♫♪  When - “The Black Death (excerpt)”

When Norwegian avant-garde polymath Lars Pedersen released The Black Death under the When moniker in 1992, some of his fellow forward-thinking countrymen were donning spiked gauntlets and smearing their faces with corpse paint. Though the sounds shaped by the likes of Mayhem, Darkthrone, and Emperor into what we know as Norwegian black metal — buzzing tremolo picked guitar lines, howled vocals, blastbeats — shared little in common with Pedersen’s expanses of musique concrète at face value, their shared themes of pestilence and despair united these artists into a vanguard of pitch-black experimentation.

Pedersen derived inspiration for The Black Death from legendary Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen’s series of drawings entitled Svartedauen, which depicted the catastrophic spread of the bubonic plague through Norway in the 14th century. Removed from those events by the better part of a millennium, Kittelsen’s drawings plant the figures of old hags and demonic beasts into stark scenes of natural disorder, presenting a vision of human suffering stripped down to a husk of disease and absence. Pedersen populates his continuous 38 minute piece with the auditory equivalents of these ghastly entities, which pop into view in the form of spectral field recordings, fragments of acoustic folk, or peals of noise for a few moments of terror each.

Remastered to a remarkable degree of detail, Ideologic Organ’s vinyl edition of The Black Death introduces this seminal work to new generations who honed their tastes for the dark and the obscure by listening to musicians that Pedersen directly inspired — including IO label head and Sunn O)))/Khanate/KTL member Stephen O’Malley, iconoclastic Ulver frontman Kristoffer Rygg, and Norwegian noise icon Lasse Marhaug, all of whom have contributed in some form to this reissue. As the ouroboric circle of influence continues to turn, one can only imagine what spectacular horrors Pedersen might breed in the minds of the artists who discover his work today.

• When: http://home.online.no/~movidar/discographies/when.html
• Ideologic Organ: http://editionsmego.com/releases/ideologic-organ

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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