Bach via orchestra

31 01 13 - 20:42

h/t @ Jason Goatcraft


The internet is a brain disease

30 01 13 - 14:48

Your brain has been ruined by the internet. This can help:

Sophisticated and primitive

21 01 13 - 09:49

Guest post by Ted Swanson

Some criticize heavy metal for its primitive music and lyrics. When people decide to mock it, they point to its seriousness of outlook and seemingly outlandish lyrics. These, too, they decide, are "primitive."

I was reading something by a philosophy professor and it was basically about the conceptions of the infinite, the finite, limits and "perfection." He spoke broadly, and I will speak broadly. He summed up antiquity's conception thus: perfection can be achieved within the "finite," and only the finite. To cross one's limit, into the "infinite" was hubris. So to go beyond one's potential or limits, was just as bad, if not worse, then "unrealized" potential.

"It is not virtuous to be primitive if one is too limited otherwise." In a sense, this is true enough, but the question is: how does one know one's limits until one has crossed them? And even then, how exactly does one know when one has crossed the limits?

Let us posit a boundary or limit precisely between primitive and sophisticated. Perfection would be to be right at the limit without crossing it. But with antiquity's conception in mind, if I understand it correctly, it actually is more virtuous to be 5 steps behind the limit, than even one step beyond the limit. To be beyond the limit was hubris and this is the "ultimate" bad as far as antiquity is concerned. So because it is very hard to know where the limit is precisely, it is better to err on the side of 5 steps behind the limit than even 1 step beyond the limit.

So for an artist to reach "perfection" they must know their limits and work within them, as far as antiquity is concerned. Now let us conceive of metal as a single entity. With this in mind, we could say that metal has a long tradition and well established boundaries. Any worthy artist within metal ought to already know these boundaries and work within them, and pushing boundaries should be a very gradual process, lest they go beyond the limit into the infinity of gayness. This is why the primitive aesthetic is superior to sophistication.

Let's be honest, are there many musicians, outside of metal, that you would really consider wordsmiths? Not hardly. So as far as that goes, I don't consider the lyrics of metal to be any less sophisticated than any other style of music. Just read poetry or the classics if that's what you want.

Nuance and subtlety can be overrated. If you have read William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell, consider the opening poem. It is pure metal. More sophisticated than the lyrics of Immortal, sure, but perhaps more rough around the edges than the more "refined" poets of his era. Metal is the William Blake of popular music.

I've always considered part of the thrill of metal to be finding the parallels between it and more ancient art and literature. In other words, not to consider it in isolation. In the Sagas is a recurring kenning. The kenning is basically when someone is killed or blood is shed, it is expressed as creating food for the ravens or the crows. Graveland definitely uses this in various forms, and if I'm not incorrect, Immortal does too. Is it deliberate? Are they familiar with the Sagas? Who knows? Either way it's awesome and that is all.


Black metal and masculinity

21 01 13 - 09:41

From a Finnish dissertation:

The dissertation examines the concept of darkness and masculinities emerging in the Finnish black metal. This study examines the normative or hegemonic norms and breach of subversive emerging multiple masculinities as cultural models of the Finnish Black Metal most popular with fans.

Cultural models are analyzed under theories of hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, performative, subversive and post-masculine ideals. Queer research and (critical) research fellow, from a feminist research, creative dissertation theoretical base.

Style and ideology are important concepts in Finnish black metal through its central value of dealing with the rising darkness. The concept of darkness often consists of an ideological anti-Christianity, in Finnish black metal typically through Satanism. Darkness can be expressed in song lyrics, music and the visual elements. Black metal style consists of ideology, as well as the darkness of different modes of expression of the equation.

Masculinity is one form of the warlike and aggressive spirit of black metal, which aspires to conquest of the useless and its replacement with the good. This is a quintessential warlike and masculine value.

This is expressed through a Romantic sense of nature-worship and melancholy isolation against the madding crowd. Black metal escapes the human world of emotion, and instead looks to the natural world of power and logical function.


Black metal has been assimilated

10 01 13 - 12:14

We warned you years ago.
Black metal pretending it still has relevance beyond the standard rock-n-roll task of disgusting the elderly. Once upon a time, black metal actually scared people because it stepped out of the rock ghetto. Then, thanks to some entrepreneurial types in Scandinavia, UK and the USA, it became a form of rock music with a flavor -- a whiff -- of danger about it. Now black metal is the new emo for the 2010s and threatens nobody. They just tolerate it, knowing that eventually the discoordinated noise will end. Remember when black metal was noisy AND ALSO beautiful? That scares them -- that you might have found another way to live -- where simply disorganized noise scares nobody. In fact, it's repeating the same disorder that's found everywhere else in our society, and by doing so, affirming it. Tools of the system.

Letter to Paul Ehrlich

10 01 13 - 12:04

This is in response to Paul and Anne Ehrlich's new paper, Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?
I enjoyed your most recent paper and agree with its conclusions. However, I wanted to posit a Platonic counterpoint to it regarding its assumptions of cause and effect. You speak of humanity engaging in an act of suicide on a grand scale, using the words of Prince Charles. What causes a species to act so blatantly against its interests? I would suggest that we first and foremost have a leadership failure, and since as Spengler observes all populations receive the government that matches their own behavior, that underlying that we have a failure of human individuals and moral choices. This suggests that at some point, our society "broke." As a traditionalist conservative with conservationist leanings it seems to me that in order to fix this problem, we're going to need to change course from our focus on the individual and its absolute and universal rights, to a transfer of those rights to the earth and the proven methods of managing it, such as culture and aristocracy. I am less concerned about global warming than I am of ecosystem wrecking. As we overpopulate, the most destructive thing we do is reduce the land necessary for natural species to hunt, mate and spawn, and in doing so, we drop their numbers below safe replacement levels. This in turn smashes ecosystems, which are more necessary than most people think.
My answer is yes and no. Yes, we can avoid it at any time we try. It will take effort and sacrifice, but mostly getting organized and having some clear leaders with the power to make changes beyond a four-year election cycle. No, in that until we boot out the consumerism-popularity-democracy equation that puts the individual first and reality second, we'll never get to that stage.

Black metal as re-valuation of modernity

03 01 13 - 08:30

As the unquestionable product of modernity, Black Metal at the same time firmly sentences the modern world to death. Not merely with respect to Christianity, this is the one big “Anti” to everything that is believed to be of any value for an average member of Western society: from the conventional notions of good and beauty to metaphysical Being itself. In other words, Black Metal at a glance is the very embodiment of an active-nihilistic phase in a metaphysical process of transvaluation of all values heralded by Friedrich Nietzsche. - Politosophia

It seems to me that black metal is a confrontation with nihilism: a recognition of how nothing is inherent, and our choices have taken us to stupid places.