...and various reviews.
Following his departure from Norway's leading Black Metal band, Mortiis' experiments with Ambient Synth music allowed him to create his own niche in the scene.(A small excerpt from the interview featured in full on Dark Oath #6)
The former bassist has raised an imaginary world of his own and devised the music to illustrate it. The 1993 demo "The Song of a Long Forgotten Ghost" got the attention of Malicious Records, who came to release Mortiis' debut full-length by late 1993.
Negotiations with Sweden's leading Ambient label Cold Meat Industry took place and resulted in the release of "Ånden som gjorde Opprør" in 1994.
Mortiis became of one of the label's leading characters and also a link between the Ambient and Black Metal scenes. "Keiser av en Dimensjon Ukjent" (1995) and "Crypt of the Wizard" (1996) followed along with a few limited edition releases. An interview was conducted with Mortiis himself to disclose the past, present and future of his work.
Do you think that people who have achieved some recognition before have more chances of being accepted when experimenting with weirder stuff, I mean, do you think the Mortiis project would be as 'popular' as it is if you were just someone new to the scene and had no previous background in Emperor?
Obviously my previous membership was a great advantage in the beginning, but not really as big as some may think, one must keep in mind that when i started Mortiis, the split LP had only been recorded a week earlier or so, when my demo came, I don't think that record had even been released, so obviously it only had a so and so big effect on the underground following we/they had at that time. However, I doubt that my "success" would have been any less had I not been a member, the only difference would be the amount of time it would take.
When listening to music like the one you're doing now, it's much easier to ignore details as people's attention towards it tends to gradually decrease. Do you feel the same way and what do you think about this as a composer - does it bother you? How do you think that people should interpret your music or what would you advise for potential listeners in order for them to understand it better?
I have always felt that if an artist feels that he has to explain his art, then it is all a waste of time. The point with art, I think, is that each person should experience it as his own person, through his/her own eyes, ears, feelings and emotions, not the artist's. They are welcome to try and understand how my mind worked when I did that piece, or the other piece. But what they will come up with eventually, is their own, personal interpretation, because they are not me, and they can never be me.
All I can say, really, is try to hear, but that will take a few listenings first...
You refer to the conceptual world that you create with your work as 'the world where I will go'. When and how will you reach this world? Is this in any way related to an hypothetical spiritual life or life after death? It would also be interesting to know your opinion on these matters, is life restricted to one's current earthly existence?
Life, physical life is nothing but a biological function, basically pretty meaningless. I do not believe that life is restricted to one's current existence. I strongly believe in spiritual afterlife, I believe in other dimensions, and I believe in the theory that the mind can create one's own dimension, one's own universe... I do not need books to think, I do not need books or professors to teach me, even though they would surely fascinate me... I believe in freedom, spiritual such, and I created my own universe. Your spirit cannot be free from this prison of flesh before the body dies, so yes, I believe in spiritual life after death.
Cintecele Diavolui put together a few songs, which were really weird, and sent them to Greece on a DAT. This has been ages ago, and no response until now, except for Gunther who wrote me and told me he thought it sounded great, which should please the bozos in C.D.. The C.D. 10" was issued on Dark Dungeon some time, and recently the CD version was issued, containing those tracks that were sent to Greece, in a different mix, as bonus tracks.
It has been quite a long time since the first (and only) Vond releases, but it seems that you have finally managed to put some new stuff together (another 7" and a 2nd CD). The essence of that project back then was still pretty close to Mortiis (musically, I mean), is "The Dark River" still along those lines or have you found Vond's own path? Tell us some more about the new releases, please!
The path of Vond is a worming and lurking one... You will never quite come to terms with Vond, because Vond will never quite come to terms with you. The 7" in question was cancelled, it will be a 10" to be issued some time by some one, probably Dark Dungeon Music. It has the 7" tracks as well as it will have a re-recorded version of a song that never made it to 'The dark River'.
What's that stuff about your 'bad reputation' in London's Turk bars, by the way? Can you tell us about that?
