Dark Entries is an independent Belgian music webzine with a focus on dark sounds. The webzine itself is completely in Dutch and can be found at www.darkentries.be. This blog was created with the intention to have an additional online place where our editors can post their English articles.
dinsdag 24 juli 2018
Schwarzblut: I think that the subjects of freedom, identity and the celebration of diversity that go through the album are a reflection of the time in which we live.
Four years after 'Gebeyn Aller Verdammten',
Schwarzblut returns with 'Idisi'. The group does not repeatitself but chooses to explorenew ways with the new
record. The depth of
meaning and composition, however, remain constant. We witnessed
that in our conversation with front man Zeon Schwarzblut.
new CD is called 'Idisi', a reference to the Germanic goddess of vegetation.
Why this title and how does it relate to the total concept of the album?
The word 'Idisi' comes from the 9 / 10th
century "Merseburger spells" (German: the Merseburger Zaubersprüche),
written in Old High German. The first of these two spells is a
"Lösesegen" (spell for release). It describes how warriors captured
during the battle are freed from their fetters by "Idisi". We use
this text for "Eiris sazun idisi", the opening track of our album. The
"Idisi" mentioned in this text are supposed to be Valkyrie-like
goddesses, possibly related to Norse mythology, where a dís ("lady",
plural dísir) is seen as a spirit or feminine deity associated with fate. The
Merseburger spells are the only known texts of the Germanic pagan faith that
have been preserved in Old High German. We chose "Idisi" as the title
for the album because of the reference to the eternal desire for freedom and as
a tribute to the power of women in the past and the present.
aller Verdammten' dates back to 2014 and was rightly considered as your best
work to date. It took four years to come up with a successor. Why so long?
Our 2014 album received a good reception
indeed. And because we never repeat ourselves, we opted for new ways for the next album. We decided early in the writing process to
concentrate on the roots of the Germanic and Frankish languages. This of course
requires study time and we have taken that time. In our search we found
beautiful texts from the 13th, 9th and even 6th century. These texts have a
sound and rhythm that are very inspiring to me. They immediately invited to
compose music. The old languages and texts have an abstraction that works very well
with the dark, vocal and rhythmic music on our new album.
We have noriced a great evolution since your last work. Where you
used to choose hard beats, you have become much calmer on 'Idisi'. A conscious
Idisi is an album that has been created in
a very organic and intuitive way. With the arrival of Gijs van Ouwerkerk, we had
three vocalists who could contribute this time. And that really invited us to
use a lot of harmony and chant vocals in the songs. By putting the tempo’s a little
lower, there was more room to let the voices 'speak'. We have experimented a
lot in the studio with community singing and free improvisation. That has
produced beautiful pieces such as "Eiris sazun idisi", "Die Zeit
geht nicht" and “Vogala”. More than before we have also recorded organic instruments for the
album such as violin, nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy and percussion.
now you mainly used German texts. The new album is much broader linguistically. We hear Latin several times, the first written (Old)
Dutch sentence on 'Vogala', fragments of Turkish and Romanian, but especially a
lot of Medieval-German. Why this diversity?
I believe that an artist is always
influenced by his or her contemporary environment. And we as well. I think that
the subjects of freedom, identity and the celebration of diversity that go
through the album are a reflection of the time in which we live. Fear,
polarization and propaganda are just as much part of the past as part of our
present. Polarization always comes from fear, from not understanding the value
of diversity. Lack of understanding stems from a lack of communication and
connection. Music is about communication. Our music is our way of communicating
and learning about other cultures and customs. For this album, Hannah
Wagner helped us with the pronunciation of the Middle High German texts, the
Romanian singer / actress Teodora Ionescu helped us with the Romanian parts and
our Iranian colleague and friend Reza helped us with the Farsi / Persian parts.
This process of sharing and learning was an enriching experience. I believe
that having strong cultural roots and a sense of belonging to your own culture
is a solid starting point to meet and explore other cultures. And because
suffering and suffering is also a given in the world, we were not afraid to
record a number of cruel texts about war and persecution.
The album comprises the
'Palästinalied', a song from the time of the crusades that has often been covered. What has driven you to make your own
interpretation of the song?
On the album, this song connects the
Western and Middle Eastern worlds, in the form of a 13th century text written
at the time of the 5th Crusade. We have really made our own version of it by
adding vocal harmonies, spoken lyrics in Latin and very intense percussion. The
song also contains the majestic game by our German friend Georg Börner (Sangre De
Muerdago) on the nyckelharpa. His medieval stringed instrument gives the song a
mysterious and Eastern character. Hannah Wagner (Saeldes Sanc / Helium Vola)
and Angelika sing these songs as a duet, which really gives the song a
fighting and melodic character.
der Freiheit' seems to fit very well with the Schwarzblut concept. Can you tell
something more about that song?
The text of this song is a poem by the 19th
century Swiss poet Gottfried Keller. In this poem he formulates the concepts of
time, truth and history in a surprising, new way. It was logical for me to put
this text on music because it gives an interesting conceptual context to the old texts
we use on the album.
round off the album you use a poem by the Persian Sufi poet Rumi, after the German translation of
Friedrich Rückert. The music also sounds very oriental. What did you want to
In a world where polarization and populism
in the media form the issues of the day, we choose a different course. I do not
own TV and use online media in moderation. As I said, I believe that an artist
is always influenced by his or her contemporary environment. And that having
strong cultural roots and a sense of belonging to your own culture forms a
solid starting point for meeting other cultures. This song is such a meeting.
The text of 'Ghaselen des Dschelal-eddin Rumi' consists of the German
translation of works by the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
(1207-1273). Rumi was the leading figure of the Sufi movement in medieval
Konya. He philosophized about the benefits of tolerance. The meaning of his
words inspired me to give this song a deep, Oriental sound. Partly through the
use of Arabic singing by Hammam Al Sayid. The Rumi text we use is a translation
by Friedrich Rückert from 1819. We already used texts from Rückert on
our albums Das Mausoleum (2010) and Gebeyn Aller Verdammten (2014).
collaboration with Hannah Wagner of Saeldes Sanc is in the spotlight. You
already worked together on the single 'Virginis Memoriae' in 2015 and in 2017
with the EP 'Wildes Herz'. How
did you get to know Saeldes Sanc and how did you decide to work together?
In 2015, we first released a split single
with Hannah. She is a great talent and a very nice person. So while working on
"Idisi", the idea arose to make a mini-album with her. After a
meeting with Hannah at the Wave Gotik Treffen in her home town of Leipzig (D),
she came to Deventer (NL) a few months later to work with us in the studio.
When we were together, an inspiring work atmosphere arose in the studio. We
exchanged ideas and suggestions to take the best of each other. I worked on the
compositions and recordings of both Saeldes Sanc's and our own songs. I look
back on this with great pleasure. Although you can send music files all over
the world via the Internet at lightning speed, the musical result is so much
better and more personal when you actually work together in one studio. And you
can hear that on "Wildes Herz".
you already have any idea what the next step for Schwarzblut will be?
We have had two release parties in the
Netherlands behind us. In the fall we go back to Germany for performances. Of
course new musical ideas are bubbling up again. So they will also find a way to
a next release. There is also a video clip for the song Vogala in the making.
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