22 12 2006




22 12 2006


High Pain Drifters

Move over, Alistair Crowley: Cormac McCarthy is the new patron saint of heavy metal

By Brent Burton

Sunn O))) guitarist Stephen O’Malley had just finished rereading one of his favorite novels when he was quoted in a Sept. 18, 2005, New York Times article called “Heavy Metal Gets an M.F.A.” The piece argues, in part, that recent tributes to Melville, Tolkien, and Dante (by literate thrashers Mastodon, Blind Guardian, and Sepultura, respectively) are signs of the genre’s emergent eccentricity. Point made: Metal isn’t just for knuckle-draggers anymore. But, if recent homages are any measure, the article’s author, music critic Jon Caramanica, missed out on one of M.F.A.-metal’s most beloved novelists. Had he checked O’Malley’s Web site a few days beforehand, he could’ve read another article from the Times, this one from 1992, titled “Cormac McCarthy’s Venomous Fiction.”

In some ways, McCarthy is the perfect author for the hell-in-spectacles set. Best known for All the Pretty Horses, a 1992 bestseller that was later made into a Matt Damon flick, the reclusive 73-year-old often fills his male-centric novels with violent imagery. At the beginning of last year’s No Country for Old Men, for example, McCarthy depicts a jailbreak that culminates with the strangulation of a Texas lawman. “The deputy’s right carotid artery burst and a jet of blood shot across the room and hit the wall and ran down it,” McCarthy writes. “The deputy’s legs slowed and then stopped. He lay jerking. Then he stopped moving altogether.”

McCarthy’s account, in the same novel, of a shotgun’s sound—like someone “coughing into a barrel”—is also a good description of the riffs made by Burning Witch, a late-’90s doom-metal act that featured O’Malley and bassist G. Stuart Dahlquist, who later formed the band Asva. O’Malley says that Dahlquist turned him on to McCarthy when Burning Witch began to experiment with standard notions of tempo and time. The book that Dahlquist recommended—the one that, in 2005, O’Malley would revisit—was Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West, a 1985 novel about a mid-19th-century gang that hunts Indians near the Mexican border. At the time he wrote it, McCarthy was still churning out seemingly endless sentences that owed a major debt to fellow Southerner William Faulkner. It was that “long-form descriptive writing and lack of punctuation,” O’Malley says, that inspired him to “try other structures.”

Not only did he try, he more or less abandoned what he calls the “normal construct of metal.” All of O’Malley’s subsequent bands—Sunn O))), Khanate, and too many others to mention—stretch power chords to the limit, slowing doom to the point where it turns into drone. A reader might experience a similar suspension of time when, in Blood Meridian, the protagonist, a character known only as “the kid,” approaches the scene of the novel’s final bloodbath. “In the afternoon he rode through the McKenzie crossing of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River,” McCarthy writes, “and he and the horse walked side by side down the twilight toward the town where in the long red dusk and in the darkness the random aggregate of the lamps formed slowly a false shore of hospice cradled on the low plain before them.”

When asked why McCarthy makes such a strong impression on headbangers—especially those who eschew vocals—Dahlquist suggests that imagery might be just as important as structure. “If I get something in my head,” he says, “maybe someone else will, as well.” Dylan Carlson, the man behind drone-metal act Earth, a band that once featured Kurt Cobain, would no doubt agree. Sidelined for years by drugs—O’Malley claims Carlson “cheated death,” just like a character in a McCarthy novel—Carlson reemerged in late 2005 with the all-instrumental Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, an album based on—you guessed it—Blood Meridian. “[T]his book was the strongest invocation of the real American West I had ever encountered outside of a straight historical text,” Carlson said in an interview with British webzine Metal Chaos.

McCarthy’s evocation of the frontier is also the basis for the more countrified sound that Carlson contributes to Altar, Sunn O)))’s 2006 collaboration with Japanese power trio Boris. Carlson appears on the half-hour “prelude” disc’s “Her Lips Were Wet With Venom” and, despite his less-than-overdriven sound, blends effortlessly with Sunn O))) and Boris’ dark yet soothing drone. Matt Camirand, bassist for stoner-metal act Black Mountain, takes a similar—or at least Hex-like—tack on 2006’s Kick Up the Dust, the latest from his side project called, wait for it…Blood Meridian. But, for the most part, metalheads tend to focus on the more horrific aspects of McCarthy’s fiction. The Capricorns, for instance, borrow the title of 2006’s Ruder Forms Survive, an album of rough-and-tumble instrumental metal, from the opening chapter of 1979’s Suttree, McCarthy’s funniest and most placid novel.

Those in search of grim images will find even more to like in McCarthy’s latest, 2006’s The Road. Set somewhere in a post-apocalyptic America, the book follows a father and his young son as they struggle to find food and fend off those who would regard them as food. The Road, which was released in September and spent a month and a half on the Wall Street Journal’s bestseller list, has already gotten props from the art-metal elite. O’Malley celebrates it as a “genre novel that transcends genre.” Dahlquist says that the book’s cold, bleak landscape is an “ideal canvas” for McCarthy; according to O’Malley, Isis frontman Aaron Turner is a fan as well.

