One of the most unique bands to grace my speakers, Tele. S. Therion utilise the Acousmatic technique established through musique-concrete composers Pierre Schaffer and Edgard Varesse and create the kind of mind-altering sounds that could drive a weaker mortal beyond the brink of insanity. The guys behind the project spoke exclusively to ZT about their musical concepts and collaborations.
ZT: I personally reviewed the Hintu Rituum album for www.metalteamuk.net, which I described as being rather like a soundtrack to Hell. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric, ritualistic and dare I say rather terrifying listen! Was there anything in particular you were trying to put across to the listener in your music?
SG: Hinthv Ritvvm is a ritual evocation developped in the form of sound art. Pure art of noise. The lyrics are based on ancient divination, incantations and evocation texts from the Etruscan corpus, more specifically from the linen bands wrapped around the Zagreb mummy (or others written in bronze, gold, clay or stone); to the powerful occult cuneiform tablets of the ancient golden age of the Mesopotamian magic tradition.
LUNURUMH: My goal was bring a listener to deep abysses of earth. This is a ritual to the self-destruction of human senses for Satan. When demons take control of your mind and body. The way to Hell…
ZT: The “Hermetic Sigil Lyrics” on the album, derive from a combination of ancient Etruscan and Sumerian ritual texts, which certainly fits with the ritualistic feel to things. These are very hard to decipher from listening of course! Can you talk a bit about these rituals; what you found inspiring about them and what their meanings are?
SG: Hinthv Ritvvm is based on “rites of the shadows”, this is the meaning of the title in Etruscan language. There is a long tradition of “darkness magic” in ancient cultures, where the evocation of the shadows, and the dialogue with that entity is the first step to open a channel to the underworld and the chthonian Genius. This conceptual album is a real translation of this magic rituals in waveforms, after arranged such as acousmatic devices.
ZT: Do you have to get yourself into a particular frame of mind to be able to make such music?
SG: My experiences and studies are focused on Conceptual, Concrete and Constructivist art and design, Radical Constructivism approaches about knowledge and knowing, and esoteric disciplines of the Western Hermetic Tradition. This sort of “frame of mind” it is shared with the other founder member of Tele.S.Therion, K11; he has experiences and studies in Visual Art, Philosophy, Phenomenologies of Perception and Tibetan, Western and Thelemic Mysticism. This is the background, for example, through wich we have conceived a concept album like “The Chapel” specifically to be performed inside the Rothko Chapel, in Houston, Texas. In this concpetual album / acousmatic device, every recording session is conceived as acoustic transposition of seven “back paintings” projected inside the chapel, with a multi channel sound spatialization system, in the key of our Acousmatic Black Metal, using seven loudspeakers installed under the Rothko’s icons of black paintings, for a unique deep immersive meditation experience.
ZT: How did you come to collaborate with Lunurumh/Astral Lueur for the “Hintu Rituum” concept album? Can you talk about this collaboration?
SG: In late 2009 I listened to some sessions from his debut album as Astral Lueur “Umbra Lemures”. An incredible opera wich I consider a real jewel and which I need to recommend. His research on vocal performances reveals himself as great aural sensitive and channel, with a deep control of the psychic images evoked. After the shock of “Umbra Lemures” I contacted him to ask his fundamental collaboration for realise our Hinthv Ritvvm.
LUNURUMH: My impressions of the collaboration are fantastic! With Hinthv Ritvvm we made something special in ritual music. Deep dark atmosphere with grim voices and ritual singing reached a perfect result. Music just increases pressure on the mind of listener. Hinthv Ritvvm is the perfect soundtrack to depths of chaos which spoils your mind by the demons aura of the death. This is a wonderful experience for me to work with Tele.S.Therion! This project gave me a new way to realise my potential in this genre of music. I don’t know if I can use this experience in my projects like Astral Lueur and Virvel Av Morkerhatet, but now I can say – this is just a beginning. I clearly see my future works and now I know, it will be something more special than we have now. On Hinthv Ritvvm I create deep ritual chants with some grim voices which add some special moves into the music. This is my own method. Everything you hear are the voices of demons inside me. I immerse myself in the musical ritual atmosphere in a deep cold room without light and try to hear the voices of the dead in my head. This is like a mental trance, I see only the depths of my mind. Dark corners of my mind. The best time for this is in the moment between sleep and wakefulness. This time can erase the line between our world and the world of shadows.
