20090109: Darkness

 

There are several common themes in the genres like Dark Ambient, Noise, Death metal, Industrial etc. You know them all: darkness, emptiness, death, depression etc. Far too often you get encountered with young men in long dark-colored hair making the sign of the horns, telling you that the music (Dark Ambient in this case) that Ahasverus is making is “soo dark”, “awesome” and “mean”. This reaction on music is so awefully tiresome.

 

The Ahasverus project is digging in the psyche of the human being, not boosting teenagers´ identity. I hope that the project in some way can make the people (the few ones listening) getting closer to themselves, take the journey and come out on the other side as more humans than before. An apporach to psychological development that takes a starting point in the exterior facade of the individual will hopefully get somewhere after years of lost orientation. But I wouldn´t support that view.

 

Instead of trying to find the most “dark” music – telling your friends about the abyss that is awaiting them on that very specific website, or cd, or dvd – explore the hidden depths of literature and art. Believe me, you will find so much more human blood in works by Bergman, Goethe and Schiller, than on the average dark ambient scene.

20061006: Carlo Gesualdo

 

One of the most fascinating personalities in music history is the enigmatic Carlo Gesualdo, prince of Venosa. I first encountered him 15 years ago at a lesson in classical compostition theory, and my teacher recommended the 5th book of Madrigals. I do not really know why because I have not found that one yet. But everything else I have come across by this italian prince is marvelous and a bit unexpected from a composer of that time.

A musical outsider he develops a branch of his own in musical history. In the middle of the breakthrough of vertical harmony he is still involved in horizontal thinking with intertwisting melodic lines reaching further and further into the chromatical world. Listening to Gesualdo is a journey through a never before visited land, and no one has made his way there again since. A dead end.

The 16th October, the year he turned 29, Carlo Gesualdo, the passionate prince of Venosa, found his wife Maria d´Avalos in bed with the Duke of Andria and assassinated them both. He was not technically breaking the law, but the threat of revenge from the families of the victims made him stay in his castle – for the rest of his life. This life-story made Gesualdo well known both in his lifetime and later. I have always imagined him locked up in a tower, writing music without connection to the outer world. This imaginative picture is most probably not correct, but is a good illustration of his music.

Today, the some people living at Gesualdos former estates, still call him the devil. This Faustian approach to his personality springs to mind every time I listen to his music. 500 years after his death, Carlo Gesualdo still appears to me as more modern than most composers today.

 

20060818: One year later

 

One year has passed since I regged this domain and put up my site. It feels like yesterday and still a lot of things have happened. Most noteworthy must be the releases of the CD-rs “Ten is the number” and “Evocation”. I like them both a lot, but as usually I have an abhorrent feeling about everything I have created in at least a year, so we will see next year at the same time if I can listen to it at all (everything points in that general direction though!).

Looking back I seem to have been fairly productive this year, especially in the spring. Exept for the albums mentioned above I also released the album “The Great Attractor” and the EP “Cave Songs” in my own name. I have involved in several cooperations and trades, and I have put up a site at MySpace (like everybody else). Besides this I have had a daughter born in March and passed by three employers during the year. I have also picked up parts of my lute playing again.

All in all it has been a great year, and I have made a lot of new friends and acquaintances, which I am happy for.

So what will happen during the next year? I think I will try to refine the styles I am working with a bit. Since my “excavation” in Dark Ambient and other subcultural genres last year I think I know what I like and what I dislike in the respective genres. I hope it will broaden my electroacoustic composition work as well – or rather: I am quiet convinced that it will. During the autumn I will be a home husband taking care of my 6 month baby. I hope there will be at least some time for music, but I am not sure. Usually I have a change of direction twice a year. This year the change occurred during the summer, in direction towards medieval reenactment, and I think there will be some time until I make another release.

But – as they say – you should never say never…

 

20060316: Cave songs

 

In an article some years ago, literature nobel prize winner W.S. Naipul was asked how he was able to create characters, and have so much understanding for people. His answer was short: “You don´t write because you understand, you write because you don´t understand.”

 

To him the motivator for writing was that he had an ambition to understand the characters in his novels. I laborated a bit with this idea when working on the piece Cave songs. Prehistoric religions have always been a source of inspiration to me – but I have had problems to approach them in a direct way. Cave songs is based upon a live session, and through the fragments I sometimes feel a hint of the powers of nature.

 

This is a net-release. You find the CD for download here (Cave songs, mp3, 128 kbit, ca 27 mb). And a sleeve here

 

20060115: Ten is the number

 

The last months has been spent in front of my CD player. I´ve been deep down digging into the dark wave/industrial/dark ambient genres, which are all rather new to me. Approaching all these music I didn´t know where there were both inspiring and threatening, and started a creative process. It all ended up as a new album, that I call “Ten is the number”.

