VLADIMÍR HIRSCH interview for HEATHEN HARVEST (selection)
by Clavdia Admiron, 2012

Czech sound alchemist, Vladimír Hirsch, has been composing and experimenting with modern classical, dark ambient, and industrial music for over two decades. By using both electro-acoustic and digital techniques he is able to create fascinating scapes of aural expression. From the sacred union of these styles and their own intricate facets and dimensions emerges what Vladimír Hirsch calls INTEGRATED MUSIC, his living essence manifested.

HH: Your art emanates some truly horrific sounds; wherein seems to dwell something otherworldly. Do you believe it‟s possible your art evokes the presence of something otherworldly?

VH: I am glad you have that feeling. From my point of view, it is natural to long for “other worlds” – which means for me longing for the cognition of our real matrix. I admit – I am aware of their presence intensely in my mind, being at the same time absorbed by a mordant, overwhelming feeling of impossibility to genuinely reach them. I try to somehow transform our physical reality. That trial cannot be under way without a fight and pain, whether inner, silent, latent or blatant and violent. So, I attempt to realize that struggle in music with the belief that the music is able to be an authentic description and expression of that transubstantial act. This might be the reason why some listeners get a physical impact or accented “physical” sense from my music despite its spiritual themes. This confrontational style sounds probably maddening, but when I find myself in that transient “hyper state” while creating music, I don´t feel any horror or joy, any positive or negative connotations, only some kind of awakening. Therefore, I am very often surprised by some people’s descriptions of my music as bombastic, I don’t consider them that way, I feel it as the epitome of the natural cognitive process.

HH: What kind of effect would you like for your art to have on those who listen with intent?

VH: Excellent question and an important one. Thank you. I have never received it. I would like to know myself what they imagine! I would like them to escape from the limitations of rationality, which seems to pervade everything, into another dimension. Music is able to explore and reveal a deeper underlying reality in contrast to the phenomenological world. Ideally, the audience would discover and open that space. But I must say, sometimes I am surprised by some reviewers descriptions. For example, my music has been referred to as devilish, dark and disturbing. However, for me it is the complete opposite, because the intent is a spiritual purgatory and the impact might feel like as an intense violent flooding. On the other hand, music is mightier than its creator, saying more than is even originally intended. It is the miracle of art. Simply, I would like them to open their subconsciousness.

HH: At times ominous and nightmarish and at others solemn and beautiful; are these reflections two faces of the same phenomenon? Or do you view them as observations of two different currents of light (and dark?)

VH: A permanent presence of inner feud is a basic attribute of our existence. This struggle seems to be something important. I am captured and fascinated by it and it serves as my main creative force. Therefore the mode of my musical expression often has a confrontational nature about it. Many of my works are abrasive and physical while somehow being solemn and contemplative simultaneously. For me, they make sense together because they arise from the same source, just like spirit and matter living together, fighting each other, but cannot be separated in our human world. There is something that reconciles both worlds, I feel music is that path which leads closer to that point. It is impossible to see light – thus also to call it – without simultaneous existence of darkness. Its co-existence does not inevitably mean anything contradictory, if we had not constructed so many artificial antagonisms during our history. The dual nature of reality only appears to be dichotomous, when it is really of the same whole. We are able to create opposing attributes that are absolutely not in conflict. Sometimes we try to find our leading thread inside the labyrinth, sometimes we try to get rid of it by conscious or unconscious self-lobotomy, feeling unbearable discomfort from it. There is no easy escape from our oppositional-categorization prison we made paradoxically for ourselves.

HH: While much of your music does not even contain lyrics, your art still remains immensely profound; what do you feel is the reason for this?

VH: Usually I create music thematically, which represents for me some inner epic construction. Musical language is more abstract, its potential contains larger means of expression than words. There is also the danger that lyrics can mislead and overshadow the musical intent. That is why I use vocals and voices in my solo works only as a musical instrument. In rare cases I also use some lyrics, but allow them mostly to be submerged and purposely unclear. However, in my other projects, predominantly Skrol, the music has a more traditional song form and lyrics are more appropriate.

HH: What do you feel is lacking from the majority of contemporary “art”, that it is without the sense of the profound?

VH: Contemporary art bothers me the most by its formalism, the silent assent to loss of content, fear of authenticity, contempt for emotions, rejection of serious topics, dilettantism and an epidemic of some sort of primary manipulative intentions of creators. There is some unwritten agreement in the art of today, that it is not necessarily substantial to say anything, actually, the message – and especially a more profound one – should be avoided like an infectious illness or rejected with derision. Instead, it flows in the stream of purposive slickness and calculation of apprehension for targeted social or taste fashioned groups of people. I consider it as one of the logical results of gradual despiritualization.

HH: Your music is not only aural, but also very visual. What artists/artworks have inspired your compositions?

VH: I could write a very large paragraph of influences and huge list of artists, but I will mention the names of those that really tempted me to work similarly. From music, I have always been attracted by the spiritual strength in the aching reality of Miloslav Kabeláč, close encounters of space and detail of György Ligeti, mathematical order in chaos of Iannis Xenakis, as well as pure and sharp bone-penetrating existentialism of Swans, the ability to move in microspace of Giacinto Scelsi or animate industrialism of SPK. In other art that inspired in some way my artistic philosophy or my general visions, I can mention the metaphysical transformation of pain in Mikuláš Medek’s paintings, Graham Greene’s salvation of the damned or Jorge Luis Borges’s authentic imaginary worlds in writing.

HH: What role (if any) does philosophy play in your artistic expression? Spirituality?

VH: Of course I work with some philosophical principles, both consciously and mostly unconsciously, which result in a natural flow of expression. Spiritual insight is definitely my main inspiration in music.

HH: Your live shows have been referred to as frightening and unsettling by some; is this the desired effect you have for your audience, or do you think this is merely a reflection of society’s inability to deal with such deep and thought-provoking emotions you express?

VH: The second one, without doubts. I hope I make music as an authentic scan of my mind, expressing inner fights, doubts, dreams, nightmares, rages, etc., without any intent to mindlessly provoke. Contemporary society is pathologically cultivating general blindness, being scared more from the loss of illusions and the loss of comfort, than from its own decline and fall. It is definitely losing its ability to solve problems, producing more and more sophisticated toys that generally help in invocating ignorance of reality. Therefore fear of that kind of music and inability to be confronted is rampant. Better to blame artists for cynicism, aggressiveness or malicious intent, while at the same time speaking cheaply about beauty and positivity, rather than seeing and facing all those things in the real world. I want listeners to awake from that facade. If we leave personal taste out of consideration, I understand somebody cannot deal with those feelings, which can be reflected in their own apprehensions and doubts. As such, I am scared more from optimism than despair.

HH: „Graue Passion‟ album stands out for me as one of your most powerful pieces of work. It is in my opinion true musical mastery. As I understand, it took several years to get its proper release. When listening to it today do you feel it is complete or do you wish to re-work it someday?

VH: It was reworked several times, as I was not satisfied with the result for more than 7 years. Really strange, after those fully prepared conceptual trials, the project remained in my head like some nightmare. Paradoxically, “Graue Passion” is the result of one night’s revision, made spontaneously after a sudden, accidental impulse.

HH: In 2001 you performed some exclusive concerts in the U.S. How was this experience for you, and do you have any plans or desire to return to the U.S. in the near future?

VH: It was interesting in many ways, because of the many absolutely opposite feelings I received from the experience, from disgust to astonishing amazement that cannot be surpassed. Playing in the States cannot be so easily defined, as it really depended on the venue and state. Sometimes, I felt that the audience seemed standoffish, as if they have already heard it all before. However, I have never forgotten the show in Detroit, in the center of a totally dead district, where I had the same feelings I had reading Ray Bradbury´s “The Martian Chronicles”, where all inhabitants of some town died out and the main character is walking there in dry wind, that moves all artificially looking martian corpses, like fallen leaves down streets, expressing some definitive emptiness. With still five minutes before the show, there was not any person inside the hall, but during one short moment, it became full of people that disappeared after the show as quickly as they appeared. I went out and in the street only the sound of garbage was heard rolling in the wind. Surreal, unreal, incredible. Btw, it was one of the best shows I have ever had. The tour, was called “Fire Martyrs Tour”, with 16 concerts in 16 states in three weeks and over 6000 miles on the road. Doubtless, I would like to return back again, but with the possibility to choose places of performances.

HH: Your newest work entitled “MISSA ARMATA. INVOCATIONES “was released in November 2012; could you tell us about it?

VH: It is actually a new release of old stuff which has been reworked. “Missa Armata” is the original version of Mass. With the new version, I returned back to the first original, because of its strictness, considering it more authentic. “Invocations” is a reworked version conceived now as musical prayers. Both compositions share a common redemptive theme. Missa Armata is more noise-industrial oriented, while Invocationes compliments it with ritual dark-ambient.