That was just a stupid incident from a couple of years back: Some Turkish bitches called Ebonsight sent me their demo, wrapped in red silk, and they wanted my demo in return, as it was still for sale back then. (so it must have been 3 years ago) I sent it, but apparently it must have gotten lost in the mail. Because a few weeks later I started to receive these really insulting letters from them about me being a rip-off and shit like that... I sent some really insulting letters back, so in the end word had it that they were talking shit about me on the Turk bars in London (they moved there eventually), so I just made that comment in the newsletter. ('In London's Turk bars, I am supposedly Nazifascistracist number one... Wonder who put those rumours out... (Earth calling Damla, do you read us, over...)...' - hehe - Ed.)
Mortiis "Crypt of the Wizard"
CD 1996 Dark Dungeon Music 10 songs, 62'
Originally planned to be released as a 12" series, the 10 songs on "Crypt of the Wizard" were also compiled for a CD release on Dark Dungeon Music (and an LP edition on Cold Meat Industry, by the way!). Many will probably be happy to hear that the length of the songs on this work are actually shorter than what Mortiis was used to bring, but still they hold all of the epic and monumental greatness of his previous anthems. These are noble and proud compositions of orchestral nature - not exactly confined to a particular time period that we know of, but which nevertheless has an ancient feeling around it.
The two songs on the first 12" in the series, 'Ferden og Kallet' and 'Davibydge Tårnet', invoke images of slaves working at the pace of pounding timpani and clanging hammers heard underneath the multilayered orchestral melodies, which stand strong and sinister for most of the time with occasional melancholic moments.
'Under Tårnet's Skygge' and 'En Sirkel av Kosmisk Kaos', both to be found on the "En Sirkel..." 12" illustrate the tale of a daring young warrior who enters the chambers of the now ancient high tower, whose construction by mighty trolls we witnessed on "Ferden og Kallet"; the music is cold and dark, with an adventurous touch in some of the melody and a mysterious aura looming over it... Strange creatures lurk in the shadows and dispel the fragile beauty that the boy occasionally experiences...
'Vandreren's Sang' holds the most beautiful riff on the album; along with 'Den Bortdrevne Regnbuen', these two pieces stand as the most depressive and melancholic on "Crypt of the Wizard". In sensitive and touching manner, they portray the pain and grief of the wanderer, the cursed son of a rainbow king.
'Trollmannen's Krypt' - a gloomy piece, mystic and dense until it suddenly breaks into a merry and sweet melody. 'Stjernefødt', the title track for this 12", on the other hand, is a sad harpsichord/piano (or something like that...) workout completed with gentle string orchestrations and sorrowful vocals.
And finally, 'I Mørket Drømmende' and 'Fanget I Krystal', the soundtrack to the realm of dreaming spirits. Smooth, dreamy songs with uplifting and serene vibes and again adorned with a festive mood. A soothing finale...
Mortiis' realm is indeed a wide and magical one... The CD sells for $20US and the 12" EPs are available for 90SEK $14US 20DM each.
CD 1996 Dark Dungeon Music 7 songs, 39'
Fata Morgana, what Mortiis usually refers to as 'the 'jolly' music project. Since people usually say that Mortiis' music is the perfect soundtrack to 'The Lord of the Rings', lets say that to set the difference between Mortiis' self-titled project and Fata Morgana would be like saying that his self-titled solo project is more suitable for the darker, gloomier, pieces of Tolkien's writings, whereas Fata Morgana applies better to the passages where hobbits and elves wonder and sing in the woods... In other words, smooth, dreamy music that holds a serene and mysterious aura without diving too deep into immensely dark waters (but wetting its feet there as well every now and then, of course...). Mortiis' way of structuring songs and layering melodies is easily identifiable and as far as that is concerned, there aren't many surprises coming your way; the arrangements however, are less orchestral and bold and slightly New Age-verged, if you will... Plenty of strings, of course, and also bells, smooth percussions, harpsichords, wind chimes, flutes, pianos, etc. - generally midtempo piano or harpsichord (or whatever) arpeggios/melodies with the proper additions and arrangements. The pieces are usually quite melancholic and gently gloomy, but tracks like 'Fata Morgana' should serve to show why Mortiis refers to this as 'the 'jolly' music project'. Not much else to say... Those familiar and keen to Mortiis' work will certainly not dislike Fata Morgana either! $18US (Eur) $20US (R.o.W).
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