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Thread: Black Metal to Black Ambient

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    Black Metal to Black Ambient

    Do you remember old Burzum? Raw and pure Black Metal. Then he killed Euronymous, went into prison and started with this ambient stuff (to cut a long story short). A lot of musicians followed Varg Vikernes, e.g. Ildjarn and Nidhögg (see their split album), who were formerly known as Black Metal artists and then started to play around with keyboards.

    Some might say they followed Burzum, seeing him as a leader and idol. Or is it just a very normal development to get from one style to the other? And don't talk about the soul of a Black Metal artist now, which is oh so deeply connected with nature - Viking Metal artists feel this connection, too, I'm sure, but they won't start plaing ambient music now.

    So what do you think?
    Was it a normal "evolution" of this style? Did they follow a leader?


    PS: Var Vikernes stated just some time ago that he changed his music from Black Metal to, let's say, Black Ambient, because he had no other option. Either he had a computer in his prison cell, or a guitar - but he needed the computer to record songs, so he decided to have the computer and started making music with some software programmes.

    And yes, I know, that he once stated this new and pure sound of albums like "Dauði Baldrs" or "Hliðskjálf" is a symbol for nature and that he will never again play Black Metal for it got numb over all the years and there are a lot of new and young musicians that can play it better than he did.
    But of course I also know that Varg likes it very much to change his mind from one day to the next. And I'm still a huge fan.
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    I don´t know Ildjarn or Nidhögg so I can´t give an opinion. Experimenting with keyboards was surely not invented by Vikernes.

    As for Burzum, personally I consider Dauði Baldrs and Hliðskjálf good ambient music - nothing special. The most atmospheric ambient piece by Varg in my opinion is "Tomhet" on the Hvis lyset tar oss album.
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    I think it was a natual development for Varg. The two songs Han Som Reiste (Det Som Engang Var) and Tomhet (Hvis Lyset Tar Oss) was released before the Filosofem album and they were both ambient works. I wan't surprised with "Dauði Baldrs" or "Hliðskjálf".

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    I don't think Ildjarn was playing follow-the-leader when they, like Burzum, began doing more ambient/electronic works. Just as Ildjarn's earlier works are much different from Burzum, works such as Hardangervidda are dramatically different from Varg's last two albums. Ildjarn/Nidhogg didn't even release Hardangervidda Part 1 until years after Varg made the transition to this new medium. Ildjarn was perhaps inspired by Burzum (though probably more by tracks such as Tomhet, which sound more like Hardangervidda than anything from Daudi Baldrs and Hlidsjalf), but this inspiration is only significant in the choice of "instrumentation."

    I think this was more of a "natural evolution" due to an interest in exploring the possibilities of another musical form than following the leader. However, calling the transition to more ambient music an "evolution" seems erroneous, given that most bands deciding to do this did so and went back to metal, some even creating side-projects specifically for their experimental music (Neptune Towers).
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    hmm. i dont like daudi baldrs much, but i liked his ambient stuff, on his BM albums, and i liked most of hlidskjalf... i would say in burzum's case, it was both... partly a natural shift, and partly just because he couldnt have the standard instruments. i dont think it has much to do with the style of black metal. i think a guy like ildjarn, who is so influenced by burzum, is perhaps doing ambient music as a natural evolution of his style... but only if you count biting off the count as his style.
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    Well, if the idea is to create contemporary music influenced by classical forms, there's definitely a lot more room to explore that with electronic music than with metal. It allows for more subtlety and emotional expression. So that's a pretty natural inclination.

    However I think there's an attempt to preserve that 'rawness' in the electronic form, which really doesn't appeal to me. The benefit of that medium is supposed to be the capacity to manipulate sound to a greater degree than with hard instruments, allowing more nuance in the sort of emotion or idea you want to get across. Sticking with presets and simple, common tones seems counterintuitive to the purpose of electronic music, and leaves you with something that isn't much more than novelty (and still, only novel because of the background of the artists in question).

    ^Here I'm thinking specifically of Ildjarn, Nidhogg and Burzum, but there is some good stuff besides. Neptune Towers was really good, but it didn't make use of the same sort of BM or folkish song structures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luh_Windan

    ^Here I'm thinking specifically of Ildjarn, Nidhogg and Burzum, but there is some good stuff besides. Neptune Towers was really good, but it didn't make use of the same sort of BM or folkish song structures.
    What about Beherit? They (he) changed the style to ambient too

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blutwölfin
    Do you remember old Burzum? Raw and pure Black Metal. Then he killed Euronymous, went into prison and started with this ambient stuff (to cut a long story short). A lot of musicians followed Varg Vikernes, e.g. Ildjarn and Nidhögg (see their split album), who were formerly known as Black Metal artists and then started to play around with keyboards.

    Some might say they followed Burzum, seeing him as a leader and idol. Or is it just a very normal development to get from one style to the other? And don't talk about the soul of a Black Metal artist now, which is oh so deeply connected with nature - Viking Metal artists feel this connection, too, I'm sure, but they won't start plaing ambient music now.

    So what do you think?
    Was it a normal "evolution" of this style? Did they follow a leader?


    PS: Var Vikernes stated just some time ago that he changed his music from Black Metal to, let's say, Black Ambient, because he had no other option. Either he had a computer in his prison cell, or a guitar - but he needed the computer to record songs, so he decided to have the computer and started making music with some software programmes.

    And yes, I know, that he once stated this new and pure sound of albums like "Dauði Baldrs" or "Hliðskjálf" is a symbol for nature and that he will never again play Black Metal for it got numb over all the years and there are a lot of new and young musicians that can play it better than he did.
    But of course I also know that Varg likes it very much to change his mind from one day to the next. And I'm still a huge fan.

    If you read some interviews at that point I believe he wanted to seperate himself from the whole Black Metal "scene" and was sick of people playing the music that jumped genres, to make money plus he said himself he was tired of the "white Negroids" in the metal scene. So it could be viewed as both evolutionary, while at the same time a distancing tactic plus I believe the stuff on Daudi Baldr's is good but it doesn't measure up the old stuff.

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    I wouldn't call Burzum 2 last albums entirely ambient - there are also some neoclassical, electro-folk pieces. Talking about other 'black-metal to ambient' projects I really like Mortiis and Ildjarn. Talking about Neptune towers - I dislike it - it's too experimental for me, too much strange noise and no melody line.
    To those who likes good atmosperic ambient, i recommend Nest from Finland. It's very good and inspiring music, deep melodies and nice pads.

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    The best that was mentioned here (imho) is the superb Ildjarn "Hardangervidda" in two parts. Awesome releases, my all-time favourites.

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