Ianuarie - Februarie 2011

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Editorials

Musical friends,

Another year passed by... a very beautiful, but also very complicated year... from many points of view... but which ended... well or less well, but it ended. It's time for charts, rankings, retrospectives or commentaries. I prefer to avoid these "traditions" and to thank all those who felt able to join me/be together with/ the emotions of some magnificent moments… that were many or less, everything is really random... actually, I love this phrase: "is it much, is it little?"... I like the relativity that revolves around those words that do nothing but spy out some feelings that I experienced in 2010! And knowing that spies do nothing but noisily dig inside every soul, I prefer to ignore all this! It was, full stop ... A Story. The Real Story!

Do not forget to press the "play" button from the right side of the screen in order to listen to the song I suggested while brushing through this Editorial.

As last year I focused my activity on the Special Evenings organized under the DonisArt concept, I completely neglected the inner essence that governs my musical belief (a term taken from the "religious"), namely Kogaionon...  And even as I revolve in this trinity for some time,Kogaionon, DonisArt and Dark Bombastic Evening, I became totally unbalanced... I feel drained, tired, lacking motivation ... and somehow too many virtual reflectors continuously blind me! It is really not what I wanted! I declared that I put an end to the Special Evenings and many friends have perceived those written by me as a tragedy, as something tearful. There are 16 memorable Special Evenings (at least for me), there is already an audience that trusts DonisArt (with all unwanted but consumed mistakes along the way), there was already a tradition of organizing special things... but still, something was broken, something has been lost ... The obsession of repetition, the eternal copy-paste marks me and so I have taken this decision. Moreover, I completely ignored my family, I have not given music the right amount of respect, I became a slave of my events... Dear friends are worried because of the money lost with the Special Evenings and try to find answers to questions that I do not even ask myself... Is it so hard to understand that if you're giving something, that something should be mandatory to be quantified or measured in any particular way, let's say standard, framed, labeled? Was it much? Was it little? Everyone can now digress however, in any way, anywhere, anything, anytime...

All I know is that I have not spent enough time with the surly mountain Kogaionon  and I want to change this in 2011. I hope it will also happen...

I promised some friends long before I tried this "feeling of slavery" that I would organize something in the location managed by them ... and it turned out that Dark Bombastic Evening 3 will be held in the ancient city of Alba Iulia. It is amazing to see 88 people who have already confirmed on Facebook their participation to this festival, although the bands have not been announced yet. Leaving again aside the eternal theory of relativity, I am pleasantly surprised by the declared loyalty. I promised myself not to expect anything anymore for a while (quantity, quality), so nothing will surprise/ disappoint me now. I just want everyone who will be in Alba Iulia to fully feel the organizers’ sincerity and the dedication of the artists. If they are going to be days worth talking about, we will see that together... or we will learn from the stories of the participants.

I tried these days to characterize in a couple of words the whole DBE concept:

Dark Bombastic Evening aims to be a maverick festival that promotes and supports the Underground spirit, in the most free and unconditional way! It was created with a sincere desire to offer friendship, to organize various cultural events and to build a platform of Underground music, unique in Romania and beyond. Everything was created in admiration for the talented artists who wish to share most honestly with an audience that explores new, experimental, unusual elements.

In other words, at DBE won’t be seen popular bands, bands known for their classical style or mainstream bands, big bands and small bands, opening bands or headliners... it would be a lack of respect for the people behind these bands. Where from this madness that x will perform in the opening y? Do we offer some expensive beer and others cheaper beer, just because they are less demanding? Underground spirit must dominate the artistic movement, at least the one supported by DonisArt! We got to be interested only in big names, very well known bands and fashionable ones, which, being on tour, come, sing, delight fans and leave immediately to another location, possibly in another country. Everything becomes mercantile, rushed, depersonalized, out to strict deadlines when it comes to time (to see the band on stage and so, without knowing the people behind the spotlight), we sit with a stopwatch at the ear waiting and expecting it to end before it begins. In fact, we do not know what we want, we do not want to seek, we do not have the patience to find the desire to develop, but just to swallow what we are proximately offered to satisfy our daily capping and the superficial paradigm in which we dwell more or less aware... Anyway, the term used today sounds very highfalutin, but elevated, faces: taken! We assume the assumed assuming!

Underground was, is and will continue to be an unlimited source of interesting experiences where there are no boundaries, physical or cultural barriers, where each soul is ready to unconditionally and totally give its best without creating… assumed expectations, heh. In countries like Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, England, France, this reflex of supporting Underground exists since a dozen years; in our case,  after the December 1989 stir, that spirit has constantly dissipated the consumerism and, chasing "the greatest", "the loudest, "the most beautiful" became dominant slowly, slowly, on what the novel had as most valuable: introspection! But time is not lost, even if some are already rushing to believe in the end of the Mayan calendar and in the polarization reversal...

