoiding controversial topics and instead only scrape the surface of things. To me it seems obvious that if one wishes to analyze art it's better to start with the root and ignore meaningless offshoots. These people are more obsessed with typical hipster stuff than with anything I'd consider respectable. As such this symposium only harms black metal by confusing people more about its meaning. To me it seems like a wet dream turned into a nightmare...

I only hope that it shows people that it is possible to have a symposium about black metal and to present it as an intellectual artform and that maybe it leads to some people doing a better symposium. But if Hideous Gnosis sets the standard for future symposiums then I don't see anything positive about this development at all.



These people talk a big game but rarely do anything cultural important at all. If you think black metal should be a certain way, make it that way: form a band and play that way. Darkthrone influenced most people's opinion of what Black Metal is about far more than these guys ever will.

The same argument could be made about Prozak's reviews.  Some people make music, some analyze it.

Trolling internet forums has a lot more cultural importance than you might think.