The first physical edition of Black Ivory Tower will be available in July 2014. In this zine, subtitled “Interbellum”, we expand the approach familiar from our website, offering in-depth reviews, articles and analyses (all in English) that clarify our view on music and help you view certain bands and releases in entirely new ways. Food for the mind, nourishment for the soul, gentle on the wallet.
Printed professionally in A4 format, this magazine contains 60 pages (including front and back covers) of high-quality material, complete with a carefully selected set of both colour and black-and-white pictures referencing history, nature and culture.
This magazine is different from most other underground zines in two ways: firstly, we focus on reviews over interviews. To clarify: this first edition contains NO interviews whatsoever. Secondly, the design is somewhat more ‘tame’ and ‘colourful’ than the traditional metal fanzine. I hate horror movies, I hate comic books, I hate exploitation, I hate collage fonts, so none of that will be found in the magazine.
Still want it? Costs will be €6 + shipping and 50 cents PayPal fee. Orders from Holland and Ukraine can also be paid through regular bank transfer.
I will only start accepting orders by the end of July. Keep an eye on this website or our Facebook page for updates.
For further inquiries: blackivorytower[AT]gmail[DOT]com
Some fragments and pictures (click to enlarge):
Zhaoze is a band that proves to have mastered the art of carving these fantastical journeys into the minds of its audience. The four Chinese men operating under this moniker are commonly said to be playing post-rock, yet this deno mination is still too limited to capture the characteristic sound of the ensemble, which finds its nourishment in the vast source of Chinese musical tradition, with a hint of Western classical music. Though the presence of the conventional rock trio of guitar, bass and drums combined with the drawn-out, complex song structures lay a post-rock foun dation, the presence of the traditional guqin instrument de fines the sound. This ancient instrument stands firmly at the basis of Chinese culture: even Confucius is said to have been a master of the guqin. Its creation is ascribed to the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, the rulers who form the basis of the glorious Chinese civilisation. (Among them is also Fu Xi, who was already discussed last year by Poswicht in his review of the band that goes by the same name.) Floating mysteriously between mythology and historical reality as it is defined today, the guqin is sub sequently provided with a myth ical origin; a gift bestowed upon us from gods of long ago. It is thus no surprise that Zhaoze‘s music, too, would possess this same mystical quality, emerging from the mist of legend, directed by deities from an endless past.
(From “The Fourth Sovereign”, a review of Zhaoze‘s 1911 album.)
“Much like Chopin and Debussy before them, two composers who flirted dangerously with the saccharine without crossing too deeply into its territory, Peste Noire affiliate themselves with a grand, illustrious sense of melody, announcing beauty as their weapon against all of the ugliness which they see in the world without succumbing to an easy ‘pop art’ or a feminine sentimentality – and that is the entirety of their common ground. The Romantic composers were objectively enamoured of fulfilling a thoroughly favourable, pacific atmosphere, from the awesome wilderness of the earthen landscapes that they invoked to the presentation of a delicate, harmonious symphony in perfect order to the seraphic nobility of the music as it is; the prevalent metaphor consisted of a natural, pastoral purity untouched by man conveyed through the genteel purity of art. Peste Noire, conversely, are interested in the ‘purity of garbage’, of engaging the foulness of our world with an honesty and a directness that results in anything but a ‘symphony in perfect order’ – it is rather the symphony of fish merchants on the Seine, of Lyonnais sewage workers, and perhaps most of all of morticians, who must take the decaying, revolting meat of what was once a human body and make it something beautiful once again.”
(From “Symphony in Disorder”, a re-examination of Peste Noire‘s self-titled album.)
“In order to fully explore this release, and its relevance to this text and the ‘ritual ambient’ genre (which may not be immediately obvious when taken as a purely musical expression), it is necessary to delve into two concepts: the spiritual space of the monastic realm, and the concept of spiritual pilgrimage (i.e. pilgrimage made by the mind towards celestial Jerusalem). Within the cloisters, cells, churches and cathedrals of Medieval Christendom monks were able to make pilgrimages with their hearts and not their feet. The architecture of the monastery was designed in order to keep the outside world at bay, and allow the monk to exist in a timeless enclave of devotion to God, turning focus inwards towards the spirit and away from the profane. With the use of various literary, scriptural and artistic tools the monk, through prayer (sacra pagina), reading (lectio divina) and contemplation, could make an internal imagined journey towards celestial Jerusalem, visiting the biblical sites know to him through scripture and sermon, and culminating (ideally) in brief communion with God. This act was described by Guigo II (ninth prior of Chartreuse monastery) as a Jacob’s Ladder, and it is this ladder which Alio Die emulates through liturgical chants, Renaissance and baroque textures and mystical dronework.”
(From “The Janus Face of European Spirituality”, a double review of Wolfskin‘s Campos de matança and Alio Dei‘s Horas tibi serenas.)
“Through its deep and clear production, as well as the album’s post-rock influences – its presence still subtle in this phase of the band’s existence – Blood in our wells proves an instantly appealing, even accessible release. In their coverage of the album, several reviewers even picked up on the cinematic angle, if only through its literal manifestation in the form of fragments from the film Mamay (2003) that comprise the intro and usher in each subsequent song. The album’s other references, most prominently their decision to dedicate respectively the final song and the album in its entirety to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Stepan Bandera received a fair amount of attention, though often in the form of attempts to push the band into the ‘NS’ corner, an especially tragic example of misinformation when you realise the album’s very title was lifted from a poet who was killed by the Nazis.
While on the high that a successful piece tends to impose on its beholders, it is difficult to recall the pervasive banality that attempts to blunt our senses on a daily basis. To put it in more hackneyed terms, the pseudo-artistic blasphemy of one-colour paintings, expositions thriving on sexual deviance, women shooting Easter eggs out of their snatches and putting spaghettios back in… they all stand further away from the human soul once the latter has been touched by true genius. I shall henceforth perceive wonderful music as one of the few effective cures against the tumorous outgrowths of the Western art crisis. The spiritual enrichment offered by this music is a rare commodity indeed among the abundance of artistic impostors that plague our cultures. Their egocentric falsehoods squander what might be the most valuable thing that mankind possesses, its intricacy, delicacy and marvel, unmatched in the universe, being the ultimate homage to our mythical origin.”
(From “Drudkh and Our Mythical Origin”, a review of Blood in our wells.)