Great SUNN O))) fanmail (reference "the spirit of music in tragedy")
Posted: Sep 10, 2012
Dear Stephen O’Malley,
My name is Matt Roberts. I was at the Sunn concert last night in Atlanta, GA. It was truly one of the great aesthetic experiences I have ever had. I’ve been a great admirer of your work, with Sunn and as a solo artist. So it was a true privilege to be able to attend the performance.
I am currently working on a PhD at Emory University in Atlanta, where I study ‘avant-garde’ forms of theatre and performance, and I’ve become increasingly interested in thinking about musical performance, which is I suppose what initially interested me in your work. But aside from that, I find that your work with Sunn is just so very important to me. Perhaps in part because I’ve experienced it in some way before I ever heard your music: in extreme situations of pain, in moments when I have inhabited the space between life and death. Aristotle writes of tragedy that the pain that appears on stage can often produce pleasure to a spectator, particularly if the pain that is depicted reflects the pain that he or she may have experienced in his or her life. This is one of tragedy’s virtues. And I have found this to be the case in your work, which also strikes me as very Dionysian, very ancient, very full of life. This is very important, I believe, for I’d go so far as to argue that what you and Sunn are doing may have something to do with what Nietzsche called the spirit of music in tragedy. In other words, what I hear when I listen to Sunn is the sound of that which gives tragedy, and perhaps all serious art, its inspiration.
In any event, I wish you the best. May you have safe travels back to Europe. I am so grateful that you come to Atlanta, and I thank you for your work, which is so necessary and vital.