ZT: You have Wildness Perversion of Mortuary Drape doing vocals for the ‘Grimoire XIII’ session, previously included in “Black Industrial Grimoire” concept album, which very soon will be realised as stand alone EP. Can you talk about this collaboration? What can we expect from that?
SG: Wildness Perversion don’t need an introduction; he is Mortuary Drape and his collaboration it’s just a previlege for us. Me and K11 were in touch with him from the time of their first demotape “Necromancy”. Mortuary Drape, incarnated by Wildness Perversion, are one of the very few important realities of western-latin occultism in music (I recommend to you all to find some rare VHS of their occult live set realised during the ’90, like “Darkness Attack” with the first original line-up). Wildness Perversion was the first vocal performer, master of ceremonies and divination, which we have think to involve in our ensemble from the beginning. A powerful master able to lead and channel, through our acoustic substances, black currents of energy. New chapters of our Grimoire will be published soon…
WILDNESS PERVERSION: Our collaboration came from a contact via email by SG after many years of no contact, as for all the things born by the chance, the Mother of the events has done its part, giving us the right energy to begin this project. I think that this project is founded to bring together diverse human and sound vibration, maybe so far each other, but in insight they are very tuned. I take this opportunity also to thank all those who, until now, and in future, will cooperate to expand the success of this musical experiment. Our ensemble is at the beginning, but until our first collaboration for Grimoire XIII, it have gave me a lot of energy. I feel that with Tele.S.therion I can do everything I can’t make in Mortuary Drape; here I can experiment the Art of Mantra of Girolamo Massavelli, which I study and practice for years. Periodically, I was also a source of study by experts, about certain kind of sounds, that’s just me and a few others in the world can do. This is an Art which I practiced for years. Immersing myself mentally in the project, very naturally, I felt the vibrations that have me transported in a particular dimension. From this point, everything came out naturally in the form of sounds made just with my voice. It has been a great experience that we intend to repeat on new sessions for a new EP which we’re actually working.
ZT: Acousmatic music is not quite a new concept; it has been used before by composers like Edgard Varese and Pierre Schaffer and I’m sure there are others that have utilised this as well. What made you want to experiment with this musical technique?
SG: This kind of conception about the sound experience, is related to Pythagoras of Samos. The Acousmatic art, according to Pierre Schaeffer “is said to be derived from akousmatikoi, the outer circle of Pythagora’s disciples who only heard their teacher speaking from behind a veil. In a similar way, one hears acousmatic music from behind the ‘veil’ of loudspeakers, without seeing the source of the sound”. During the past century it was enstablished as a sort of “genre” in the classical music scene, with precise and defined criteria of research, such as those set by the important studies of Michel Chion, till the indispensable latest research of Francisco Lòpez, which I suggest to reading the short essay “Against the stage”, downloadable also from RMEDL | Metasound. This kind of tecnique of sound expression, based on the methods of the Concrete music, open wide possibilities about the design of the listening experience, private and public. This methodologies joined to the approch of the Conceptual and Constructivistic art, Process art and Site specific, are the principles wich lead our immersive design research to discover new and more deep layers of doom and black metal music.
ZT: I can imagine it being quite a challenging process to produce such an album. How did you go about the production and were there any aspects that were particularly difficult to record?
SG: Well, not particulary difficult, I use a unique system to record my sessions: electric bass guitar prepared with metal coils, amplified in enviromental feedback system using 13 speakers and microphones, during electroacoustic metaphonic field recording session.
K11: Not so difficult, as you can imagine, even if during our recordings we needed a particular state of meditation within the noise. All the sounds you can listen to are analogue and do not come from digital sources. As a musician and sound engineer of Tele.S.therion, I use the computer only for recording and assembling music, not for composing. I never use electronic sounds or plug-ins. I don’t really like computers. I prefer analogue electronics because analogue allows you to define the sound to reflect your inner state. Personally I use multiple effects on the signal at the time of recording. My set-up is based on shortwave radio signals received using different kind of antennae, field recordings, and a special system based on 3 different amplifier, rac reverb and distortion pedals which consent me to use my own voice as an harmonic droning device, which can sound like a heavy guitar.
