Saturday, July 14, 2007

Abruptum - Great Black Music

Abruptum's "Evil Genius" cd proves to be the album that is the most inspiring for this blog - this being the third post about this particular piece of musical filth. The cd collects several early demos of the avantish Black Metal group, and it is one of the most evil-smelling, debauched, unhealthy and deranged albums I own.

In this post, I'd like to find out whether I can make Abruptum's Black Metal keel over and spill it's dirty contents into Free Jazz.

So let us rock that jerry-built Black Metal raft to and fro, to see whether we can blemish Free Jazz's Icarean tendencies.

  • Abruptum is a cacaphony, excremental music, auditory faeces - and such a characterisation can easily stain Free Jazz, which has the reputation of being chaotic, dense and noisy. Splut!
  • Free Jazz is closely associated with the Black Power movement, which is in fact a movement which advocates Black Supremacy. Black Metal is closely associated with fascism, national socialism, White Power, White Supremacy. Abruptum's IT in an interview: "Thank you.. I would like to say that I hate you all and that we are the superior humans... Everybody else should kill themselves or we will do it for you. Soon the great 4th Reich will rise... You're probably stupid enough to buy our new album as well. Fuck You!". Which genre blemishes the other? It is hard to tell...
  • In a review on Maelstrom magazine, Abruptum is said to consist of "...TOTALLY random guitar, cat-paw attempts at keyboards....". Wouldn't it be more interesting to consider Abruptum's music as being largely improvised, thus collapsing into Free Jazz; and where Free Jazz is said to be "...without any fixed melodic or rhythmic structure...", doesn't Free Jazz involuntarily open itself to contamination with Abruptum's leaking aural incontinence?
  • According to Wikipedia, "Many free jazz musicians regard the music as signifying in a broadly religious way, or to have gnostic or mystical connotations, as an aide to meditation or self-reflection, as evidenced by Coltrane's Om album". Certainly, Abruptum's music served a mystical purpose for it's creator, the dwarf IT: "Some 17 years ago I was in an unfathomable hunt for certain parts, veiled within the foundation of myself, prying ever deeper to conjure up my personal anguish, hate, desire and gloomy, spiteful darkness, lurking profound within my corporal shell. (...) Recording this pursuit was a task I chose, not for the somewhat more ordinary causes of recording an album, but purely as a purpose to alter into and transmit this energy right back to myself, thus being able to mirror the matter, reaching even further along this dark road". Thus, Abruptum's music is an aide for self-reflection or meditation; even though the self-reflection or meditation plunges the author into evil, into the other side of the optimistic ecstatic side of the coin called "Free Jazz". The notion of Abruptum being spiritual and meditative, far from elevating Abruptum, actually lowers Free Jazz, rubbing it's nose into the stinking "tremendum" of it's "mysterium fascinans".
  • Robert Levin describes Free Jazz as "the veritable embodiment of what Herbert Marcuse called "the revolution of unrepression". Certainly, Abruptum's music is also about unrepression - but perverted or ritualized unrepression instead of revolutionary unrepression. Far from wanting to topple the repressive order by means of an Icarean revolution, Abruptum is Satanic: IT affirms the divine order, IT asserts and preserves the laws of God, but only in order to transgress them, to sully these laws with the filth of evil. Looking back on the generation of the nineteensixties and seventies, and seeing how that generation turned out in the eighties, nineties and naughties, isn't it likely that the unrepression was far from revolutionary, but in fact a perverted unrepression masking itself hypocritically as revolutionary? And doesn't the emerge of a rotten, dirty and impure unrepression in Abruptum stain Free Jazz?
Nearing the end of this post, let me state unequivocally that it has not been my intention to write up a synthesis, an emasculating fusion between Abruptum's Black Metal and Free Jazz. Far from me, to propose that "...Abruptum is really some kind of Free Jazz"; let alone that "Free Jazz is Abruptum avant la lettre". I have merely wanted to derive some pleasure from splattering some filth on Free Jazz, from blaspheming a little against that sacred genre; to paraphrase Bataille, "to introduce into Free Jazz the greatest number of elements which contradict it, but at the same time harm it as little as possible" - a procedure which can only affirm my love for Free Jazz, which can only make Free Jazz shine ever more luminous...

Post Scripta

  • Free Jazz's Icarean tendencies: "Silva saw broad extra-musical ramifications in his procedures. He believed that by rejecting all externally imposed constraints the inherent goodness in men would surface and enable them to function in absolute harmony with both nature and each other. "Man," he said to me once, coming off an especially vigorous set. "In another ten years we won't even need traffic lights we're gonna be so spiritually tuned to one another"."
  • Here are the first and second post on "Evil Genius". Reading them again, I feel I have stated some things a little bit too elliptically, or too cryptical if you will. Nonetheless, to examine music as a means for symbolic exchange (that is: as a project to step outside the world of projects) still seems valid...
  • Of course, in sheer length my august 2006 post on Mayhem's "Freezing Moon" still wins hand down and the idea of spinning a spider's web between the worlds of Marcel Proust and Norwegian teenage dégenerés has it's charm; but "Evil Genius" is a better cd to chew on at length...
  • So you think that comparing Black Metal to the Great Black Music that is Free Jazz is daft? Not more daft than describing Free Jazz as the godfather of Punk!
  • Aren't onomatopeia words which point towards the end of logos? If so, 'meow' can be put on one line with that most poetic of words: 'silence'.

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