After a 2010 full of concerts of all kinds, a likely abundant 2011 is announced! If it’s good or bad, if it's much or little, each will decide. I expect many small festivals to occur, many with local bands, divided in stylistic groups and in various locations in the country, because the audience is receptive to the standings, competitions, performances. It's good that we have many bands, that the Underground we were trying to tell about is formed, but there should be supporters as well, or else bands will play just in front of other participating musicians... and possibly their parents, heh. I have decided, as usual, to be very selective and I will promote only the events of those organizers I know and recognize their folly: Viva Music and Hatework! So, I'll get to see COMBICHRIST and "ears cut off” MORTIIS, but also NILE and MELECHESH. And maybe I'll discover other serious organizers who will bring interesting bands for the dedicated communities! Let's see what OST MOUNTAIN FEST will give, because after a first edition which won only at the popularity section, it must surprise everyone this year... and I understand that there are already some headliners who will gather much many people! I wish them good luck! Concerning Artmania, I hope they will reconsider the organizational details on which they easily brushed over the past two years, transforming their concerts in clubs in congested saunas... or choosing less inspired bands in the famous outdoor festival from Sibiu’s great market... maybe a location shift outside the city (Cisnadioara, Rasinari) could convince me to return there during the summer... otherwise, the continuous feeling of copy-paste will make me skip again the most interesting  moderate-sized Metal event in Romania. 

For I’m sick of the big ones and they even greatly bother me... it's like I would choose to spend my vacation in a large hotel resort full of people, crowd, everything... I prefer B&Bs or small hotels, chic, quiet, where nature is not strangled by huge investments in concrete or other gadgets useless for my soul. The same goes for large events: I get to talk about the game of lights and the scenographic show to the detriment of the concerts themselves... and eventually see them from 200-300 m distance, maybe with binoculars and riding on the shoulders of the ones in front...  This thinking of mine might be Underground, it could be, yes… but I can feel more comfortable this way and if so I can choose what I want, I do it without a simulation / evaluation of all possible scenarios... everyone does today professional SWOTs for every little detail... and we spend our time on evaluation, not having full time to enjoy what we intend to do. Or maybe I am the only one who suffers of this lack of fulfillment... I hope that's just me! 

I thought of trying to make a sort of preview of DBE 3 sometime in the spring, but everything is still in the intentional stage. Time and the mood will decide.

I'll take a few days to see CECILIA EYES in Brussels and perhaps in April to see something extremely interesting in Budapest. I don’t have other major plans concerning the foreign this year, despite that this year's Roadburn edition is fabulous, but I don’t get to see it: from WINTER, CANDLEMASS, SUN O))) and YEAR OF NO LIGHT THE to WOVENHAND or THE KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE... and here I refer to bands I haven’t seen before...

I would be happier if the New Year will host a more informed media specialist, more focused on less publicized details, but more specialized on topics, not the one that develops topics on the legendary bands or other spicy information! Also, albums reviews and concert reviews should be on the daily agenda, written at least honestly, if not to the point. I sense a false politeness and a fear of saying it bluntly, which destroys the spirit of fair competition. At the interviews chapter, I saw things moving towards the better, more and more getting ready before talking to an artist, avoiding the standard and boring questions.

Step by step, I'm going towards the newly released music  and I tell a little of what I included in the fresh playlist ... It is true that I have neglected a handful of albums and that about some of them I could tell you long after I have the chance to listen thoroughly. In fact, the plenitude of albums and the new version of promotion with the emission of the download link on the net makes me lose the patience to observe the clear steps, to download any album that might not interest me. That's why I repeat myself for the hundredth time: if you still have music to send, don’t expect me to do reviews, because I do write only about albums I find exciting. Otherwise, they will only appear in my playlist and some comments in the editorial. What might appear interesting this year? ALTAR OF PLAGUES, MONUMENTUM, KAUAN, CASPIAN, ROSE ROVINE E AMANTI, LANTLOS,  STROSZEK, MONO, DARKSPACE, ELEND, DRACONIAN, ARCANA, WE MADE GOD, SATURNUS, TENHI, FORGOTTEN TOMB, SHINING, PRIMORDIAL, ALCEST, GOTHMINISTER, THE KILIMANJARO DARKJAZZ ENSEMBLE, HADES ALMIGHTY, DORDEDUH, LES DISCRETS, SUNSETH IN THE 12TH HOUSE, NARSILION, URMA, SATHORYS, TRIARII, THY VEILS, ARCTURUS, IRFAN, I.C.S. VORTEX, ATARAXIA… plus other revelations…. I’d have some reasons to be joyful, it seems…

And let’s go to the Playlist itself. I chose only a few albums I've received in the recent months, because the rest are not able to exceed the average.