HH: Being a modern composer do you feel your music is understood and/or appreciated by people, or do you feel it is largely goes over the heads of most people?

VH: In general, I think that overwhelming majority of people will switch off their media player after few seconds of listening, so, music is “going over their heads”, as you said, but without a chance to really get in. The standard reaction is “I am sorry, I cannot undergo it”. I realize that the inevitable fate of this kind of music is to stay on the margin of society. It is natural and I am reconciled with this fact. Once, some Czech reviewer wrote – probably from his own experience – that my music is either loved or hated, with always sophisticated reasons of respondents for one or the other – it never has an indifferent reaction.

HH: When listening to your music, one can get the sense that it involves a particular transcendence from out of the pits of political, social, and religious dogmas, perhaps even one‟s own personal hell into a more enlightened and spiritual mature being. Are these the sort of themes you explore within your music?

VH: Absolutely! You described it exactly in very enlightened way by your own question. I could not say it better, perfect definition.

HH: You have been involved with other projects such as Skrol, Luminar Ax, and Aghiatrias at different points throughout your career. Do you prefer working in a collaborative environment with other creative individuals, or do you find greater fulfillment from working solo?

VH: My investment in conjoint projects was always at the maximum and the overwhelming majority of them were based on my solo works. All those cooperations were usually in the beginning inspiring and a connection of people and their creative effort, constituting some interesting and original potential, but I can say without any pretension, that I have preferred working independently for many years, because I can freely realize my intentions, without any external intervention. On the other hand, I still enjoy performing on stage with a conjoint project much more than solo concerts. The connection between people on the stage is something unique, when you are metaphorically making some part of the building rise to a transcending space with another person(s).

HH: In this day in age, it is increasingly more difficult to find an inspired work of art to shake us from this somnambulist state of being, your work being an obvious exception to this monotony. What have you found to be inspiring enough to share with world? What is it you are trying to express through your music?

VH: As you know, from what I have already mentioned, there are not too many things that I consider inspiring in contemporary art, or maybe I have not come across them yet. Besides the artists I have already mentioned, I have drawn inspiration from some films – for example, the Czech director František Vláčil from the 60s and Tarkovsky, as they deal with a deep impact of spiritual questions inside an individual with amazing mastery of expression, poetic language, atmosphere and aesthetics. I also love Tarkovsky’s symbolism. In my works, I have specifically been inspired for instance by Teologia Spiritualis Mystica, which is a description of the contemplative process for the purpose of higher cognition. This is used in the album Contemplatio Per Nexus, attempting to describe all steps of that process, which is apparent by the name of particular tracks. There is also somehow strange inspiration in Symphony No.4 (Graue Passion), from the lack of description the long period between the death and entombment of Christ. Originally I was inspired by Dostoevsky’s description of the painting of Hans Holbein, “Graue Passion.” He writes that it alone can shake the Christian faith in the Resurrection, because of the strong mortal portrayal of Christ’s dead body. Of course there are also other inspiring artworks for my work, but it would be too much information.

HH: Do you consider yourself a religious person?

VH: Yes, I do, but I am not fully in accordance with institutional structures of religion. I consider spirituality as something strictly personal. I don’t like to speak about it as it can be heard in my music. I think some my albums apparently give it away, e.g. “Graue Passion”, “Exorcisms” or “Contemplatio Per Nexus”, above mentioned “Missa armata” or “Invocationes”. Sometimes, I have to laugh reading some reviews, describing my stuff as diabolic or covertly devilish. This is exactly what I am talking about – superficial understanding of music as some assemblage of associated symbols with predetermined meaning and their inclusion into closed boxes with – once and for all – assigned categorization.

HH: On your album „Exorcisms‟, the titles in Latin combined with the haunting aural soundscapes of the music, causes me to envision a purging. Much like the church will exorcise a demon, an exorcism of this kind casts out the church from one‟s self. Would this be an accurate interpretation of this piece?

VH: Yes, exorcism is in general considered the religious practice of evicting malevolent spiritual entities from a person, but the name means also a prayer, used for the same purpose. This is the case in my album. I used there also some real names of those prayers, e.g. “Ecce Crux” (Behold the Cross) or “Averte! (Turn Away!) “

HH: With that, I’d like to thank you for this candid interview, Vladimír. You can leave us with your choice of words.

VH: Many thanks for the thoughtful questions, Clavdía. Music composition whether in a simple or sophisticated form, must exhibit a moment when all its springs merge into one powerful current that lifts Man above his being – an ecstatic eruption transporting us above ourselves. Solely this moment gives meaning to music and justifies its existence.

Clavdía Admiron / Heathen Harvest

Ars Benevola Mater/Integrated Music Records, 2010

While in "Underlying Scapes" - the revised form of the album "De Regionibus Liminis"from 2003 - where the author continues his industrial-minimalist expressionist exploration and fascination with the symbolic sound codes of ambient music, Markéta operates on a wider area- an epic concept and visual-musical plane experiment. The album, consisting of more than forty short pieces, was originally a soundtrack created for the theater, inspired by the medieval story of  Vladislav Vančura, directed by Paul Ondruch.

In the context of the artwork, Hirsch approaches the topic with a strong rigor and perfectionism, mingled with  ice-apocalyptic industrial ambience, with symphonic romanticism pulses and atonality. The bizarre lyricism, neuralgia and restlessness (in some Mephistophelian manifestation), evokes the tragedy which echoes Liszt, Ligeti and Varese (funeral themes)

RUMORE magazine

Conferrence of industrial music & UNDERLYING SCAPES audiovisual performance
Ivrea, Italy, September 25, 2010

Industrial music praised by critic Bruno Cossano

"A veritable orgy of musical sounds flooded the industrial matrix of the room. A stark and grim backdrop. A synthesizer that played an accompanying rhythm against a base tape. We felt the echoes of the experiments of Stockhausen, chamber music for sirens of Edgar Varese. " With these words, enthusiastic Bruno Cossano, journalist and musician, commented on the audiovisual performance "Underlying Scapes" by Vladimir Hirsch, Czech contemporary musician. The concert was held last weekend at the Serra Center after the Slavic musician had participated in a seminar in the afternoon on the birth and development of industrial music from the 80s to the present day, held at the Museum of Hadrian Carale Accattino.The meeting was attended by the record producer Mauro Casagrande (Italian (label Ars benevola Mater), art critic Lorena Giuranna, who presented excerpts from Bruno's latest cd "Saffo's Pleasures."

During the meeting, we were also made to listen to snippets of noise music of from projects that have marked the history of industrial sound, such as SPK, Esplendor, Geometric, and Einsturzende Neubauten.

After the seminar, the meeting was moved to Serra, where the Czech artist created for the audience a strong emotional involvement with his audiovisual performance, supported by the flexibility of the extraction and Marianna O, who created the montage film to Hirsch's composition which supports the composer´s strong colors of the raw sounds, metallic-based electrical shock, shortness of breath and terrified screams, rumbles in the tunnel, which composed the whole chilling fresco of the industrial metropolis.

Bruno Cossano

DVD, Integrated Music Records, 2009

If we want to understand the deep cut that Hirsch performed in the transformed video version of the album, produced infruitful collaboration with Marianna Auster (Ostrovskaya), we must go back in time ten years ago. The original, created in 1999, and subsequently debuted by Aghiatrias as "Field Mass" (2000), we to drive returns in the form of an analytical view original design of the "Field" mass (I don't get this sentence at all, maybe better to delete it). The album is more impulsive and burning both in the  symphonized arrangement and in the industrial structures, which transforms into material suited for aesthetic continuity with imaginative film editing.

Cryptosynaxis portrays strictly black and white, in worrying, rhythmic alternating sequences - it consists of medieval, mysterious magic topics mixed throughout  with the industrial world, to the symbols of war and destruction that accompanies the past century - and a general ethical and spiritual decay. The usage of dance invocation (Butoh in Tai Matsu Byakko-Sha) in the composition of Kyrios is not random, it exists in another context as a constant call for "holy men" - a fighter who would emerge, willing to stoically face this fact. The film installation pays homage to Expressionists such as; Bergman, Murnau, Ishii, Tsukamoto or Lynch.

CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2009

From an early age, Vladimir already gave proof of his natural inclination towards the magical sound of the piano and a further development of a more austere body of music alongside a relentless streak of production that has an endless series of albums, side-projects (Aghiatrias / Skrol / Zygote / Luminar Ax / Tiria / Der Marabu) , soundtracks and compilations. Acclaimed avant-garde composer Vladimir Hirsch's sound is confrontational as he combines both pure neo-classicism and post-industrial sound, summarizing his creations in a hybrid nature as, "Integrated Music", a balanced mix between sound and technology. Vladimir Hirsch's work is released by the record label, Ars Benevola Mater. This album revisits an older work, "Descent From The Cross" composed of eight tracks with convulsive breathing and benighted by a constant sense of "alarm" that runs throughout the score, as in the quick opening from "Da Riss der Vorhang Entzwei "or the next "Die Nacht Unter dem Kreuz", a tense dark ambient soundtrack of a scene that anticipates the crime itself. "Die Kreuzabnahme" opts for a harpsichord-sculpture in symphonic samples with mechanical interventions in percussive orchestral pathos and enormous quantities of darkness. "Der Weg Vom Golgotha" glides almost silently from a sibilant initial stretch to an advancing of the minutaggio interrupted by occasional squeals and the sudden percussive diamond voice of arcane Martina Sanollova gravitating around a gloomy cloud built on icy industrial alchemy in "Voll Blut Und Wunden". The dark-ambient gloomy melodies and charming coolness of executive "Die Grablegung," I would call a perfect synonym for" anxiety" or "chilling," an exhausting state of tension orchestrated on scanned sections on obsessive keys, noisy waves and distant vocals. "Apotheose" unfolds harpsichord disturbances in growing industrial fluctuations, sudden descents into the abyss followed by that quick lift in anticipation of the turbulent surface. The percussive final track , "Epilog" is a harpsichord symphony composed by a solemn agreement that ends the track nobly. The album ensures a high coefficient of emotions for those listeners that are absolutely rigorous and prone to drama. A balanced duality between industrial and art-directed classical orchestra by a dark-minded expert in knowing how to maintain a high level of attention to subduing the unconscious. Heard at full volume on a stormy night "Graue Passion" will give you the opportunity to verify how much control you have over the central nervous system. Happy listening.

Massimo Colombo D-Side reviews

I can say that new version of the author's 4th symphony is more lucidly expressed than original composition although does not touch with less overwhelming force. As though, it evokes in more crude and simultaneously more inward impression the blood of Golgotha, unearthly herniation of Light. This work is at all points organized and structuralized, it “hisses” by Cosmos and redemptions of crucified Word agony. For the dynamism and dramaturgy of sound radiance was very beneficial sensitive and empathetic work of soundmaster Vojtěch Haňka, that lightened the opus not only in its multilayered articulation, but also is the radiation of its mystical pulp. I recommend to everybody listen to this work on bended knees, personally, I cannot be sufficiently cloyed with transcendent offensive of that prayer, full of steep ontologic abysses and eschatological monumentality. I am astonished and scorched. Thanks. Opus magnum. Amen.

Martin Jarolín

Interview with Vladimír Hirsch by Marc Urselli

Classical influences, choirs and dark industrialism are the core of Vladimir's music. Bombastic here and intimist there, it never sounds relaxed. Every work represents a step of the human race's decay and the music is its soundtrack. Melodies have counterpart dissonances which sometimes sound linked to contemporary music more than to industrial music. For this reason Vladimir is a peculiar musician in the industrial scene, because he's more than that and "The Assent to Paradoxon" is the perfect way to explore his vision, as it gathers seven CDs (mind you that "Nonterra - integrated suite, op.73" is exclusive to this release) of which six have been previously released by Ars Benevola Mater. Even if one might say that Vladimir's music is based on the above described elements, each album has its differences. Some examples? "Exorcisms" with its strings decrescendo or quasi ambient moments (check the first part of "Ufarsin") alternated with horns, industrial noises and drums crescendo will make you feel dizzy; while "Contemplation per nexus op.77" with its two long suites based on dissonance and spoken word, will communicate the anxiety of the transformation process of the human mind during a mystical contemplation. Let's try to understand a bit more about Vladimir's music through this chat I had with him. Everything started from a question I asked him about his latest CD "Graue Passion" which I was reviewing... After a while, I decided to turn it into a full interview. Here it is...

Chain D.L.K.: I've a question for you concerning "Graue passion": is it correct to say that "Graue passion" is a mix of a live performance of the Symphony number 4 with studio additions? I was comparing the two cds for reviewing "Graue passion." The newest version sounds more obsessive and dark, sound-wise.
Vladimir Hirsch: Yes, that's true. It has also been remastered. And what is substantial - it is another compositional version, another work with the same themes.

Chain D.L.K.: Why did you decide to rework it?
Vladimir Hirsch: The work is dedicated to the memory of my father. I have worked on Symphony no.4 from 2001, that is the year of his death, and have made 6 versions. I was not satisfied with any of them and I have always thought about reworking it. Every attempt I did was unsuccessful. Graue Passion is the result of a momentary inspiration and it is the first version with which I am really satisfied.

Chain D.L.K.: Wow. it has been almost an obsession!
Vladimir Hirsch: Yes, for 8 years.

Chain D.L.K.: Might I ask what has been your father's history?
Vladimir Hirsch: He was imprisoned by the Communist regime here.

Chain D.L.K.: Did he die while he was in prison?
Vladimir Hirsch: No, fortunately not, but after his release was pursued until the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc. He died in 2001 and then I decided to honor him with a symphony. It represents some kind of hope born from suffering.

Chain D.L.K.: How much has your music been influenced by the Czech social situation of the past?
Vladimir Hirsch: I think that all my early works have been influenced very much by it. Symphony no.4 is the exception because it is not part of my early work.

Chain D.L.K.: What were the main emotions you wanted to convey in your first works? What were your feelings during the Communist regime?
Vladimir Hirsch: The main moments of inspiration involved some need to express my individual defense of free thinking against the Totalitarian system. Of course, that was not the only inspiration of all of my works during that time.

Chain D.L.K.: Why did you decide to file your works as operas?
Vladimir Hirsch: Because I feel close to classical music roots, so I have composed my works that way since I was a teenager. There was also a very long period during which I experimented with rock and jazz.

Chain D.L.K.: Could we say that your music is classical music for the modern age?
Vladimir Hirsch: Yes, I would like some of my main projects to be interpreted that way.

Chain D.L.K.: While listening to your music I noticed that a lot of times there's a circular geometry of sounds that is broken by clanging sounds. Is there a precise scheme your work is based upon?
Vladimir Hirsch: It is not always precise, but I use some rules in intervals, rhythm, density of sound and tonal principles - maybe a little similar to serial techniques. There's an important relation between the density of sound in vertical axe and tonal and rhythmic structure in horizontal line structure

Chain D.L.K.: Does "Sense geometry" refer to this way of working?
Vladimir Hirsch: It represents an attempt to apply musical geometry or musical symbolism of geometry in my works.

Chain D.L.K.: In what way?
Vladimir Hirsch: That album was inspired by the theory of fractals, by searching for symmetry of the asymmetrical. It is a sort of musical symbolism of that, expressed by relatively simple patterns of intervals, rhythms and melody and their relative motion.

Chain D.L.K.: So we can say that on your music the mathematics of sound has a basic relevance because music is mathematics applied to sound, right?
Vladimir Hirsch: It can be understood that way, the idea is expressed by some sort of musical mathematic formula and its form, including organization of sound.

Chain D.L.K.: How much has your concept of music changed from your early days when you played the organ and what have been the main steps in that process?
Vladimir Hirsch: It was a long way, some kind of spiral. I begun with classical music and stepwise have come back, but arriving at another level and during the path, the rock and jazz influences left me. Now I like experimenting, I don't like to make music with established stereotypes.

Chain D.L.K.: What about you live activity? How do you conceive it?
Vladimir Hirsch: Usually I do few shows a year (next will be the next Saturday at an industrial festival). I have problems with shows, because only the industrial milieu is able to accept this kind of music, the classical don't. Therefore I use industrial cultural spaces, however (for example this week) I know that my music does not quite fit in with that sort of contemporary post-industrial situation.

Chain D.L.K.: If you should have to describe your live action what would you say?
Vladimir Hirsch: I use synchronized video projection, that would be some application of visual synaesthetics. My live actions are not performances, they are only about music. I like to be on stage in the dark. I want the people to be focused on musical contents without the personification with the subject who's playing it. The same goes for the visuals.

Chain D.L.K.: "Underlying Scapes" is your newest album. What is its concept?
Vladimir Hirsch: Even if it is my newest, that album is from 2003. It has just been remastered and released under a different name. It could be seen as a sort of "journey" into subconsciousness, into some regions of subliminal perception and understanding. Confrontation between the surreal and real world. Whether or not it works depends on the listener...

Chain D.L.K.: You lived under a Totalitarian regime. How's your vision of the world of today?
Vladimir Hirsch: I am not a friend of conspiracy theories, but I consider contemporary "democratic" worlds only as some kind of new Totalitarian system. They are more sophisticated, they use better manipulative methods and replenish basic desires and instincts but with the same aim of the previous regimes.