ZT: You highlight the use of “silence” in your booklet; of course, silence is just as important in music as sound itself and especially in creating the kind of atmosphere you have done with Hinthu Rituum. Can you elaborate on what silence means in relation to Tele .S. Therion’s music?
SG: The name Tele.S.Therion is a sort of sygil based on this concept, it is composed by three parts: Teleth! Sigelion (Hor Pa Khered, the silenced form of Horus)! Therion! It represents the Ars Echemythia. The Silence – it is part of the listening, more than the sound. As in the Eleusinian Telesterion, the listening become a physical action, it could be fixed like you fix the sound. The quality of the Silence is the set-up where the sound is propagated, the silence could be “designed” in its “quality”, as reflecting or absorbent; through the Silence it’s possible to manipulate the sound during recordings music.
K11: I think silence as a part of the sound and the difference between noise and silence is only about the perception of a physical quality. I often love to record some pieces of silence and then try to turn the silence into a noisy pieces growing the gain of it. In a few words I agree with Cage and with his point of view about the silence.
ZT: Are there any other vocalists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
SG: The vocal performance in Telestherion is very important and not easy to sustain.The polyphonic structure of the “sound organisations” of our sessions, have in itself a difficulty which trascend the skill related the simple interpretation, but it is a performative space where it is neccessary for a total conjunction with the sound matter evoked and projected. So we are really grateful to Lunurumh and Wildness Perversion to have joined our ensemble, because they are two of the few people able to incarnate this black art. In the near future probably other kind of performers will be joined, but to develop other sides of our ensemble.
K11: There are a lot of vocalists I’d love to work with but it’s not easy to introduce a vocalist within this kind of project especially because we work in another way from traditional bands. I think in time, destiny will make us meet the right person for our ensemble.
ZT: ‘Nature Unveiled’ is a reinterpretation of Current93’s album from 1984 of the same name. What were the reasons for doing this album in particular?
SG: Because I think it is a seminal masterpiece, with Dogs Blood Rising able to materialize real spooky sound entities, through a liturgic procedure of sound manipulation. It is a first form of unconventional post-punk acousmatic music!
K11: “Nature Unveiled” is a masterpiece. I think that scene has been really important for the experimentation in music. Current 93, Nurse with Wound, Coil, etc have been the first musicians that have experimented with other kind of languages within the music. The first album of Current 93 was important during my childhood and after having listened to a lot of metal I was really shocked listened to those albums.
ZT: I take it Current 93 are a particular band that has inspired you. Are there any other bands/musicians/artists/composers, etc. that you would consider an inspiration to you?
SG: Limiting our answer about the music, I can say for example Karlheinz Stockhausen for his radical approach on extended media in music conception; Celtic Frost are one of my roots in heavy doom music; Francisco Lòpez for his avant attitude in acousmatic music and sound art, Paul Chain the master of “violet magic” and “violet art” of sounds, able to create mediumistic and metaphisic recordings. But i need to mentioned also two great, uniques and avantgard projects like Abruptum and Moevot.
K11: For sure Edgar Varese, John Cage, William Basinski, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, early Bathory, Mercyful Fate, and in the recent scene Burzum and Gorgoroth.
ZT: I wasn’t sure how your music would work in the live setting – on one hand the ritualistic nature of it could be quite an intense experience, but then I’m not sure how difficult it would be for you to pull it off in concert. Have you performed live or is it something you have any intentions of doing?
SG: The activity of Tele.S.therion is not represented by public performances or similar activities. Tele.S.Therion is conceived as “music for speakers and audience”. Art of Noise for the Art of Listening.
For the moment we have produced some “acousmatic devices”: This is the how we define our concept albums, a sort of “objects sonores” because they are conceived to be played in a normal way, but each album could be played also using two tracks simoultaneusly with two hi-fi systems (example for your home could be use a pc and a hi-fi); the best way could be if this two hi-fis are connencted to four speackers, to experiment the conjunction of the opposite, and try the experince of immersion in our sounds! To direct personally the experience with acoustic devices, everyone could create his own listening experience manipulating in each hi-fi system the related knobs of tones, equalization and volume, to mix the tracks involved. Very reccommended! Recently we have tried a few basic live-set of Tele.S.Therion, but we have the intention to organize some memorable shows in the next future. Antway do not expect a rock concert, with a stage and some musicians! Our acousmatic experience work psychically from deep inside, experimenting the essence of the blackest, doom, Art rock!
