Metavari’s Video for the Re-Imagined “Kings Die Like Other Men (Rediscovery)” is a Subversion of Heroic Myth of the Wealthy and Powerful

Metavari, photo courtesy the artist

Nate Utesch is a musician/composer and visual artist known for his albums covers for Phoebe Bridgers and Weezer. With his long-running electronic/post-rock project Metavari he recently reimagined the project’s 2009 debut full length album Be One of Us and Hear No Noise as Soft Continuum (due out June 10, 2022 via Joyful Noise Recordings) dedicated to the life and memory of founding member and bassist Ty Brinnerman (1981-2020). The single “Kings Die Like Other Men (Rediscovery)” was recently released with a music video depicting medieval knights in battle like something out of an updated John Boorman film. Unlike the usual historical drama this movie ends abruptly with the death of the leader and with a slight rewind back to the action. This version of the song, the opening track of the 2009 album, is all electronic and moody, giving an air of triumph cut short with an outro of melancholic acceptance like the end credits of Excalibur but with a soundtrack like something right out of the library music tradition—surreal and cut out of immediate and obvious cultural references crafted to be more universal in appeal long term. After all kings do die like other men and most often in a less than exalted and glorious a fashion than culture and myth would like to convey for posterity. And rather than some lengthy work extolling the fabricated virtues of the nobility this song is about a third as long as the original. Watch the video for “Kings Die Like Other Men (Rediscovery)” on YouTube and follow Metavari at the links provided.

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Lustmord & Karin Park Chart a Path Through the Dark Waters Ahead to a Mysterious Future With ALTER

Lustmord & Karin Park, photo by Edgar Bachel

Lustmord is perhaps best known for his extensive and varied career in crafting fascinating and evocative soundscapes and his work in and with SPK, Current 93, Jarboe, Clock DVA and Melvins. So it should come as no surprise that his collaborative album with Karin Park, vocalist and member of Swedish rock band ÅRABROT, would yield something different and a synthesis of his own creatives strengths and hers. ALTER (out now on Pelagic Records) is not simply clever wordplay suggestive of a place of spiritual practice and the act of transforming an object or identity. It would be tempting to compare this record to something you might hear from Dead Can Dance because of the emotional resonance and invoking the mystical by tapping into ancient and devotional musical ideas. But there is something deeply dark about the songs of ALTER that feel like you’re witnessing the decay and collapse of modern civilization in mythical terms, an end of the world we know and the emergence of the next as manifested in a film by John Boorman. The sound design on every song has that haze of deep mystery that hung at the edges of most of Boorman’s films with drones and processed white noise flowing in the background. Park provides the distinct emotional connection with her voice like a mournful incantation beseeching strength and wisdom from beyond time.

Lustmord has created a sense of space like a cavernous cathedral but one whose shifting sounds and textures is more like a tunnel down which Park travels on a journey in the near dark. The album would feel claustrophobic if the sounds weren’t also so expansive and suggestive of the wide open. Yet it also hints at a way of shielding oneself from a coarsened and perilous world until such a time as it might be safe to re-emerge and rebuild, to establish new myths for a better future while witnessing those that have served as the framework for the modern iteration of human culture to wither away and dissolve. Overall it’s reminiscent in a way of many of those Utopian science fiction films and works of the 1970s and 1980s like Logan’s Run, Zardoz (as hinted at earlier with the Boorman reference), J.G. Ballard’s most unusual novels and Gene Wolfe’s Urth of the New Sun series. All depict a future we never could have predicted and this album sounds like the music of the passage to that unprecedented future during a time of crises beyond the ability of our current social organizations and belief systems to weather intact. A dark, deep yet ultimately rewarding album of completely unconventional and enigmatic beauty that seeps into your consciousness and lingers long afterward. Listen to/download ALTER on Bandcamp and watch the video for “Song of Sol” on YouTube.