Ihsahn–a man who needs no introduction around these parts–has certainly not been bereft of musical ideas lately. He dropped his fifth solo album (coming a mere 16 months after its predecessor) earlier this week and is already talking about its follow-up. To celebrate the release of Das Seelenbrechen, which Adrien Begrand described in our latest issue as a “surprising and strangely satisfying record,” the Norwegian mastermind told us about some of the songs he listens to “alone with headphones.” Feel free to listen along here and, while you’re at it, pick up a copy of his new record here.
Diamanda Galás’ “There Are No More Tickets To The Funeral” (from 1991’s Plague Mass)
For several years during my late teens and early 20s, I had Diamanda Galas on constant vinyl rotation. In particular the Plague Mass album. She is beyond comparison when it comes to delivering such intensity and atmosphere with the voice alone and seeing Plague Mass live made an immense impression.
Jerry Goldsmith’s “Face Of The Antichrist” (from 1978’s Damien: Omen II OST)
The dynamics and emotional impact of soundtracks have been great influences on me and much of the reason I wanted to implement orchestral sounds in my music. Jerry Goldsmith’s work with the Omen movies has been an absolute highlight and still is. Also, his use of non-orchestral sounds in this context is very interesting.
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170–Aria: Wie jammern mich doch die verkehrten Herzen” (conducted by Pieter Jan Leusink)
This is an absolutely beautiful aria performed by a male contra alto. When it comes to the genius of Bach, there is of course a vast amount to choose from. However, I’ve always found this particular piece fascinating in its apparent simplicity, but at the same time daring harmonic structure and counterpoint. Also, considering the period when it was written.
Scott Walker’s “The Bridge” (from 1968’s Scott 2)
Though I greatly enjoy his later, more experimental work, I am just as fascinated by his early solo records. This marvelous combination of lush arrangements and crooner voice, performing lyrics that are so cinematic, dark and decadent. There is always this unsettling presence underneath and this song is of course only one example of many.
Arne Nordheim’s “Rendezvous: III. Nachruf” (1956/87), as played by Oslo Camerata
Arne Nordheim was and is beyond doubt Norway’s greatest contemporary composer. His work consists of everything from electronic experiments and tape-loop installations to great orchestral works. This is an example of the latter. I accidentally came upon this on television and immediately had to find out what it was. [Listen here]
*Photo by Bjorn Tore Moen
**Order Das Seelenbrechen here.
***We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here.
Past entries include:
God Is An Astronaut
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)