 

Coming from the electro-acoustic scene, where most people have a background in the classical field which is not very open minded, particularly not when it comes to “lesser” genres as the ones mentioned above, I had to cross several personal borders to really open my ears. (But I still have problems with obvious synthetic sounds and strings of etherical athmospheres).

 

“Ten is the number” is a recycling of some sounds from a composition I made at Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) in Stockholm during the autumn. Actually a friend told me she would like to hear more of all these sounds and that she felt that they ended just as they had started.

The release will be a CDr in about 100 copies. I think it is worth it! You find a sample from the CD here (Three mothers, track 2, mp3, 128 kbit).

 

Buy the cd here!

20051019: Giacinto Scelsi

 

It is hard to avoid getting curious when a composer refuses to be depicted with a photo on a CD. When I first heard about this 15 years ago it was explained that Giacinto Scelsi was a Buddhist and that his religion was against depictions. I have not found anything about that since, but nowadays I have more understanding of him as a mysticist – no matter the religious grounds. Even now you will not easily find a photo.

 

Giacinto Scelsi was born 1905 as an aristocrat, and raised in a castle in Italy. He is usually described as a composer who explored the “single note” in his works. That may be true, but is nothing I have noted. He is also often mentioned as a composer with a great interest in old religions, mysticism and philosophy from the old world. Sometimes he is said to have improvised hour-long compositions that were recorded and transcribed by his pupils.

 

One of the most notable works by Scelsi is Uaxuctum from 1969. Inspired by the Maya city that were destroyed by its citizens for religious reasons, he roughly paints a sound landscape. He has never told the true story about the narrative he thought of in his composition. And the piece is still a riddle to me. When my teacher and I listened to this work we found out that we were listening to the wrong track after about 20 minutes. I thought that the piece sounded a bit unusual, but nevertheless I had made up a story in my mind.

 

As August Strindberg wrote, music is the highest art-form, because it doesn’t depict anything, it only represents itself. I am still wondering whether I was wrong when I found a narrative close to Uaxuctums in a totally different piece.

 

However, I actually found a picture of Scelsi on the Internet. The feeling of watching his face in a photo from his twenties was unpleasant. During his lifetime he refused all efforts to connect his music with a photo of himself.

 

I think that should be respected.

 

20050927: Luigi Nono

20050927:

Luigi Nono

No music has ever made such an impression on me as the works by Luigi Nono. Threatening, hoovering, waiting it keeps you in a state of expectation and a bit of unease. But it took quiet a while for me to get there. My first contact with modern/contemporary music was in the late 1980-ies. Obviously the word “modern” referred to something extraordinarily hard to perform and often hard to enjoy.

 

“Less is more” was an expression never heard of amongst the modernistic composers. At this time I took lectures in composition for a teacher from Chile. He held the avantgarde very high in his thoughts and he never came over the fact that post-modernism had swept away all the rules of art and music. Now, they belonged to the sixties, and he saw in most popular modern artist only a wish for fame – and a lack of “true innovative art”.

 

I partly had difficulties to cope with his view. On the one hand I liked the idea of always making something new, but on the other I also saw that things didn´t necessarily have to be structurally, conceptually or technically new. Sometimes it would be perfectly allright if it was new to the performer, or new to the listener. Not much people listen to avantgardistic music these days.

 

When I first heard Nono, I think it was his second string quartet, a world of possibilities opened, as a world of concepts and sounds. His music was not hard to perform, neither hard to listen to, but it really hit me like a bullet in places not controlled by the analytic parts of my mind. I was paralysed during the nearly one hour long piece. Then I bought the CD, to listen at home. “Stop that annoying music!” my family said, which reminded me of the fact that this music really pierced and was hard to close the door on.

 

Some years later my teacher had started an analysis of the work “Non hay caminos, hay que caminar”, one of Nonos latest works. But all of a sudden he just handed over the analysis to me, with the words “you can accomplish it if you want to”. He seemed a bit scared, and when we discussed it later (after a couple of glasses “Jerez”) he explained that the music, and the analysis, went past the border of death. My teachers 9 year old boy had died many years before, but he still had a complicated relationship with death. Nono himself had died just a few year after the work was finished. Asking a close friend of his about the cause of death was not very concrete but he thought that he had drunken too much. Other sources spoke of suicide.

 

Today, I have understood that Nono got much inspiration from the older and very ecclectic composer Giacinto Scelsi, maybe a composer better than Nono himself, in my opinion. But Scelsi never even remotley touched as deep places in me, as Nono did.