K11: It would be really interesting to manage to organize some performances with Tele.S.Therion. I think the best image that can explain our performance is an image of depth, really dark depth followed by a state of shock provoked by the utilization of the light, and the performers involved, in an unusual and symbolic way. Our public performances are based on multi channel systems, designed in relation of the context. The way of our live-set is far from the classic rock scene and it could be more similar to the way of ritualistic and experimental scene.
ZT: You are also the founder of Radical Matters records. I am guessing this was initially a platform to promote Tele .S. Therion, although have gradually expanded and built up an intriguing roster of artists mostly in the experimental vein. Did you initially set out with a “vision” for your label, or have things worked out rather differently?
SG: No, I started RMEDL in 2004 to release handmade deluxe limited editions, sound objects and artist’s multiples. Tele.S.Therion ensemble started in 2007 but until 2011 everything (recordings and live apparitions) was done in secret. The core of RMEDL and the related editorial or meta-curatorial platforms like the Web Editions (for the free download), Metasound and Eskathon publishing, it is around the art of noise, unhorthodox extra-acoustic experiences, joined to unconventional and “extended” techniques of production for multidisciplinary projects, conceived as special programmatic events and collectable art editions. I’m glad to announce that Tele.S.Therion now have a dedicated platform here; http://www.radicalmatters.com/tele.s.therion
which displays a virtual Acousmonium: a basic acousmatic web device for expanding the ordinary possibilities of the private listening through some digital mixing desk console, where two or more record sessions are available, selected from each concept albums, to be played simoultaneusly, controlling volume dynamics and channels balance; in the spirit of the Tele.S.therion concept albums, conceived as acousmatic devices.
ZT: What qualities do you look for in a new signing?
SG: I’m interested in the art of noise. I need to feel a radical personal approach to this kind of art, which often is also a key to unveil illuminating visions! From this kind of visions I proceed to design editions around ideas.
ZT: You mention you are in touch with some labels with the idea of doing a “raising album” for Tele. S. Therion. Can you explain what the plans are for this?
SG: With RMEDL I produce and release only fine art editions, often one of a kind series, “out” from the target of the discographic music business, at the edge of contemporary art collectionism. So I often work across this two worlds. So in there years I have built the opportunity to collaborate with some specialized record labels to distribute or re-print some conceptual albums previously realised with RMEDL, to diffuse in a more large scale the core of the concept albums in a more simple discographic format. The example could be my concept album “Black Industrial Grimoire – Arcanvm Vmbrarvm Regni” designed as a real phono-mediumistic set-up, based on a modulable acoustic guide during a black mirror scrying, or “Chthonian Music” (with music composing and direction by K11 and AAVV sources materials) conceived as real sound-rite for the cult of Kore (Persephone) installed and recorded during the celebration of the related Eleusinian Mysteries, and performed into ancient hypogeic ritual sites (with a multi channel sound spatialization system) originally installed, designed and concepted by myself for RMEDL in 2010 as limited deluxe edition and later as artist’s multiple (ready very soon). Now it is re-printed by Cold Spring records in a more standard jewelcase format and distributed worldwide. About Tele.S.therion I will continued to produce the original limited editions and artist’s multiples, for a more complete diffusion in the discographic scene, instead will be designed special concepts which in collaboration with other records labels will be diffused through the usual distribution channels. More frequently the original limited and one of a kind pieces produced by RMEDL will be find in various contemporary art gallery, Museum’s book shop, and private collectionists.
ZT: Do you have anything else in the pipeline at the moment? You seem to be very prolific with your releases.
SG: A lot of new releases are, and will be soon, in the RMEDL catalogue: for example some artists multiples like the unique record’s cut (vinyl in one of a kind editon), audio VHS, live streaming broadcasts, artist’s books, free downloadable web editions, concept albums, involving a lot of great authors!
ZT: Thanks for the interview and all the best with the band/label! Any final words for our readers?
SG: Thank you and have a great deep sound immersion experience into Tele.S.Therion!