Chain D.L.K.: In your opinion, why aren't people rioting?
Vladimir Hirsch: As I said - they are replenishing the basic needs and their brains are washed constantly by a sophisticated faked satisfaction. This is possible only if you have suggestible people and there's a constant tuning of the system. The power of multimedia is immense. If people have been educated in that way since childhood without any counterpoint, they can be easily manipulated. One of the best examples are internet discussions - they replenish a subject having the feeling of being free. After that sort of relaxation, they relieve the tensions and don't have the urge to go out and scream their opinions.

Chain D.L.K.: Do you think is there a way to shake the masses?
Vladimir Hirsch: I am very pessimistic - some catastrophe or real miracle, nothing else, but I am not sure if that would even work... The main reason of the descent of "western" civilization is anthropocentrism. It leads to de-spiritualization and destruction of values that transcend the human being.

Marc Urselli (Chain D.L.K.)

VLADIMÍR HIRSCH / SYMPHONY No.4 "The Descent From The Cross"
CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2008

The music of Czech composer Vladimír Hirsch seems like the work of a real original, a maverick who has forged an aesthetic that doesn't sound quite like anything else. A medical doctor for nearly 20 years, he turned to music as a full-time career around the turn of the millennium. While he sees himself very much a part of the Western classical tradition — he cites Dvorák, Janácek, Stravinsky, Ligeti, and Scelsi as influences — and he has a strong background in alternative rock, Hirsch's relentlessly dark, apocalyptic music is more likely to sound at home as an installation in an abandoned industrial park than in a concert hall or pop concert. He uses live performers — in his Fourth Symphony, an orchestra, chorus, and soloist — but electronics also play a major role. The symphony, subtitled "Descent from the Cross," refers to a rawly realistic painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, and to Dostoyevsky's reflections on it in The Idiot. The symphony's six movements, which depict the time between Christ's death and entombment, assault the listener with a dense barrage of ostinatos, drones, industrial noise, and unpredictable eruptions, and are immensely evocative and truly scary; this is not the kind of thing most people would want to listen to alone in the dark. The music has a power that's hard to explain but that's undeniably compelling. Fans of new work that stretches boundaries and that has a visceral punch are likely to be intrigued or even deeply moved by Hirsch's ominous, tempestuous sound worlds.

ALL MUSIC reviews
Stephen Eddins

The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, in his text ‘The Republic’ viewed the Arts as potentially dangerous forces and put forward the theory that they should therefore be censored in order to protect the citizens. He believed that as the Arts were capable of eliciting strong emotional responses they were also powerful shapers of character for good or for ill. It was his conviction that the content and scope of the Arts be strictly controlled with the harshest censorship being reserved for painting and music because of their inherent power educate, stir and appeal to the soul. Plato’s theories have long been seized on by Dictatorships; control the arts and you hold control over the masses. The Artist, you see, is a potentially prophetic and visionary beast capable of turning divine inspiration into enlightened works that surpass everyday existence and by default, or endeavour, exposing truths or ideas that could destabilise the rule of the elite or corrupt society. That the collation of and composition of the Bible appears to have been shaped along Platonist ideals should probably come as no surprise given the controlling and repressive nature of the early Christian Church and through the subsequent centuries. Certainly, after the murder, jealousy, wrath, rages, genocide and plagues of the Old Testament, the New Testament is an exercise in presenting the story of Jesus Christ in a sanitised and carefully stage managed manner conveniently omitting gospels that could be considered contradictory and not dwelling on negative aspects of the Christ story. The result? An allegorical story that has inspired the Arts into raptures of adulation, religious piety and devotion! Not until later centuries have few peered through the gaps and chinks in the story and looked behind the sanitised veneer to produce polemic art that explores the darker aspects of the New Testament and Jesus’ life, especially that central act of the Christian faith, the Crucifixion. Had Plato been alive today I suspect that he would have had Vladimir Hirsch firmly in his sights for ‘Symphony No. 4: Descent From The Cross’ is most definitely a work of Divine Inspiration.

Inspired by Dostoevsky’s interpretation of Hans Holbein’s painting of the same name, ‘Descent from the Cross’ is an ambitious undertaking that explores the Christian faith in the Resurrection and shines a bright light on the darker aspects of this biblical event. Holbein’s painting portrays the body of Christ in a striking and disconcerting manner as exactly that,… a dead body, rendered lifeless through the barbaric act of crucifixion. Vladimir Hirsch has considered the possible reality of the aftermath and built a truly magnificent musical artifice to encapsulate the events between the death of Christ and the laying into the grave. There really is only one way that the true horror of the aftermath of such a bloodstained and murderous episode can be recast in music and the industrial idiom lends itself admirably to the task, especially when expertly melded into an avant-garde classical form. Vladimir Hirsch manages to achieve this feat in seven segments that tell a story

‘Part I: After Expiry’ is an exercise in abject darkness and despair. Ancient voices, industrial atmospheres, metallic hits and crushing percussive blows split the rank air asunder depicting a nightmare vision of a barbaric and excruciating death on the cross. Voices sussurate and coalesce with pitch-black atmospheres and the subterranean rumble of timpani that exquisitely convey true horror in minute detail. This is violent imagery more akin to ‘The Passion of the Christ’ and it’s gore laden vision of the crucifixion.’ ‘Part II: Night Under The Cross’ is constructed from the darkest ambient riveted together with cavernously reverberating percussive strikes, full-on orchestral hits and bursts of white noise rising like steam from some hellish pit. The atmosphere here is cloying and claustrophobic with extra tension delivered by an apocalyptic chorale vomiting dark laments into the night air: the soundtrack to a blackened vigil. You can almost see the swirling maelstrom of storm clouds and taste the bitter heat of the desert lands.

As if slicing seconds from the archaea, the periodic sounding of discordant bells in the intro to ‘Part III: The Descent’ couples with heavenly voices to deliver a welcome lull in the violent auditory assault. The peace is short-lived, however, soon to be ruptured by strident metallic percussion that segues neatly into a refrain of bass heavy staccato strings and brass. Sepulchral voices swirl, ebb and flow on the tide of dark orchestrations like dust on a dry wind. The intensity builds with the strings and brass coupling in a martial dual of madness driven by the unrelenting and abrasive percussion. ‘Part IV: The Pass From Golgotha’ begins with funereal drumming that suggests of a cortege on the move. Slow. Subdued. Reflective. Resilient. The air is solemn and has a fragrance of martial power.

‘Part V: Entombment’ is a final rite of passage towards the last place of resting. Somnolent, majestic and brooding! Sacred voices emanate that speak of ceremony from another time. This is a powerful track that captures the process and ritual of interment perfectly. ‘Part VI: Apotheosis’ continues the thematic of earlier tracks but scales back on the frenzy to deliver a more subdued yet equally striking passage. The final track, ‘Part VII: Marc VI/16’ concludes the journey that Hirsch set out to explore bringing the listener down with a reflective and sombre interlude that is imbued with shades of light and dark and hope and despair. Tinged with a melancholic hue this provides the perfect outro to the seven segments and thus completing the hypothetical journey of Christ from cross to grave.

That Vladimir Hirsch has pulled off a masterstroke with Symphony #4 bordering on genius is without question. That he might also be one the most important avant-garde composers alive today is also a distinct possibility. I would venture there is a mind at work here that is bordering on genius such is the complexity, modernity and scale that Hirsch has delivered with Symphony #4 that few others in the underground scene could hold a candle up to his achievements. This is a simply stunning work that should appeal to anyone with an appreciation for dark music in general and a bent for the neoclassical avant-garde. This is not a release to be dipped into lightly but to be savoured, at leisure, in a darkened space where you can fully immerse yourself and let your imagination provide the film for this epic soundtrack. Breathtaking, moving and darkly divine!

Adam X, Heathen Harvest

Interview with Vladimír Hirsch for RUMORE magazine

First of all i wanna ask you how is born the idea to release the box 'The Assent To Paradoxon', and maybe if there's a common tie, in musical explorations and concepts, in the choice of the seven chapters included. For example, in works like Sense Geometry,, Concert Industriel Pour Orgue or Symphony N.4, I've noticed the will to elaborate a structure of sound deeply cinematographic and ipnotic/theatrical, a sort of 'cosmic voyage' like in the German cosmic tradition of the 70es (i think to act like Popol Vuh or Amon Duul, like approach essentially)...

