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<  DeepCore  ~  An academic take on Lustmord

PostPosted: February 27th, 2010, 1:57 pm
Posts: 7Location: Melbourne, AustraliaJoined: February 27th, 2010, 1:31 pm
From an essay titled "Out of Light Cometh Darkness" which discusses resisting impulses within the "dark ambient" genre, regarding Lustmord:

Section 10. Brian Lustmord is another charter of listening experiences, whose work is concerned with abysses, darkness, reverberation and space. With Lustmord, we move closer to the idea of a project within listening – of direct, discrete, even central affirmation. Not just concerned with notation itself, the album The Place Where the Black Stars Hang (1994) is concerned with “...a very real need to uncover the magical graphs and ciphers that unseal the cells of... eldritch dimensions”. Works prior to this (eg Heresy, Paradise Disowned) were concerned with what I would be best termed an aural ‘deconstruction’ of western judeo-christian principles. The mingling and mixing of vastly reverberating christian chants with pipes, machinery, gongs, a shawn, ‘noise generation’, ‘acoustic treatments’ and ‘digital loops’ on Paradise Disowned re-configured and undermined traditional notions of canonical music’s function as a mainly liturgical tool for godly worship and reaffirmation/reification of immutable dogma, while Heresy is a work so intense that it deserves an essay unto itself. The Place Where the Black Stars Hang poses a challenge to orthodox scientific methodology as the new dogma and religion of the (post)enlightenment era, and does so by referring to a certain cosmological space, “the space between space... and the infinite darkness thereof, where metaphysical transgressions prevail.” Also invoked is microcosmic space, “...where DNA is the ultimate parasite, and life itself is but a vibration”. This evocation of vast spaces, both cosmological and microcosmic, affirms absence rather than brute presence, vibration rather than expression. In form also, the western musical tradition of tightly structured time signatures, clearly defined harmonies and melodious pitch variations, so enamoured of musicologists of the Canon, is utterly denied. It seems that Lustmord is (by negation) most clearly articulating (western) music’s alignment and intimate relationship with ideological structures and practices. Rather than seeking to revolutionise these through force and violence (not that these do not have their own particular articulations within the ‘genre’, but that is another discussion...) he is seeking to create, by way of abyssal, cavernous aural environments, a re-opening of the question of truth, of the future, of the course of human evolution usually taken for granted. This is not yet saying there is or there is not truth, or a future, or evolution, but is asking after, even interrogating the very structures which make such saying possible. In making ‘music’ out of deep space or metastatic resonance, one is taken to a very different place than by either traditional western classical or popular music. With Lustmord, it may be appropriate to talk of a Kristevian signifiance. In affirming the abyss, emptiness rather than presence, vastness as opposed to centre, in affirming ‘metaphysical transgression’, Lustmord, like other ‘dark ambient’ composers may be said to be fundamentally unsettling the traditional syntax and order of western music, using a fundamentally radical way of creating ‘music’ – that actually goes beyond codal transgression into a deep rupturing of the code itself. The traditional elements of the score, the orchestra, the band, the song, have all been replaced – they have a completely different kind of presence. In place of ‘instruments’ we have thermal radiation, electron particle interaction, metastatic resonances – a new language, for not many listeners could assign these ‘instruments’ discrete semiotic meanings, let alone identify these sounds ‘naturally’ (How to recognise hearing an aural representation of electron particle interaction? What should it signify, like the cello signifies this sad emotion, or the harp that gentle one?) It is of note that one theme or device that is always employed in Lustmord’s works is elaborate, lengthy reverberation, often with times of twenty seconds or more. But of course it goes without saying that this is just one interpretation... A music that appeals to a vast abyss must to an extent, remain that; as well as an open wound in discourse...

:)



(c) Daniel du Prie


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PostPosted: February 27th, 2010, 9:22 pm
Posts: 45Joined: December 26th, 2008, 8:04 pm
And the translation for the layman... eh... um... er...
you got me.


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PostPosted: February 27th, 2010, 11:24 pm
Posts: 7Location: Melbourne, AustraliaJoined: February 27th, 2010, 1:31 pm
Em wrote:
And the translation for the layman... eh... um... er...
you got me.


Ah...well it's basically addressing the metaphysics of western music. Historically, western music has been preoccupied with developing concepts such as the voice (and lyricism), eg from Plato to Rousseau, Kant and onwards, philosophers have been extremely suspicious of the unpredictable physical effects of music on the body and so eg Plato says that music must conform to sung vocals and instrumental music must be banned altogether.

Music is traditionally suspected to be inherently irrational, a "tool of the devil" and must be tamed and made rational, communicating truth rather than stirring dark unconscious desires.

Ever since then western music has primarily been focussed on the metaphysics of the immediate presence to self that the singing voice implies and has developed concepts such as the voice, melody, harmony, linear progression, narrative, the cadence and the "climax" in (both classical and rock) music at the expense of timbre/tone/"grain", fluidity, drone, free form, deep bass, even things such as delay and reverb and so on (which in pop are mostly used as novel accentuating effects, never almost as "instruments" in their own right like could be argued Lustmord uses them).

[A good example of the above is the deep, deep suspicion with which House and Rave culture were greeted by the establishment: there is a music which is purely functional, just for dancing to; it's total physical response, it has no messages about truth or beauty or aesthetics. Its only message is get high as a kite and then get down and dance. The establishment found that deeply unsettling.]

