P.O. Box 410209
San Francisco, CA 94141
website: NEUROT RECORDINGS WEBSITE
INTERVIEW WITH STEVE VON TILL
I must confess that for a while I ignored Neurosis because I thought they were a hardcore band. I was expecting something like Earth Crises. And while I respect such bands for having their own taste, it is not mine. But while certain elements of hardcore exist on the four tracks of this e.p., I cannot rightly call Neurosis a hardcore band. Their music is so much more; easily some of the most hybrid Metal I’ve heard. There are elements of progression, Tribal elements—a term they seem to prefer—and even some Doom elements like in the song “An Offering”, and a hodge-podge of other diverse elements. The combination of these elements seem incongruous when I describe them, but somehow they come together and form a very powerful synthesis of thinking man’s Metal that defies strict categorization in my opinion. To use political rhetoric, their music has the potential to “cross party lines and unite people of diverse musical tastes”. I was particularly taken by “An Offering”, a song which hardcore fans and stoners alike might agree upon. Finally, Neurosis combines their commitment to excellent music, a commitment that has apparently spanned a 15 year period, with this new label. It will be the sponsor of many of their creative side projects as well as some bands they would like to help. And it is all very well done and professional.
While some in the Metal world would disdain the concept of Ambient music, others would embrace it. I for one would embrace it. I find this music soothing and stimulating at times when I either don’t feel like loud music, or when the kids are asleep and I don’t need to wake them. It helps to find good ambient music made by the same sort of like-minded individuals--you know, people who listen to music for pleasure and for therapeutic purposes, not for status with the hoi polloi. That’s why I’ve enjoyed getting to know the alter ego of the band Neurosis, the ambient project called “Tribes of Neurot”. I asked Steve Von Till if it really took the six people pictured in the promo shot to play all that music and he said yes and no. It all depends. The bottom line here is that these tracks are made of layered sounds and occasionally “tribal” drums (e.g., “Markandeya”). What Tribes of Neurot is is anything they make up by layering sound upon sound. It is both emotional and spiritual. It may consist of parts by all six members, or it may be done by just one of them. There are really no limitations that have been set for this group. Therefore, the music is spontaneous and takes shape after they begin making it, not before. I believe this is the kind of music that Nietzsche would call “Dionysian”. The end result is an ambient album which I think surpasses many of the one-person ambient projects, though I would hasten to add that this music is not necessarily comparable to the darkwave projects that are often a one-person project. The best comparison I can come up with for this CD is the Passengers CD made by the guys in U2 and Brian Eno.
Vitriol joins the Neurot Recordings family of peculiar artists from the Experimental Noise/Dark Ambient category. It is a side project done by B.G. Green of Godflesh back in 1996. While Tribes of Neurot may also be categorized this way, Vitriol doesn’t sound anything like them. No attempt is made here to distinguish the tracks with a name. They are simply listed as I – VI. Track I is a dreamy, sweet number while number II sounds like something from a Roger Corman B movie. Track III has some deeply echoed dialogue undergirded with some musical effects. Similar things can be said for the rest of this CD. Perhaps this isn’t rightly called “music” in the normal sense, but it is completely postmodern. This is reinforced by the information written by Green in the promo literature. He describes it as the musical outpouring of his time alone meditating on philosophy, etc. The idea for you newcomers is to play this CD at a moderate level in a dark room and let your thoughts drift. In a word, it’s all about “atmosphere”. Fans of projects like Necrophorous and Blackhouse will enjoy these.
It would be difficult to find all the right adjectives to describe this music but I’ll try. First off, it is quiet. In my recent interview Steve mentioned writing these songs while the wife and kids were asleep. That is obvious in the quiet simplicity of this music. Nevertheless, it isn’t so simple as it may first appear. The music is not a collection of 3 or 4 chord songs, but guitar textures not unlike the compositional style of Neurosis songs or Tribes of Neurot songs, only here the music is stripped down to guitar and an occasional other instrument like a violin, cello, and/or piano. The lyrics are deeply personal and again spiritual. “We All Fall” is a particularly moving tune.
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