The idea of the box-set with 8 albums is the child of my publisher Mauro Casagrande. Because the majority of my main works has corresponding ideological concepts, it was not difficult to be inspired to formation of a relatively homogenous collection from this point of view. This concept is as an irritable proclamation of a seeming oxymoron expressed in their unitive name confessing the rejection of materialistic rationalism, regnant to the modern history of human. I waited for official release of my solo works very long time, therefore idiomatic compatibility of the collection components is not fully conceptual and represents rather the choice of works surveying particular periods of the evolution of my compositional style as well as the same process in sound creative principles of my music. In all works are present similar approaches to sound construction, from strictly divided roles of particular means of expression in Sense Geometry to Exorcisms or Les sc?nes ardentes, where instrumental and non-instrumental sound sources are emancipated. That "cosmic" element you mention is expressed in various intensity in all work of mine, allegorically expressing some kind of philosophically antithesis in confrontation between spiritual and materialistic world, which struggle is substantial theme of my works. It is not a "idée fixe" but only an attribute, representing by its characteristics the space of our mind in opposition to the monodimensional limitation of our thinking by load of the matter. Maybe I will disappoint you - however you can find some connotation between my works and traditions you mentioned - I was not influenced by them and my essential stimuli for using of that element arose naturally from the antagonism between my personal opinion "equipment" and the milieu of consumption idolatery.

I consider magistral your ability to arrange a clever cohesion between classical-avantgarde structures and the industrial-ambient futuristic ones. Expecially the ability to create, in your compositions, a contemporary translation of sacred and liturgical music, of its tension and lyricism. Can you tell me how is growth this kind of process in your compositions?

In advance, I have to appreciate your expression “cohesion”, because it is a crucial moment in understanding of my trying. Not accidental style mutation, not experimental mix, but the unity of means of expression, enabling to musical form to be a fully sufficient transcending vehicle of the idea - this is the basic goal of my musical concept. My musical erudition is classical and my education catholic. I began composing quite early as organ and piano player and got acquainted with treasures of the baroque liturgical and sacral music of Monteverdi, Pergolesi, Zelenka or Bach. Later I went through a long period of jazz and rock inclinations from post-punk to martial-industrial to return back in a spiral to my classical roots. Not losing all love for these influences and inspired by them and modern (Janáček, Britten) or contemporary (Kabeláč, Ligeti) classics, I had gradually looked for my own expression. I am innerly akin to ideas of the neothomism, nevertheless full of skepticism to contemporary vulgarization of any idea. I also reject a mass import of infantile paganism and satanism into the dark-ambient sphere that step by step became the background for music dilettantism hiding behind first-signal catchy and effective yet purposefully artificial mysteries with zero content. I did not and don’t want to document invalidity of generally accepted thesis or rather prejudice of negative polarity in using the music language of contemporary postindustrial milieu in relation to Christian ideas. It never was my problem, I express my ideas in a way I consider natural and regarding the permanent fight between spirituality and despiritualized reality in my works this kind is an ideal language for me. In extenso - from what was said - I realize, that my music is very hardly acceptable for conservative classical milieu as much as for various dark ambient, industrial and postindustrial scenes I don’t feel affinity with.

Regarding the dramatic/spiritual tension of your music research, which are the primary classical reference of you?... Personally, i think to the romantic tension of Wagner, Schubert and Berlioz, to the 'requiem fugues' of Bach, or the avantgarde expressionism painted by Schoenberg, Ligeti and Nitsch. Really, i consider your approach really innovative and singular respect the common way to face the avantgarde and electronic dimensions.

I know that the influence of classical music is apparent in my work. It is necessary to say that my aims are much more in the area of new contemporary forms of this kind of music, than in dark ambient or other industrial offsets, however I work with industrial, noise and ambient sounds and structures. I focus on contemporary classical musical form with an attempt to enhance its action potential by modern means of expression. I attempt to resume the tradition of rich central European musical history since baroque and above all 20th century Czech, other Slavic and Eastern and Central European modernism. I draw inspiration from at first Leoš Janáček, Igor Stravinsky, further also Miloslav Kabeláč, Györgyi Ligeti or Giacinto Scelsi. If there is any romantic influence, its origin can be seen rather in Dvořák choral works than in Wagner, Schubert and Berlioz that did not address me absolutely, however some martial or space attributes of my music can lead to the idea you described. Generally, my philosophical ideas are primarily inspired by classicism and romantic era, tonal principles stepwise by atonality, serialism and polymodality and compositional style of postindustrial era, pushing me to search for an order in chaos. I try to attain my own clear-cut position both in tone creative principles and in composition style, enhancing expressional agenses of orchestration by the work with sound where I want to show innovative role of not quite musical components. Unlikely the traditional "musique concr?te", I want to reach an organic incorporation of seemingly distinct or irreconcilable elements into the living form. My aim is not simple synthesis, but in formal language another step of this formation on its way to natural integration of tonality into atonality, classical into postindustrial, etc. But this is only a music-theory description; it is a more matured transubstantiation of form into a morphologically purer structure. Once again the effort is more obviously aimed not at getting some chemical compound but an indecomposable element. This is a brief description of my formal attitudes to composing.

Descent From The Cross is a concept voyage inspired by the Dostoevsky's interpretation of the so called 'Christ in The Tomb' painting by Hans Holbein, a work that recover in itself (and for Dostoevsky too) the problem of evil in men and in the world: the death of resurrection, the absence of faith and hope caused by the strenght (its physic violence - the body of Christ - and panical side) of nature. I've got two curiosity in my question: 1) The chapters are 7, an important number from the esoterical point of view, and suggest references to the plagues, the apocalypse and the seals. What kind of study have you faced for translate its in music? 2) Can we compare the tragical perception of the body of Christ after the Passion like the body/face of the today's Europe condition, expecially after the fall of the ideas that moved the 20th century... Can we read this tragic feeling in your compositions, beyond the music styles?

ad 1) I am aware of a subconscious working of this kind of symbolism, living inside by its own life. I am not too well-educated in numerology, therefore I must reject intentional translation of similar principles into music, nevertheless I cannot refuse some subliminal acceptation of those connotations originating in biblical numeric symbology. Therefore I would like to remind that number 7 represents not only apocalypse as the catastrophic end of the world but also the beginning of life of a new quality. Number 7 means also light, understanding and studious delivery. No doubt, I would not choose number six (lol).
ad 2) This opus is inspired originally by Dostoevsky's interpretation of Hans Holbein’s painting as a polemic with his questioning of the Christian faith in Christ's resurrection, since the level of cogency in portraying a truly dead body is strikingly exposed in the works of the German artist. I try to create a immersed and painful perception on the one hand, dominated by uncertainty and doubt, but through the belief in spiritual strength inclined to hope and strife for the fulfilling of the faith's thesis on the other hand, however only in contours, because tragic feeling, arose from contemporary destruction of values you keep in mind (not only European), is prevalent.

Exorcisms and Nonterra express the sides more archaic, abstract, gothic, martial and apocalyptic, of your musical speech. Can you tell me what kind of thematic face these chapters? Is right my perception of a 'liquid (or sidereal) subconscious emanation', like in a Lovecraft novel ?

I understand that the name "Exorcisms" evokes some medieval connotations but I must anticipate that its genuine sense here embodies in its simple general interpretation – as a prayer, serving to exemption from maleficiencial tendencies. This album is another kind of my traditional theme of permanent struggle of two antagonistic forces in human, musically described as harmonic and sound thesis and antithesis in one, their cross-fades, changes, mutual interferences and emphasis on consciousness of necessity of their coexistence. Nevertheless – as you noticed – I don’t conceal my sympathy to archaic. It arose from generally false sight of the past and today. I cannot fight off conviction of the presence of spiritual brightness of "dark ages" and the darkness of absence of that quality in proclaimed "bright" modern period.
Nonterra works with similar problematics illustrated by musical issue of modern classical and ambient clash with periodically repeating elements of fashionable trends of pop music, which are attacking in their rhythmic structures and melodic motifs. They become their inner destructive agent and challenge of tattiness and degradation of human feeling, governing the conventional taste. It is obvious though that the tout ensemble is skeptical as the end states sadness from status quo, loneliness and weakness of the individual, e.g. disbelief in a practical possibility to overcome the overwhelming anthropocentrism of contemporary human. I think the title NONTERRA, thus NONEARTH, is more than explicit in this context.
Presenting my tendencies and symbolism in previous answers I also indirectly answered the question about presupposed connection with Lovecraft´s work that might be at hand but from the point of view of its philosophical concept embodies out of my radius. Besides – however diametrically different in its interpretation - is that abstract in itself so different that cannot be compared with Theilhard´s cosmological visions?

With Sense Geometry you've released a musical process considering some geometrical figures. Triangles, Circles, Pentagons, Tetragons, are symbols used historically from the traditional science, for release buildings too like symbols of the spiritual centre of the earth/world. Is there this will, musically, to translate the human need to research the origin of our being?