WINTER enjoys a re-release of their cult songs for the whole Doom Death Metal scene, launched by the Polish Metal Mind Productions label; THEODOR BASTARD came back with an EP consisting of 2 great songs, the Russians being a super group of which I’ve been a declared fan for years; CANAAN comes with a surprise album, but truly magical; HAMMOCK transposes us in a dreamy Shoegaze; GIFTS FROM ENOLA surprise us here and there with a post-rock album ; DAIMONIA NYMPH enjoys the release of a very Ethereal DVD;  the Irish from FOR A MINOR REFECTION realized a Post-Rock album exactly for the tastes of SIGUR ROS lovers; SATANOCHIO proves again that it is one of the standard bands of local Underground Metal, they accomplished 2 vinyls at foreign labels (the Spanish one is known for the tradition of exceptional releases), and another one with a very promiscuous band, THE KONSORTIUM; a particular surprise is the Swedish Post-Rock project, A SWARM OF THE SUN, with 3 feral songs; ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO came with the most vivid and well shaped album of the Swede’s history; the Hungarian REASON comes with a less original KATATONIA and TYPE O NEGATIVE variant, but offers a pleasant audition; SPIRITUAL FRONT tried to change the stylistic barriers and the new album does not sound as Dark and deep, but I understand that Simon has won many more new fans at the expense of loss of real fans who I think still hope for a return to the old style (and I'm one of them);

URMA released an album for some years that Mani recently gave me  (I listened to some new songs  in his club and they sound fantastic); YEAR OF NO LIGHT have surpassed themselves with a fabulous album, 4 tracks with Sludge, Post Metal, Doom, Post-Rock, experimental, psychedelic inserts; VIRUS are back with the best possible avant-garde Black Metal (VED BUENS ENDE’s sequel);  DER BLUTHARSCH already takes a new musical form, though with more meaningful and more attractive to live performances (all respect for the legendary Albin Julius); HEXVESSEL gives us a magnificent album, certainly in the top 3 of 2011, an Occult Psychedelic Folk style which no one used, but perfectly highlights the dramatic voice of Kvhost (CODE, DODHEIMSGARD);  

NUCLEUS THORN pleasantly delights after two albums that didn’t move at all; ELEVEN DROPS TO SINK INTO provides a Doom Death Metal  in an older variant but interesting enough for SATURNUS fans; those from BUCOVINA powerfully  returned with a Pagan Metal mini-album mixed in Dan Swano’s mixing studios; DEATHSPELL OMEGA are keeping it real and make out of "Paracletus" a beautiful Black Metal musical jewel worth collecting;  I’m also not ashamed with ABORYM, actually I expected something experimental and so it was; VREID released a 5th album that finally deserves an increased attention  for the complex and well executed Black Metal; TRIPTYKON seems to perfectly fill the gap left of CELTIC FROST, only this time with an excellent EP, Sathorys proves he's a very inspiring artist, making a few months ago two extremely well liked albums with  LUGBURZ and ENDLESS ASYLUM; SOLEFALD unexpectedly released a jewel –like album in exactly the vanguard Norwegian note, balancing Black Metal with theatrical elements, making references to the old ARCTURUS; SOPHIA enjoys the achievement of the other Peter Bjärgö project as a CD; SILENT STREAM OF GODLESS ENERGY returns after many years with a completely changed material, much different from what I knew 15 years ago, but the line-up is also different;  ENSLAVED enjoys an incredible promotion and praise from every corner, the new album being the most worked upon, but still deficient when it comes to inspiration, failing to be a masterpiece;   KRIEG come with a sixth well conceived Black Metal album and FEN prove that are very skillful in inserting in their Atmospheric BM sequences in Post-Rock or Progressive.

On the other hand, I had expectations from certain bands, but their latest accomplishments have been total disappointments: DERNIERE VOLONTE too pop;  ANTIMATTER brings nothing new but still a cheap source of making easily money;  THEATRES DE VAMPIRES gave in to cheap and repetitive symphonic-atmospheric;  TURISAS put off for some White Metal and a dance about it. Again, this is only my opinion, it is not necessary to agree with it.

I conclude this chapter with the mention that EVERY SILVER LINING HAS A CLOUD is believed to be the revelation of the year, especially because until September we have not heard of them. The debut is truly spectacular in the Shoegaze / Post-Rock scene!

I will start writing more reviews, talking about what's new in this Underground scene and beyond... And to answer a curious person who asked me why I write with a capital first letter each word that represents a musical style:  because "Metal" is the music and not a simple "metal" that can be melted... I do not want to think what funny debates might be around the term Shoegaze, heh...

I wish you an exploring virtue! 

January 2011