Thursday, September 15, 2011

Outside of the Rider's Domain

Brendan said that a post i did a few days ago read like "a bad extract from Kurt Cobain's diary".

Fair enough, I'll try and refrain from the cardigan vibe.

As most of you know I have been going fairly crazy over the band Wolves in the Throne Room. When i write my thesis (which is every day) i tend to listen to them, and sometimes Burzum, as it creates a nice background 'white noise' kinda vibe, which actually helps me think.

Despite loving their music, I am aware that these guys are class A wankers. Punk kids way too into deep ecology, they have built up an entire philosophical repertoire by which to live. This is to be admired, partly because, just like Fugazi, they actually follow through with their way of life. This involves living on a farm in Washington state, producing their own food, and by and large ignoring the capitalist, consumerist society which they live in. They have even taken steps to limit where they play, when they do, and how much it costs (again, kinda like Fugazi).

But, they also say kind ridiculous stuff about the nature of black metal. They have rejected the US 'scene', stating it is a far more solitary pursuit than that. This i can accept as true. But saying things like "If you listen to black metal, but you don't know what phase the moon is in, or which flowers are in bloom, you have missed the point."

This has led to a lot of hipster fans to get upset. Partly because they live in upstate New York, and there are no wild forests through which to wander. And while what the band says is kinda wanky, it's also kinda true insofar as black metal requires more of the listener than your average power pop band.

Not because it's inherently elitist, but because you have to engage much more with it before you come to understand it. So it becomes difficult to jump on the black metal bandwagon when the music is so immediately inaccessible. And while we might think what the band is doing is a bit over the top, a bit pompous, we can't help but acknowledge that they are taking their deep ecology, eco feminist, green anarchy, to its logical conclusion. They believe their music is a gateway to the natural world, and a closer affinity with it. This makes it harder to talk about liking the music, but not the message, as a lot of trend jumping tends to do. After all, it's the image that you want to convey, not an appreciation for the music itself.

This is why I don't think BM will stay in the cool kids repertoire for long. Kinda like riding a track bike on the street, its inherently too time consuming, too annoying, and too difficult to do, if all you wish to achieve is seem cool. There are easier and better ways to do it.

But for the few people who hold on, who get it, there's an amazing world waiting for them. A world where it almost seems as if time stands still.

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