Sense Geometry is a conceptual album, based on fictive geometric symbolism of certain mechanisms of the human psyche. It is an attempt to detect or prove the existence of a certain order in illusory chaos. You can understand it as some kind of musical application of mathematical theory of fractals, a sort of "fractal musical geometry". To this purpose I use signals of intervals, rhythm, sound structuralization and instrumentation logic. Sound and instrumentation of the compositions plays the role of the chaotic and likewise irritating element, rhythm and intervals the role of order go-between, directing the attention to another levels of seeing things.

Stefano Morelli
journalist of the paper mags Rumore & :Ritual
June 12, 2008

CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2008

This is probably the most “heavy” and decidedly martial album I’ve listened to so far from Vladimir Hirsch. The experimented avant-gardist compositor brings this somehow divergent aural division as an elite item only available for the subscribers of the deluxe box that is about to be released on Ars Benevola mater titled: “The assent to paradoxon” soon to be reviewed here at Heathen Harvest. This work connotes power and force both musically and thematically, leaving open the gate for possible philosophical speculations on its quest. Nevertheless it seems that its own inspiration comes from factual realities surrounding us and permeating history as a spray of blood, thus the never ending round of “mud a blood” that the course of human sovereignty has implanted as an imperative in the practical modus operandi from civilization.
During this work the premise on orchestral arrangements and industrial clangour with some martial outbursts will be generally the common course of action. Dark ambient will be present more as a result of the orchestral manoeuvres, incidentally appearing with textures and occasional backgrounds handled by synthesizers ornaments but not as a normalized regime. Obscure orchestral undertones will emerge as menacing clouds over the powerful orchestral trepidation and pounding percussions. Aside from that tense and dark tonality the general unfold from the work will be powerful and bombastic, connoting mighty strength and mechanized rhythmic structures with vertigo inducing vistas. The aperture is progressive and not immediate though, commencing with the first movement “Ante lucem” that as its name indicates is the apparition of light in a platonic sense, presenting the contours of the desolate valley from reality. The clash of metals and sibilant hisses derived from these frigid structures present a panorama full of sharp edges and profound abysms that result menacing and thrilling. The mechanized clangour progress with the apparition of shattered violins and occasional trumpet flames in “Synapsis” with a distant choral layers that fade away amidst the infernal maremagnum. Everything is conceptualized in a very expressionist application, using the orchestral sound as a sort of device to imprint images to ultimately bring a general atmosphere of terror. The martial tone is the previous hall to the apparition of total horror. This aspect subtly starts to appear on “Nonterra” (murdering latin, it more or less means “No man’s land”) and kicks in full in the virulent “Mécaniques D’État” where tints of political direction can be speculated. Power is the essence from state and its maintenance can only be acquired by the use of unrestricted force. In here Hirsch blasts with a Martial industrial strength of significant magnificence and shattering pulse that many will envy in the scene. The track has all the elements that make it memorable for its rhythmic power and explosive tension.
So now we can speculate a bit about the possible political implications from “Nonterra”, seems like a descriptive exposition on the state politics in the historical context and the character of freedom, the particularities from power and the crescent labour to achieve control over the individual. In synthesis a defined destination as usual in Hirsch works that connotes a conceptual blending and philosophically marked direction. “Advenit Orator” increases the sentiment of industrial repetitiveness through the amalgam of orchestral movements and explosive martialism, bringing the feeling of the sense of politics as a rhetorical conundrum that hides the inner truth from the real politics behind politic itself. War! a war against allies and follies alike and the undermining of the individual as the ultimate enemy from power and its tactics. Subsequent tracks eloquently deliver a passage through industrial mechanization and martial apparition, setting a conformed but restricted atmosphere of oppression and obfuscation. “Parahymnus” brings an aspect that Hirsch never used before, the introduction of vocals as ghostly recitations from a distant and isolated voice, grunting a series of unintelligibly words while the orchestra marches its course over them. This is another piece filled with a sense of martialism with a dry snare and somber atmosphere of clangour and orchestral advancement. From there on the work starts to consciously degrade into a cacophonous interplay of textures, violin scherzos, murmurs and obscure layers until “Transformation (Violent Act)” kick in. This last track brings an odd element to play, an analog sequencer loop that will be set as the core element of the background with a metallic mechanized percussion pounding unfading over it. This is truly an epic piece connoting the automatism from the synthetic sequence with the robotic clangour shattering the listener with its might. Is this the ultimate rebellion or the final instance from power acting upon the individual? It’s for yours to judge that.
Nonterra is a singularity in Hirsch discography and quite obvious plus addendum for the “Paradoxon” box, instigating the buyer to decide its choice. Besides as usual in Hirsch the work is dedicated, expanded and possessing a power that will be a must for all lovers of original martial industrial, that aside from highly experimental, abandoning the introduction of Dark ambient as a rigorous agenda and exploring further the capabilities from the orchestral strengths. Highly Recommended!

Heathen Harvest (www.heathenharvest.com)

CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2008

Probably in some decades or a century perhaps, people will cite Vladimir Hirsch as a typical modern composer from his own time, named as avanguardist and purveyor of neoclassical music. That makes me wonder if we are aware enough on whom we may have in front of? It is often known that geniuses are not fully recognized in the epoch they live into, dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant. And if we take in consideration the fact that musical manifestations such as Dark Ambient, Industrial and even Neoclassical music are seen with a condescending view as mere sub-cultural manifestations, his importance considerably grows proportionally equal with the gross myopia coming from the cultural elite. “Exorcisms” originally created in 2006 and released by Ars Benevola Matter in 2008 continues Hirsch’s series of aural studies on post modern enthological conundrums, establishing its characteristic mix of Neoclassical with heavy influx of heavy orchestral atmospheres and nightmarish industrialized influences, apocalyptic music in a way.

This is simply put, the kind of modern classic music that only our chaotic, desensitized and mechanized world and particular zeitgeist may inspire sensible music composers to give form, the sound of impending catastrophe and demonic forces battling inside the civilized construction and the very core from human soul.

As usual in the previous ensembles and side-projects from Hirsch such as Skrol and Aghiatrias his focus on incidental music arrangements retain a clear dedication to emotionally involve the listener in its quest while at the same time by the means of the compositional structure he tries to create and bring a form and a context that takes the shape of the conceptual value he tries to bring into the piece. The specifical thematic dedicated on this album has been previously studied before during his career but this time focuses on certain specific details. It is basically a philosophical question on the spiritual ethos from mankind, the quest for an existential/spiritual reason of the self and later of the human collective, all these transcendental illusions transformed into deadly ideals which become the ultimate base for the creation of unrestrained power.

First there is the Deus ex Machina quest, put into scene through “Confiteur” and “Paliginesis” (terror and guilt as the main causes for the creation of god) and subsequently the institutionalization/privatization from spirituality through the church entity with the perceived results we can find through history (comprehended in the movements “Ecce crux”, “Synaestheseum”, “Quadrivia”, “In hoc signo”): All its demonic derivations and idealized distortions on the original spiritual ethos quest presented here. Ending it all with the latest three movements and probably more obscured part of the album marked by the consolidation of the ecclesiastical power and its absolutism exposed on: “Averte!”, “Essentia quinta” and “Ufarsin” (Curiosly, Ufarsin is an Aramaic word that means divided) probably an implication of the internal division created by the imposition of the dogma, the distance from the concept of oneness and thus the separation from the natural law and the same very god that man originally personified in order to comprehend.

“Exorcisms” is then the orchestral post industrial evocation of a monster, with clear acts conforming the stages of its advancement and process. From its original dormant state, then a nascent twilight, the consolidation of a structure and then the impending advance towards total domination. The music is well described as in a fluently cinematic narrative, speaking in a language where words become unnecessary and music itself gives forms and recreates actions. Elements from concrete music are communicated through a highly complex and otherworldly compendium of orchestral expressions, sudden movements and excerpts, bits of melody that stroll from cacophonous atmospheres to defined harmonic arrangement that as a sum of components finally create an atmospheric current defying the orthodox formula from any strict neoclassical composition. The mood of the work is doomed and filled with constant tension.

Hirsch’s formula is not precise, one is uncertain on when the amalgam of orchestral abrasiveness, monumental clangour, metals and Celestial wind instrumentals gets mixed with the organic ornaments that constitute the Dark ambient definition constructed on mysterious whispers, drones, synth lines etc, finally constituting a defined wholeness and totality of sound, so vast and universal, so definitively orchestral. This aspect is clearly where his expertise resides, to create a whole atmospheric undercurrent where the listener himself submerges into a specific context and ultimately finds the mystery that lies in this philosophic aural evocation . Nevertheless the music preserves a cadence, this aspect gives an ever evolving dynamism to the orchestral narrative and its defined industrialized rhythm permeates the work within a clear post industrial context, a temporized machine march that commands the movements setting the pace for each section in a rather paused way, accenting the terrible tragic mood from its aural offering. “Exorcisms” is perhaps the more advanced and studied work I have had the opportunity to experience from the vast Hirsh discography and it is surely something that will impress the lover of polished and obscure orchestral industrials. Recommended.

