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Friday, April 13, 2012

Hypsiphrone Interview

Interview with Algol S. of dark ambient projects Hypsiphrone and Somnium Sanguis Caelestis.
Hypsiphrone: Black Plagve [Malignant] | facebook
Somnium Sanguis Caelestis: Kalpamantra | facebook


Firstly, give us a brief history of your musical career.

I’ve  always had the urge and the need to create my own music. Through the years I became involved with many projects, sometimes with others but most of the time by myself. Through these projects I explored different avenues of music styles. My first serious work has been the dark ambient project Seelenblut, through which I released two albums in the beginning of the 00's . After that I began collaborating also with some other members of the Greek neofolk and industrial scene such as Decadence and Schadenfreunde, while I began working on a more harsh industrial noise project called Suicide Exhibition. Some years ago I slowly got into to the mood to do another Seelenblut release, and I began recording new material which turned out to be more neoclassical than dark ambient. Of course that didn't diminish my need to create more experimental and harsh soundscapes, quite the contrary, which led to the birth of Hypsiphrone and Somnium Sanguis Caelestis.

Your project Hypsiphone recently released its debut “And The Void Shall Pierce Their Eyes” on Malignant Records’ sublabel Black Plagve. This record is a hellish combination of black & doom metal, dark ambient and noise. What was the inspiration for this album and what attracted you to this style?

Since I listen to many diverse genres of music, I have no problem in mixing different styles in one recording, to the extent that the outcome is harmonious and really expresses what is  in my mind at the time. On the other hand, the inspiration for the album came from a very abstract but extremely intense feeling that I occasionally get in my life. I can’t quite put it to words but when I get it, I overflow with inspiration and while it lasts, everything I record not only is of a quality that surpasses anything else that I may do when I lack it, but also everything instantly falls into place, as if the recording is already completed and I am just rehearsing it. Unfortunately, as I've said I can't describe it but it can be felt by listening to the album and letting yourself be absorbed by its annihilating atmosphere.

You have another project called Somnium Sanguis Caelestis, which I guess is your more ambient project, and under this moniker you recently released an album on Kalpamantra. Tell us a bit about this project. What was the inspiration for the album “Veneno Astrum Draconis”?

SSC is actually a duo, consisting of myself and Vitriol. I create the music and she creates the concept and the visual part of the release. She has also created the artwork for the Hypsiphrone album, and she is quite talented at that. The concept behind this project is of a more mystical nature. More particularly it deals with what is known as the “knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel” in the terms that Aleister Crowley defined it. The title can be translated as “The Poison of the Dragon Star”, and it refers to the alchemical process of spiritual transmutation. The poison is slowly infused into the spirit, so that it is gradually altered and re-born into a cleansed, purified form. In its purified state it is then able to achieve communication with the Holy Guardian Angel.  A being that is of course present in many other mystical and religious traditions, under many other names.

I really like the artwork for both projects: the dark abysmal textures and the occult imagery. One thing that really impressed me is that even though “Veneno Astrum Draconis” is a digital album, it still comes with a number of pages of high quality art. Tell us about the inspiration for the artwork and how it ties in to its respective album.

We had decided from the beginning that SSC would be a mixed-media project, namely music, text and visuals.
So in this case the texts and visuals are as important as the music for the listener to get a full experience. The main concept revolves around the process of initiation; from the moment one receives the initial “calling” until the point where the soul has become one with its Deity. The tracks are therefore put in a suggestive order to indicate that course, and for each respective track there is a corresponding image and a corresponding chapter in the story accompanying the release. Each of the three (music, text and visuals) can be viewed independently, but followed in combination they will shed more light into the concept of the release. A digital release means no less to us than a physical one, and we wanted to present something of high quality regardless of the format. Also the idea of a digital release did not restrict us in terms of budget and we had the artistic freedom to expand the concept to the proportions that  we wanted, so that it could be presented in the way we had envisioned.  We found a great home in Kalpamantra, which not only is a label of excellent musical taste but also does exactly that, provide quality releases in an unconventional format.

How does the writing process differ between material for Hypsiphrone and Somnium Sanguis Caelestis?

With SSC we work as a duo and although I create the music in its entirety, there is always constant feedback between me and vitriol, which mutates each idea to the point where we find a golden means both on the sonic and the visual part of the project. On the other hand with Hypsiphrone it’s completely different. There I rely solely on the incoming esoteric ecstasy I feel and my only concern is to interpret and express it through music.

Tell us a bit about your studio. What are your favorite pieces of gear, techniques, etc?

My studio is really modest and I mostly work on my pc. Apart from that I have a B.C. Rich guitar, a Jackson Bass and two Marshall amplifiers. Also some pedals for the guitar and an old Yamaha synth, which I use only as a midi keyboard. While composing I use various techniques, sometimes I create a layer of sound and I start constructing the rest of the song on it, in a create – destroy fashion, while other times (that was the case with Hypsiphrone)  I create the track guided only by instinct and in that way I know unconsciously what sound to choose and how to use it at any given moment. When it happens I must admit that it's my favorite way of making music.

What lies in the future for you and your projects?

Well...that is something even I don't know anything about. The sure thing is that both projects are still very young and surely there are still many more things to be expressed through them. Both Jason of Malignant and Steven of Kalpamantra are great people and they have supported my work in ways that I couldn’t have imagined!  So I hope that the moment arrives when the Spirit will move me in the right direction to begin working on the next chapter!
Thanks for the interview and all my best!

Algol Shelh

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