It’s probably only a matter of time before some bunch of metal-obsessed fine-arts students christen their band The Road or title an album On the Gray Snow a Fine Mist of Blood, one of any number of evocative phrases from McCarthy’s first foray into the future. Just as its author is perhaps the perfect novelist for this crowd, The Road is perhaps its ideal novel. The book’s setting is McCarthy’s most dreadful yet (“No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust.”). And its prose—simple but elegant—should speak to those who whittle away at metal’s most garish excesses. The novel, too, ends on an optimistic note. Somehow, amid all the brittle corpses and burnt-out hulls, McCarthy locates some trace of humanity, some sense of possibility. Like Altar or Isis’ latest, In the Absence of Truth, it uses darkness not as an end unto itself but as a way to elevate the light. There’s no less venom. There’s just more hope.

From 22nd December Washinton City Paper www.washingtoncitypaper.com

Illustration by Kyle T. Webster

21 12 2006

After a long, exhaustive excavation of a historic sacrificial burial mound the corpses of three prime-evil caveman were unearthed. Upon their resurrection their identities were revealed as: Oren Ambarchi, Greg Anderson and Attila Csihar. Archaeologists have determined the creatures stalked the land before performing archaic rituals under the names of : GRAVE TEMPLE TRIO (Israel only) SUNN0))), MAYHEM, TORMENTOR, and possibly the Menstruation Sisters. This current evocation of this unholy alliance has been rumored to be: subsonic, destructive and may induce vomiting, narcolepsy or rigor mortis. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.


Date: Sunday 28.1., 2007
Club Transmediale Festival 2007 (CTM.07: 25.1. 3.2.)

Venue: Maria am Ostbahnhof, Berlin
Address: An der Schillingbrücke 3,
Time: 10pm
Tickets: 12.- EUR

JAZKAMMER (Full Metal Music Machine line-up) NOR
BURIAL CHAMBER TRIO Greg Anderson (US), Oren Ambarchi
(AU), Attila Csihar (HU)


Thu Feb 1st
BURIAL CHAMBER TRIO Greg Anderson (US), Oren Ambarchi
(AU), Attila Csihar (HU)
+ supports TBA

RECYCLART asbl/ vzw
Gare Bruxelles-Chapelle // Rue des Ursulines 25
Station Brussel-Kapellekerk // Ursulinenstraat 25
Bruxelles 1000 Brussel

T +32 2 502 57 34 //

21 12 2006

The Just Alap Raga Ensemble

Tribute to Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib

Two Concerts in the MELA Dream House
Saturdays, January 6 and 13, 2007, 9 pm

La Monte Young, voice
Marian Zazeela, voice
Jung Hee Choi, voice
Da'ud Constant, voice
Jon Catler, fretless sustainer guitar
Naren Budhkar, tabla
The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD

MELA Foundation Dream House
275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, between Franklin & White Streets in Tribeca
Saturdays, January 6 and 13, 2007, 9 pm
Admission $24. MELA Members, Seniors, Student ID, $18.
Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended.
Info and reservations: 212-219-3019; mail@melafoundation.org.

Two Concerts of Evening Ragas in the contemporary Kirana Style of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with The Just Alap Raga Ensemble in a memorial tribute honoring Pandit Pran Nath’s Guru, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib (c. 1879-1949), the greatest master of the Kirana gharana during his lifetime, on Saturdays, January 6 and 13, 2007, at 9pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor. PLEASE NOTE: The Dream House will be closed on Thursdays and Saturdays, January 4, 6, 11 and 13 to prepare for the scheduled concerts.

Pandit Pran Nath has said, "Alap is the essence of Raga. When the drut [faster tempo] begins, the Raga is finished." With the Just Alap Raga Ensemble, La Monte Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional raga performance, form and technique: a pranam (bow) of gratitude in reciprocation for the influence on his music, since the mid-fifties, of the unique, slow, unmetered timeless alap, and for one of the most ancient and evolved vocal traditions extant today. Featuring extended alap sections and sustained vocal drones in just intonation over tamburas, Young and Zazeela premiered this ensemble on August 22, 2002 in a memorial tribute to Ustad Hafizullah Khan, the Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Pandit Pran Nath’s teacher, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib.

La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela will be accompanied by Jung Hee Choi and Da'ud Constant, voices, Jon Catler, fretless sustainer guitar, Naren Budhkar, tabla, and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD. The Just Alap Raga Ensemble will present the continuing avant-premiere of a new composition by La Monte Young, “Raga Sundara,” a vilampit khayal set in Raga Yaman Kalyan, composed under a commission grant from the NYSCA Individual Artists Program.

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan’s revival of the khayal at the turn of the century stands, in itself, as a virtually unparalleled contribution in the recent history of Indian classical music. Although a youthful prodigy of the Kolhapur court, remaining unchallenged after his public debut there at the age of 18, he had not the inclination to spend time singing in the courts. Instead, he lived a devout, reclusive life, singing in the presence of holy men and at the tombs of Sufi saints, and only occasionally sang in public. His command of the art was of such stature that no other musician ever performed in his presence. Requiring rigorous discipline and fierce devotion, he took very few disciples; among them Pran Nath became the most important through his ceaseless practice, natural talent, and extraordinary ability to serve his teacher.