Jack The Ripper (Heathen Harvest)

CD, Integrated Music Records, 2008

I once heard this story, I think it was from George Noory's "Coast to Coast" radio show. On that specific show, which I listened to by chance because I had only listened to handful of these radio shows, there was a man who had a tale where he was driving on a long road somewhere deep in the USA, when suddenly he realized the road he is driving on is not quite the road he knows. It all seemed ruined – or not yet built. The asphalt was not there, but only a dirt road. It went on for a while and then either the man came to his senses, his senses came to him, or the experience was over, and the man found himself on the road he knows, all came back to normal. Among the various possibilities and interpretations that Noory and this man came to, the most favorable one was that this man might have time traveled spontaneously. But where to? Then the man suddenly remembered that unlike the road he knows, on the brief moments he was traveling on the other side, there were no electricity lines and light posts. More drama gathered on Noory's microphone, and there were two choices left – Either this man had traveled to the past – no harm done then, or he might have been to the future, and a sad future it must be, probably after a major destruction of some sort that swept the area, tearing the asphalt and the electricity lines. That's the story, anyway. Vladimir Hirsch is no beginner in music making, aiming usually for the modern classical music and having behind him many albums, ranging from classical music to Jazz and Industrial, including a collaboration with Kenji Siratori (like everybody else, I guess) and the great Aghiatrias, which is one of his many side projects. TOBRUK is a soundtrack to a movie which I cannot say I have seen, and this is in my favor since I can listen to the album without the original context of the movie, that might force it to a specific interpetation. I am, however, drawn to think about the way this music resembles a fast build up, or disintegration, of something really big. Hirsch keeps monumental compositions and dramatic turns, picturing endless landscapes that at times can be perceived as expanding and at times – collapsing, with the composer easily conducting the almost celestial events at his whim. The picture on the album's cover, showing endless desert with the phantom, or maybe a mirage of dark swords or crosses, floating on the sand, catches my attention, as the image of the lost electricity lines that I have described before is imminent and on the track "Inertia of space" I can understand and picture the future destruction, as hirsch takes away everything that was built before and sweeps it away. From the introduction to the point of ear-sure, Hirsch is gathering more and more instruments one on top of the other, a powerful tower of sounds that demonstrates the repetitive and maybe futile loops that can begin with a war like drum roll, like on "first victory", and end in nothingness like the bleak "at the grave". One hand builds, the other breaks, and the listener is bound to this endless repetition throughout "TOBRUK". Naturally, TOBRUK is very cinematic in composition, having its ups and downs, introduction and catharsis. But Vladimir Hirsch also breaks the whole score into small chapters, each holding a powerful story and can depend on its own. Finally, with each small story adding up to a whole again, TOBRUK is a overwhelming experience.

Oren ben Yosef (Heathen Harvest)

CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2007

Originally recorded in 1998 at St. Wenceslas catholic church in Prague and released as CDR for Catch Arrow Recordings, CONCERT INDUSTRIEL POUR ORGUE is an astonishing work by Vladimir Hirsch. The four tracks/suites are played by the Czech Integrated Ensemble conducted by Hirsch, who took care of the organ and of all the electronic instruments. First of all I must underline that the organ is an important part of the score but it isn't the only instrument which has an important role, because the rhythmic layers and all the "noisy" parts are built using percussions (crash cymbals and floor tom) and industrial sounds and the Czech Integrated Ensemble has also a woodwind section. For the whole length of the CD (44 minutes) the tension is always at the top and there's alternation of "calm" parts with vibrant and throbbing sounds and of blasting moments where the organ cries its dissonant keys while the cymbals duet with the percussions. Melody is present but it isn't the main thing to notice, because the ambience created is much more relevant. This edition is the revised 2001 version and it's the first part of the CD series which will include "Symphony No. 2" and "Symphony No.3". P.s. This release will be also available into the forthcoming 7 CD box set "The Assent To Paradoxon" which will include "Sense Geometry", "Concert industriel", "Symphony no.4", "Nonterra", "Exorcisms", "Les scenes ardentes" and "Contemplatio per nexus".

Maurizio Pustianaz (Chain D.L.K.)

CD, Ars Benevola Mater, 2006

Active also with Aghiatrias, Zygote and Skrol, Czech composer Vladimir Hirsch presents a new mix of a previous work titled SENSE GEOMETRY which had been originally recorded between 1998 and 1999. The composition of the ten tracks is based on fictive, geometric symbolism of certain mechanisms of the human psyche. Vladimir calls this musical form of mathematical theory “fractal musical geometry”. We already know that music and mathematic are deeply linked as music is a way of disposing sounds into a space dominate by time. Also the music score is divided using mathematic fraction (4/4, 3/4, etc.). Musically the tracks are tense orchestral suites where the rhythm has an important role as along with piano and strings industrial noises are used to improve the tension created. It's also useful to notice that the whole CD is based on percussion. The piano, where used, the metallic samples, the drum and the different sound sources are creating a sort of marching soundtrack which ideally paint geometric sound forms. It's nice to notice, also, that Vladimir didn't forget to use also melody even if this isn't his main purpose. If you love disturbing atmospheres, modern classical music and also neo classical industrial sounds, this is a good release.
P.s. Try it also if you don't know any of this genres but you love old horror movies soundtracks!

Maurizio Pustianaz (Chain D.L.K.)

CD, Integrated Music Records, 2002

Czechia has always been a mysterious land for me even if my ancestors were coming from Hungary. Aghiatrias is a project conducted by Vladimir Hirsch and Tom Saivon which were collaborating also under the name of Skrol. Aghiatrias was created as a mutual musical experimentation of two people and the result is a mixture of classical orchestral sounds and noise landscapes. The four tracks "Semen", "Epidaemia", "Invocatio" and "Terror" are structured as industrial suites really suggestive and full of pathos. Even if the shorter track lasts nine minutes and half I never had the impulse of stopping my CD player as the listener is catched and projected into Aghiatrias' sound since the first minute.
Maurizio Pustianaz, www.chaindlk.org/review

Very powerful soundscapes from Czechia, between neo-classical and post-industrial. Their distinct sound is a confrontation between classical compositions and noise generators. The whole is further augmented with samples and vocals, resulting in a fairly ominous sound. Aghiatrias is about the balance between light and darkness.

This project is musically just another step of this group on the way to integration of the tonal into the atonal, of the classical into post-industrial etc. It is a more mature transubsantiation of form into a morphologically cleaner structure.


CD, Epidemie Records, 2004

Not unnoticed the debut of two years ago, "Epidaemia Vanitatis", of Aghiatrias from Prague, Vladimir Hirsch and Tom Savion of Skrol. The second album "Regions Of Limen", published in 500 samples, it is another mighty and not less effective fresco solemn and severe, saturated of a nuisanced steadiness that shifts the decadent tonalities to express a dangerous and monitory power occasionally decorated with chilly noisy lashes and quiveringpercussions, obscurely meditative and in the meantime aggressive, fought among dark ambient matrix (Axis illuminationis, the notable Taciturn stratum), martial lilts (Submerged Esplana, Chiasmata), and episodes of horror scabrousness (the excellent Dura Mater, Ad pontem lamentorum, Decapitatio). RECENSIONI Dark Industrial a cura di Paolo Bertoni (bxpdb@in.it)

Well this sure as hell is starting off promising. Oppressive Dark Ambient with elements of Dark Industrial and Haunting electronics. The Vocals are very ritualistic and unnerving as are the metallic pianos and the percussive rumbles going on with the very other worldly synth effects. There going for what a band like Profane grace or Valefor do oh so well. I'm truly shock that something this interesting comes from a label that last sent me that piece of shit by the stealer of names the Pakastanie Dusk. I've noticed that good Dark ambient is always in limited pressing while 3rd rate metal bands always have unlimited pressings . This never made since to me , I would without a doubt tell you this is something very intriging on CD that many will never hear as the label is new and from eastern Europe. Get this or miss out.

