Archive for the ‘Elucidation’ Category

Origins of music (and metal)

From a new article posted at

In my view, music is a cognitive hack. It taps into a number of different pre-existing ways that our brain uses to interact with and make sense of the external world, not least our inherent hard wiring for pattern recognition and the (evolutionarily useful) enjoyment of discovery, surprise and invention.


Looking at some of the most obvious descriptions we tend to attach to metal music: ‘assertive’, ‘violent’, ‘primitive’… Perhaps these descriptors aren’t really all that arbitrary or socially-defined; rather the music really does hearken back to things you could fairly associate with those descriptions.

Imagine the sounds of primates screaming at each other as they bite and tear shreds off one another, the din of battle, etc. These impressions embedded somewhere inside our psychology from generations past are brought to the forefront by metal. If rock ‘n roll is the rhythm of sex, then metal is the rhythm of battle, of running, of methodically tracking then pounding the skulls in of prey.

Read more @

Excerpt from Beithíoch interview at Occult Black metal zine

Food for thought:

“Many people I think instinctively regard modern civilization as a sort of sickness; a stultifying, sugary, but ultimately false experience, with too many bureaucratic rules and too little opportunity to face the wild and live or die by one’s own volition. Beithíoch is for those people who are happier with the wind in the face, dirt on their hands and cuts on their knees than benumbed in front of a tv or computer screen.”

Full interview here

Hipsters: blame academia?


For liberals, it’s about being Greater Together. For conservatives, it’s about pulling the plug on our nation’s losers. “About 4 million Americans are born every year,” warns David Burge; “about 90k Americans graduate college with art degrees. One out of 44.” With few exceptions, our bitterly divided ideological camps speak as one on education. Up with scientists! Down with artists!


We shouldn’t be bothered that so many kids these days are artsy and think like actors. We should be bothered by the fact that we’ve guided them into a system where your talents and proclivities are frowned on unless they’re credentialized. We expect our kids to get degrees in whatever they care about most — and then to get whatever jobs those degrees qualify them for. This is a recipe for embarrassing, ridiculous case studies like the underemployed Occupy guy with the bachelor’s in puppetry.

James Poulos,

The arts get a ripping here, but they brought it on themselves: by tolerating and, worse, promoting the brain-dead, fraudulent and self-absorbed for nigh on a century. The encroaching of the academia into the arts hasn’t upped skills amongst artists so much as it has legitimised frankly worthless art and given it a monopoly on state funding.

“the strength to build is now paralyzed; the courage to make far-reaching plans is discouraged; the organizational geniuses become scarce”

A Solitary Flower atop a Mountain of Ash and Ruins

Metal and Medieval music

Comparison #1:
Machaut – Gloria from The nostre dame mass
Timeghoul – Boiling in the Hourglass

Comparison #2:
Kyrie from The Templar’s Chant
Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

After this, […] present the Kyrie chant, whose liturgical function, at the beginning of the Mass, is to exalt divine majesty, the only force capable of remedying the weaknesses and imperfections of the human soul. Once a year, the Kyrie was sung outside the Mass, to open Vespers for Easter Day. […] But the Kyrie could also be employed to fortify the souls of the combatants when an army deployed in order of battle.


There are superficial reasons why metal compares so much to medieval music, to do with the lineage of the musical language it uses (metal started when Sabbath starting imitating horror movie music clichés – which themselves relied on a lot of ‘medievally’ sounding devices, because they sound ‘creepy’ to modern ears). More fundamentally, metal shares a dark but reverent worldview and mythic/allegoric way of describing life which is much more at home in the ancient world than it is modernity.

HI ARC TOW interview with

We recently did an interview with Irish music website, discussing the future of digital music and of hi arc tow.

heres a few excerpts:

I think standards have fallen. I don’t think we as a public meant to get here, its a situation we arrived at without really planning or expecting it. We live in a time that’s post counter-culture and post even counter-counter culture. Ours is a generation of people who have nothing to say about life because all they know of it is filtered through internet/television/technology and a dysfunctionally mediocre school system.

Digital/download has widened access for people to music that they would not necessarily have heard before but also helped widen the access of music to people that just wouldn’t have been able to get that far when labels and record buying determined a basic benchmark of competence before something could be released.

Read the full interview here

Beithíoch interview with A Dead Spot Of Light zine

a new interview with Beithíoch can be found in the latest issue of A Dead Spot Of Light zine.

Heres a few choice cuts:

Black metal has drowned in a glut of its own clichés, what may have meant something on Immortal’s first couple of albums doesn’t mean anything anymore through sheer over-saturation.

Classical music influenced alot of the input on Aisling Dhorcha. The best albums are written like symphonies, with a sense of what overall journey the work will take you on. All of the classics by Burzum, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Ildjarn etc feel like they are designed to take you somewhere rather than just be collections of random songs.

The hardest thing has been getting some people interested in music that they’re getting for free digitally. I understand why zines especially ignore such things when it comes there way – because its usually some worthless bedroom band. But its dogmatic nonsense to not give the music a chance if it is well presented and thought out, just because it’s not on a physical format.

It’s also no secret really that most of black metal’s audience these days has grown out of illegal downloads, so
why not just bypass the pretence, save the money and plastic used on CDs and just give it to the audience

Read the Zine for free here

Mike Riddick / Metalhit Interview at Dark Legions Archive

Not directly related to HI ARC TOW but nonetheless interesting and relevant:

Experienced underground metal guru Mike Riddick (Yamatu, Equimanthorn, The Soil Bleeds Black) has launched a for-profit MP3-based label that sells MP3s, and sends promotional MP3s to zines and radio shows — but somehow, he’s not worried about MP3s “ruining the music business.

Read the interview here

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Cryosyncopy : New album Culmination 3 out now

December 22, 2015

Crtyosyncopy - Culmination 3: The Dark Path

Cryosyncopy is back with a new album to round out the year for HI ARC TOW. Culmination 3: The Dark Path takes the electro-industrial/ambient style of Culmination 1 & 2 further into the realms of neoclassical, literary inspired music. […]

Beithíoch : New album Conquest out now

Beithíoch : New album Conquest out now

Here it is at last: the new Beithíoch album Conquest. Available to stream in full for free as well as purchase in both CD and digital formats from beithioch. […]

HI ARC TOW Ambient Compilation – Released now on Digipak and Download

The HI ARC TOW Ambient Compilation CD is out now. This release marks both the first independent physical release by HI ARC TOW and our first multi-artist collaboration. The compilation brings together artists from both Europe and North America in the creation of an album’s worth of eery, immersive ambient music – with each artist bringing their own distinctive style and interests to the record. […]

The Fires of Celestial Ardour: Khand returns with new album

The Fires of Celestial Ardour: Khand returns with new album

HI ARC TOW presents the long-awaited return of ambient cosmonaut Khand. The Fires of Celestial Ardour consists of ten pieces of deliciously neoclassical synth-ambient that take the listener on a journey through lonesome, starlit expanses. For fans of Tangerine Dream, Dead Can Dance, Raison D’Etre, Endura, Mortiis, Nox Arcana, Ildjarn. […]

Buy Absvrdist – Illusory digipack CD & Abhorrent news

Buy Absvrdist – Illusory digipack CD & Abhorrent news
A CD digipack version of Absvrdist's new album Illusory can now be purchased by emailing […]