This is often read as a direct influence of Judeo-Christian religious principles as modified by Greek philosophy on the canon of Western music, which suppresses the physical materiality of music in favour of highlighting its aims to get music to conform to the spiritual, metaphysical ideal: beauty as self-present Truth.

This influence demands that music always communicate meaningful concepts and avoid simply appealing to base feelings that have no meaningful content. Or, music should affect you by getting you to appreciate beauty and truth and God, it shouldn't just affect you physically for no good purpose or reason.

This essay and the section on Lustmord argues in part that the so-called "dark ambient" genre, and Lustmord also, deeply unsettles that traditional syntax or understanding of Western music by appealing exactly to those things which "ought" to be avoided at all costs, ie through long fluid drone-like pieces which explicitly use sound to manipulate the physical state of the body, not to communicate some transcendental message, but for no other reason than that it's fun to do so, just because you can and it sounds awesome!

Hope that provides some clarity.


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PostPosted: February 28th, 2010, 2:35 am
Posts: 5Location: FinlandJoined: February 28th, 2010, 2:01 am
zielwolf wrote:
This evocation of vast spaces, both cosmological and microcosmic, affirms absence rather than brute presence, vibration rather than expression.


I beg to differ in this one. I think the use of cosmic phenomena to produce music (photocells in synths etc.) pretty much point out the presence which surrounds us and in which we are one piece of a grandious puzzle. John Cage's "4′33" is a good example. It consists of four and half minutes of silence. The musician's role is thrown to the audience and the music in the piece is the background noises that are heard during the silence. In absence there is presence. I hope I understood you right, since english is not my native language! :P

It is also interesting how music evolves with technology. A frame drum must've been quite an invention in its days. Nowdays technoshamans are dancing to beats produced by electronic oscillators and digital information.

zielwolf wrote:
that actually goes beyond codal transgression into a deep rupturing of the code itself.


This is a really good analogy. There has been some debates on this same topic in another forum that is specialized in noise.


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PostPosted: February 28th, 2010, 4:23 am
Posts: 45Joined: December 26th, 2008, 8:04 pm
zielwolf wrote:

Hope that provides some clarity.

Yes.
I understand the translation.


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PostPosted: February 28th, 2010, 6:02 am
Posts: 7Location: Melbourne, AustraliaJoined: February 27th, 2010, 1:31 pm
Borellus wrote:
zielwolf wrote:
This evocation of vast spaces, both cosmological and microcosmic, affirms absence rather than brute presence, vibration rather than expression.


I beg to differ in this one. I think the use of cosmic phenomena to produce music (photocells in synths etc.) pretty much point out the presence which surrounds us and in which we are one piece of a grandious puzzle. John Cage's "4′33" is a good example. It consists of four and half minutes of silence. The musician's role is thrown to the audience and the music in the piece is the background noises that are heard during the silence. In absence there is presence. I hope I understood you right, since english is not my native language! :P

It is also interesting how music evolves with technology. A frame drum must've been quite an invention in its days. Nowdays technoshamans are dancing to beats produced by electronic oscillators and digital information.

zielwolf wrote:
that actually goes beyond codal transgression into a deep rupturing of the code itself.


This is a really good analogy. There has been some debates on this same topic in another forum that is specialized in noise.


When talking of presence here it's not quite the rhetorical and ontological notion of presence qua "in absence there is presence" that you refer to that is intended.

The "affirmation of absence" is rather a resisting impulse against the transcendental notion of Presence in Western philosophy/theology: the idea that "presence" is ultimately delimited by pure, immediate self-presence originally as the spirit in pure communion with God and later as the self in immediate communion with the self, as a kind of Absolute Presence in which any notion of space or distance or difference or diversity or immersion or reverberation or delay or echo, all these kinds of notions; in which they are all banished and suppressed in favour of pure self-identifying presence.

A primary critique of this way of thinking is that this ideal can only be accomplished through a (literally) violent abolition of the body, of the visceral, of the material and of the other in favour of their opposites as so constructed ie Spirit, the rational, the ideal and the Self.

It's along such lines that the essay maps out dark ambient music inc. Lustmord.

Perhaps the whole essay should be made available to make the critical context of the passage on Lustmord more apparent but I didn't want to flood members with a long and dull looking body of text in my first post :P


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PostPosted: March 2nd, 2010, 12:30 pm
Posts: 5Location: FinlandJoined: February 28th, 2010, 2:01 am
Seems like I totally missed your point, my apologies. :oops: I think I understand now what your point was. It's a very interesting topic. Especially in a biomusicological/psychophysical sense how people perceive these things. In my opinion you've made good observations overall, thumbs up for this contribution!


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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2010, 1:31 am
Posts: 7Location: Melbourne, AustraliaJoined: February 27th, 2010, 1:31 pm
Borellus wrote:
In my opinion you've made good observations overall, thumbs up for this contribution!


Thanks for the compliment! :D


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2010, 11:53 pm
Posts: 13Joined: March 10th, 2010, 1:55 am
I would actually like to read the whole essay. Is it available to download as a word doc or pdf?

Steve



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PostPosted: September 2nd, 2010, 5:54 am
Posts: 7Location: Melbourne, AustraliaJoined: February 27th, 2010, 1:31 pm
steve haunts wrote:
I would actually like to read the whole essay. Is it available to download as a word doc or pdf?

Steve


Hello. here is a link to the essay in its entirety. Thanks, Daniel.

https://sites.google.com/site/drduprie/out-of-light-cometh-darkness


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