In the article, “PRAN NATH, LA MONTE YOUNG AND MARIAN ZAZEELA, TALES OF EXEMPLARY GURU BHAKTI,” SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) quarterly magazine "The Eye," it is noted:

“He [Young] is a master of Hindustani classical music. La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, founders of the MELA Foundation Dream House in New York are responsible for having single-handedly introduced vocal Hindustani classical music to America. In 1970 when they brought renowned master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath of the Kirana Gharana to the U.S. and became his first Western disciples, studying with him for twenty-six years in the traditional gurukula manner of living with the guru, Americans and Westeners only had a nodding acquaintance with Indian music, that too, only instrumental music through the performing tours of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Also some introduction to Indian rhythm techniques through the charismatic playing of Pandit Chatur Lal, the tabla player who always accompanied Ravi Shankar through the sixties. But the deep, unfathomable intricacies of Khayal Gayaki and of the whole cosmos of Alap were totally unknown to them. Indeed, as his many American shishyas, most of them practicing musicians themselves, would say later, even unimaginable. Young and Zazeela, who taught the Kirana style and performed with Pandit Pran Nath since 1970 in hundreds of concerts in India, Iran, Europe and the United States, have continued their Guru’s work in the most exemplary manner. In June 2002, shortly before he died, Khalifa Hafizullah Khan Sahib, Ustad Wahid Khan Sahib’s son and a great sarangi master, conferred on Young the title of Khan Sahib.”

Pandit Pran Nath's 1971 morning performance at Town Hall, New York City, was the first concert of morning ragas to be presented in the U.S. Subsequently, he introduced and elaborated to Western audiences the concept of performing ragas at the proper time of day by scheduling entire series of concerts at special hours. Many students and professional musicians came to him in America to learn about the vast system of raga and to improve their musicianship. In 1972, Pran Nath established his own school in New York City under the direction of his disciples La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, the Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music, now a project of MELA Foundation. Over the years Pran Nath performed hundreds of concerts in the West, scores of them in New York City, and in Fall 1993, he inaugurated the MELA Foundation Dream House with three Raga Cycle concerts. He continued to perform here annually during his remaining years and on May 12 and 17, 1996, his two concerts of Afternoon and Evening Ragas in the Dream House were his last public performances before he passed away on June 13, 1996.

Pran Nath's majestic expositions of the slow alap sections of ragas combined with his emphasis on perfect intonation and the clear evocation of mood had a profound impact on Western contemporary composers and performers. Following Young and Zazeela, minimalist music composer Terry Riley became one of his first American disciples. Fourth-world trumpeter Jon Hassell, jazz all?stars Don Cherry and Lee Konitz, composers Jon Gibson, Yoshimasa Wada, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison and Allaudin Mathieu, Sufi Pir Shabda Kahn, mathematician and composer Christer Hennix, concept artist and violinist Henry Flynt, dancer Simone Forti, and many others took the opportunity to study with the master.

In The Hindustan Times (2003), Shanta Serbjeet Singh wrote:

“[Young and Zazeela] would create works like the “Just Alap Raga Ensemble” which would amaze musicians of the caliber of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj or the Gundecha brothers were they to hear it. In fact I wish they would hear it and savour their own legacy of Indian classical music in two new ways, one, by way of the Youngs’ immense sadhna and two, by way of the fact that today the great art of Hindustani Shastriya sangeet has actually become so much a part of the world of music. Did not the ancients say: Vasudeva Kumutbhakam—the world is a family? A work like “Just Alap Raga Ensemble” actually proves it.”

Admission is $24 / $18 MELA members; seniors; students with ID. Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended. For further information and reservations 212-219-3019, email mail@melafoundation.org or visit www.melafoundation.org
MELA's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency and generous contributions from individuals and MELA Members.

20 12 2006

ktl vs Angers 1206



19 12 2006

SUNN O))) DJing in CHICAGO 2003


This is where we met Angela Means /ECLIPSE, our booking agent, DJing in Chicago after hours post WIRE Festival, July 2003

18 12 2006




These two silkscreened posters I designed for The Melvins are now available for sale at: www.burlesquedesign.com

It's a golden shower from Heaven! Designed by Stephen O'Malley and printed by Burlesque. Numbered (not signed) and stamped with the NÆVIL logo.

22 x 31"
4 color print on French paper
$30.00 includes shipping

Disturbing! It's a 4-color process printed baby head floating over a guy cutting his own head off with the very guillotine he built. Wow. Designed by Stephen O'Malley and printed by Burlesque. Numbered (not signed) and stamped with the NÆVIL logo.

22 x 31"
5 color print on French paper
$30.00 includes shipping

Both are limited, oversized and numbered.
Thanks Wes.

Seldon & I created a huge 15 panel mural print in homage to O))) which should be available there soon, as well.

18 12 2006

Euro reviews





The Polish KTL review made me smile.

18 12 2006


Flyer for Thrones in Portland...


Please credit if posted, D.V.D'Andrea, dvdandrea.com.



14 12 2006
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