Sunday, January 29, 2012

Black Metal begins here

Paganini's "Caprice for Solo Violin in G Minor, Op. 1/6." Before even Wagner and Grieg, the spirit lived in Paganini. He composed the caprices around 1817, and toured Europe in the early 1820s to astonished audiences who had never heard sounds like these coming out of a violin. A sallow-skinned, rail-thin, black-clad virtuoso, he was reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil. He did nothing to dispel these rumors. You could consider him the Trey Azagthoth of the Romantic era, though that analogy is, of course, better turned on its head.

Paganini's prefiguration of black metal should be obvious enough to anyone with two ears and a brain, but I do want to direct your attention to this: listen to that ominous trembling sound as Kogan drags his bow across the strings. It's a bit like a trill, but each note is separately articulated, which requires insanely fast twitch on the left hand. What that produces is a kind of analogue distortion, along with a harmonic effect that's really close to the kind of two-string tremolo picking pioneered by Thorns, Mayhem, and Burzum in the early 90s. Hearing it torn out of a wooden instrument through sheer skill and force of will sends shivers down my spine.

I just started a new part-time job at a classical music venue, and heard this piece for the first time ever last night (and again tonight). It was performed by this guy, and he fucking tore it up.


  1. i always knew black metal needed more violins

    1. Hahaha if you think so, check out Vhernen. Brilliant atmospheric BM led by an electrified, heavily effected cello. It's fucking MASSIVE, and not gimmicky at all. I think there are guitars in there too. The overall sound is a bit like Velvet Cacoon, but really heavy and awe-inspiring, much more connected to the old Norse shit. Will definitely be doing a post on them at some point.

  2. "Metalheads only pretend to like other types of music to flatter themselves. Who listens to classical?

    P.S. soulja boy is basically a genius"

    Pavel you're basically too good to be working with this pseudo-ironic-wishy-washy-hipster noktorn, I don't get douche chills reading your stuff