Saturday, September 30, 2006
If one could imagine a Black Metal version of Can's 'Future Days', inverting that album's sunny optimism into dire despair, one would hear something like Xasthur's 'Subliminal Genocide': almost as psychedelic, almost as cyclical, almost as hypnotic. Still, one hopes that Xasthur's further albums will become as diverse as Can's discography, instead of more duplicates of the previous albums. Next time, can we have some ethnological forgeries from a truly black continent, some Striborg meets Stockhausen?
Stockhausen - Aus den sieben Tagen (Ensemble Musique Vivante, dir. Diego Masson);
Luke Vibert - Yoseph;
Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide;
Jah Stitch - Original Ragga Muffin (1975-77);
John Coltrane - Giant Steps;
Coil - ... and the ambulance died in his arms.
Current reading: The Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Today I received Xasthur 'Subliminal Genocide' in the mail, together with two t-shirts ... Because I was at work, the postman delivered the package to my strange old neighbour, who handed it to me with a strange smile ... Little dog barking in the background ... I'm listening to the cd for the second time now ... It's too soon to post a review, the scale of the music seems to be too large for my little brain ... Malefic is Kirillov, a prophet of suicide, half real, half fiction, and I'm no Dostoevsky ... Dostoevsky's brain could create, encompass Kirillov and Stavrogin and the rest, but - tired as I am - can mine encompass Xasthur? And if my brain can't encompass him, can Xasthur uncreate me? It is exactly this struggle between an author and the characters he creates one senses in 'Demons' - a struggle like Jacob with the angel - which makes it one of the most haunted, haunting books I've read.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Also, check out this highly interesting essay by Joyce Carol Oats on Dostoevsky's 'Demons', in which she describes the book's plot as a tragic rite of exorcism - a line of thought that certainly merits further consideration. Sadly, Oats mainly uses René Girard's analysis of ritual, which I find anthropologically poorly informed (I hated his 'La violence et le Sacré', a book which goes out of it's way to make the facts fit the theory, using a methodology which had been discredited in anthropology 40 years earlier). If I have the time, i'll try to develop a Maussian theory of 'Demons' as a rite of exorcims. Sadly, I'm working too much at the moment, so probably I won't have the time.
I've been reading Dostoevsky's 'Demons', after the book or it's protagonist Stavrogin was namechecked both in Thomas Mann's 'Der Zauberberg' and some book by Georges Bataille (I forget which). In short, the book was about members of a nihilist terrorist cell of killing one of their number, cynically manipulated into murder by their leader who wants to use it to strengthen the bonds between the cell members. It was based on the actual murder of one Ivan Ivanov on november 21st, 1869. It is a particularly dark book.
Reading the book, it surprised me how much the language of nihilism has remained unchanged since the book was published in 1871. Some parts of monologues of one character in particular, the suicide Kirillov, could come straight from the mouth of, lets say, Xasthur's Malefic or Leviathan's Wrest (check these interviews with Wrest for instance, by following the link at the bottom). I wonder if any of them read the book.
The grisly visit of the provincial avant garde to sightsee the scene of a suicide, reminded me of the well-known story of the photographs Mayhem's Euronymous took of the corpse of his bandmate Dead, who had shot himself with a shotgun. I think this particular tragedy could form the basis for a modern-day 'Demons', were we not lacking a Dostoevsky. Little seems to have changed the last 135 years.