Vermyapre Zuerkle Uatre
Kloarbe Vurtrue Zuerkle Goebtre
Aaprab Vergz Varbadre
Berv Tre Mve
Eakre Uatre Zurgtapre
Uatr Borvuatre Zuerkle Droer
These words are not the work of a forgotten Dadaist or Futurist of the interwar period - they are the song titles of French Black Metal band Brenoritvrezorkre's 1995 demo Ervoelbtre.
Brenoritvrezorkre was only one of many impossibly named French Black metal bands of the mid-nineteennineties: others are Dzlvarv, Dvnaèbkre, Moëvöt, Vzaéurvbtre, Vrepyambhre, Vagézaryavtre, Mveprebrartre, Eëtheryarkluatre, Mavbtreëh and Norzbgorobtre, to name a few. They were part of a shadowy group of bands collectively known as 'Les Légions Noires' ('The Black Legions').
These strange band names and song titles can be said to form part of a long underground tradition, that of the carnivalization of speech. As I've written before, Black Metal is a carnival genre, a genre of destruction and uncrowning. In Black Metal, the good is dethroned in favor of it's opposite - both in a moral-ideological sense (evil) and in an aesthetic sense (bad in the sense of ugly). The strange song titles and band names of 'Les Légions Noires' can be appreciated as carnival language. In his classic 1965 study Rabelais and his world, Russian philosopher and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin writes:
"One of the popular forms of comic speech was the so-called coq-à-l'âne, "from rooster to ass." This is a genre of intentionally absurd verbal combinations, a form of completely liberated speech that ignores all norms, even those of elementary logic. The forms of verbal absurdities were widespread during the Middle Ages. (...) In a period of the radical breaking-up of the world's hierarchical picture and the building of a new concept, leading to a revision of all old words, objects, and ideas, the coq-à-l'âne acquired an essential meaning: it was a form which granted momentary liberation from all logical links - a form of free recreation. It was, so to speak, the carnivalization of speech, which freed it from the gloomy seriousness of official philosophy as well as from truisms and commonplace ideas."
Genealogically, one can link the Medieval coq-à-l'âne to the Renaissance works of Rabelais, to Paul Scheerbart, Christian Morgenstern, Lewis Carroll, Pétrus Borel, Molière, Quirinus Kuhlmann, the Russian and Italian Futurists, and the Dadaists - and from there to 'Les Légions Noires'. Black Metal has the most unexpected antecedents.
Nevertheless, it must be said that Bakhtin's reading of the coq-à-l'âne is rather more optimistic and emancipatory than the rather macabre, terrifying tone of the Black Metal of 'Les Légions Noires'. In spirit, the carnival speech of these French Black Metal bands is closer to the tragic modernist grotesque than to the comic Rabelaisian grotesque.
If one focuses on the acoustic sensation produced on the ear by the strange combinations of vowels and consonants of these band names and song titles, one senses that they have an insidiously powerful feeling-tone. The acoustic sensation suggests the darkness of Transsylvanian tombs. The band names sacrifice logopoeia (meaning) to phonopoeia (sound value); they are a rot of referentiality in the stinking soil of sound. But even among these pseudo-primitive sounds, one finds words which suggest French originals: 'Vermyapre' clearly sounds like 'Vampyre'. It is these words which give a tension to the band names and song titles which is absent from 'pure' sound poetry.
The names and titles have not transcended meaning, they have transgressed it, and inhabit the border zone between language and that which is beyond language.
This Les Légions Noires Journal on Last FM states: "What is the language they use? The language is called Gloatre and was entirely created by Vordb. Know that Gloatre does NOT contain umlauts, the word Moëvöt is not Gloatre since the project existed before Les Légions Noires. We suppose that Gloatre is based on French language and the aesthetic of the letters, hence you can’t really translate it. The easiest word might be Vérmyapre which means vampire. Vérmyaprèb is plural." Note that I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this statement.
Surprisingly, Jahsonic hasn't posted yet about Mikhail Bakhtin's Rabelais and his world (there is a big article on the Art and Popular Culture Wiki, though). Jan, Bakhtin's birthday is November 17th, so perhaps you should aim for the day of his death, which is a lot closer: March 7th.