A digital black plague from the dark alcoves of Prague, Czechia stalks Aghiatrias. Brainchild of composer Vladimir Hirsch and mysterious Tom Savion with vocal participation by Martina Sanollova. The group has not deviated from the originally set concept and direction. Regions of Limen is basically an conceptual idea of abstract activities in the brain, the confrontation of an real and surreal subconscious world (synthetic ambient versus industrial sound). The meditative character of the compositions mingles traditionally with martial invasions of industrialized form, sometimes being interwoven by lethal beams of radioactive radiation or tectonic vibrations of reality. Very powerful symphonic soundscapes caught between neo-classical and post-industrial sound. Their unique distinct sound is a battling confrontation between classical compositions and intensepower electronic noise generators. The whole sound is further augmented with machine samples and vocals, resulting in a huge ominous dark ambient symphonic bleek work.

AGHIATRIAS sind zurück mit einem neuen, beeindruckenden Werk. Glänzte schon der Vorgänger „Epidamia Vanitatis“ wie ein schwarzer Edelstein in der Dunkelheit, so setzt das aktuelle Werk der Tschechen noch einen drauf. Wie immer kommen die Prager symphonisch-dicht daher, verweben neoklassische Kompositionen mit ambienten Strukturen und kombinieren das Ganze mit harschen, industriellen Geräuschkulissen. Das wundervolle Artwork mit den kathedralenartigen Säulengängen lässt ahnen, wohin „Regions Of Limen“ den Hörer entführt. Synthetische Klangflächen wie Peitschehiebe, bombastische Arrangements, verwehende Stimmen, kratzende Geräusche, eine zermürbende Langsamkeit und Schwere – all das atmet den Hauch der „Dark Ages“, des Mittelalters. AGHIATRIAS geht einen Schritt zurück in den gigantischen Mahlströmen der Zeit, hin in eine von Mystik und Angst geprägte Welt. Unter Kopfhörern und/oder sehr laut genossen, sind diese Spiritualität und Angst auch für einen Menschen des 21. Jahrhunderts deutlich spürbar. Hinter “Regions of Limen” steht die Idee abstrakter Aktivitäten im Gehirn, die Konfrontation von realer und surrealer, unterbewusster Welt, die klanglich im Kampf zwischen synthetischen Ambient- und Industrial-Sounds zum Ausdruck kommt. Absolut typisch für das Prager Duo, bestehend aus Komponist Vladimir Hirsch und Sampling-Experten Tam Saivon ist die Intensität ihres Schaffens. Fast schon unheimlich ist die Kraft, mit denen ihre Klangschöpfungen den Hörer paralysieren und ihn zu einem willigen Spielball des Geschehens machen. Der Unterschied zwischen den Genannten und AGHIATRIAS, die wie ein unheilvoller Hybrid aus Dark Ambient und Industrial ihre Bahn ziehen, liegt in der Intensität der Schwärze.


CD, Integrated Music Records / CatchArrow Recordings, 1999-2003

Vladimír Hirsch ist die treibende musikalische Kraft hinter Projekten wie AGHIATRIAS und SKROL und das hört man auch hier in seinen Kompositionen moderner Klassik. Manche Motive sind seltsam bekannt, kehren im Schaffen Hirschs immer wieder. Geschrieben wurden beide Werke für das "integrated orchestra", welches sowohl authentische als auch synthetische Instrumentierungen des klassischen Symphonieorchesters nutzt. Dessen typischen Klänge kollidieren in Hirschs Stücken mit industriellen Sprengseln und verschmelzen zu einer neuen Einheit, der der Komponist den Namen "integrated music" gab. Die Symphony No.2 kommt in sich homogen daher. Die einzelnen Teile unterscheiden sich nur geringfügig, sind durchgängig maschinenhaft treibend. Der Vortrag ist durch überdeutliche Theatralik geprägt, ohne jedoch ins pathetische abzukippen. Die Symphony No. 3 setzt sich aus 16 kürzeren und sehr unterschiedlichen Teilstücken zusammen. Die typischen klanglichen Elemente, die so charakteristisch für Hirschs Schaffen sind, finden sich jedoch auch hier wieder. Besonders hervor stechen dabei die schrägen Orgeltöne sowie der nachdrückliche Einsatz des Schlagwerkes. Symphony No. 3 zeichnet sich durch ein hohes Maß an Aggressivität aus, durch eine intensive Atmosphäre. Der Hörer wird quasi hin und her gestoßen, ein sich treiben lassen ist hier unmöglich. Eine Aufführung mit einem richtigen klassischen Orchester wäre sicher auch optisch ein Erlebnis.

Ulrich Bemmann, C.D., Dresden, Germany

CD, Dagaz Music, Portugal, 2005

Czech avant-garde iconoclasts Skrol disappeared off the radar a few years ago only to re-emerge as Aghiatrias, furnishing pounding, devastating, organ-fueled soundscapes that effectively transported the listener out of the inevitable state of inertia towards a plateau of transcendental bliss. Rumors of a third Skrol album have been abounding for years, but it wasn't until fairly recently that Dance and Marches for the Orphan Age saw the light of day. After several failed negotiations with the band's former label, the album - and the band - have finally resurfaced courtesy of Portuguese upstarts Dagaz Music.
If you're not familiar with Skrol's sound, prepare for the unexpected. The project of neo-classical composer Vladimir Hirsch, noise artist Tom Saivon, and mezzo-soprano Martina Sanollová, the Skrol formula combines classical Slavic harmonic and melodic techniques with post-industrial noise and effects, with Sanollová's angelic voice projecting a ray of light through the otherwise dark terrain. At times the music evokes the soundtrack to some horror film such as The Omen, though at other times you might feel as though you've walked in on some Satanic procession - ritual music, as it were. With a stomach-churning cover photo of a dove impaled on a knife and a quote from E.M. Cioran's Heights of Despair, Dances and Marches for the Orphan Age ranks among the trio's most confrontational work to date. The first track, "Teorema," is a wrecking ball of organ-grinding pandemonium - a dark tunnel that sees the light of "Absolution" on the second track, which features a haunting intro sang by Sanollová. This blending of darkness and light - the extremes of human experience - elicits a deeply spiritual feeling of wonder tinged with foreboding. Indeed, it is never easy listening to Skrol; even though the music at times allows the listener to fall deeply into a meditative trance, the blending of classical elements with seemingly random bursts of noise and effects makes for a deeply unsettling experience - one that is necessary, of course, if we are to allow these sonic existentialists to enlarge our understanding of music's endless possibilities.

CD Review by Travis Jeppesen (www.dorfdisco.de)

FUNPROX review: The first release for Dagaz from Portugal, which started as a webzine, is an interesting one. Skrol, from the Czech Republic, recorded this material in the period 1997-1999, but Vladimír Hirsch remixed and remastered everything in 2002. At first listen the music of Skrol reminds me of projects like Autopsia, Laibach and Actus. The project has a mixture of avantgarde classical and industrial elements, but also many Slavic influences. Mastermind Hirsch is active in a variety of projects and is also no stranger to the academic aspects of avantgarde music. His works often have multiple underlying spiritual or scientific themes. The music of Skrol is certainly no easy listening, "Dances and Marches For The Orphan Age" is quite a dense and heavy structure. Religious organs and choirs are combined with percussive eruptions, industrial soundscapes and strange noises. In general the mood is threatening and apocalyptic, the sound often majestic and bombastic. An impressive album which will take a few listening turns to penetrate its core, but a worthwile experience.

Powerful and apocalyptic are the first words that come to my mind in connection with this 1st edition of Dagaz-Music. Skrol and the work “Dances and Marches for the Orphan Age” is the best possible start and, to be very truthful, also the most worthy, for the début in editions of the project Dagaz-Music, which is developing and always surprising us with the almost chameleonic changes that its mentor, by himself or in various teamwork, continues to disclose in connection with the novelties which keep rising in music, promoting novel and very creative projects, always excelling in good taste. In what concerns this edition, we find a sound close to the industrial landscapes with incursions in the neoclassic; however, besides the innovating component in comparison to other projects from the same trend, we find a powerful structure which leads us to feel that Vladimir Hirsh is backed up by massive academic knowledge in the musical area, supporting the high quality of the Skrol compositions. This is an album not to be lost, mainly for those whose hearts march in the quest of the END OF TIMES

Third album of Skrol with majestic and uncompromising music is based on specific melodiousness and orchestration of contemporary classical music, situated in the arch of industrial ambient and brutalized by noises and modern technology sounds. The dominant theme is one of abandonment of a socially unacceptable individual, who seeks the raison d´etre of his existence and of the world, where he is forced to live, its premises, theorems, their impeachment and yearning for catharsis.


Interview with Vladimír Hirsch for UNDERWORLD magazine

Going through some history, the music on this album was originally written in 1997. Why was it not released then ?

In summer 1997, I prepared the framework of an album formed by my suite with rather Tom Saivon´s laconic name “Dances and Marches”. We finished it together in 1999, yet the outcome of our studio work disappointed us. So this project was laid aside for some time. Then the album was adapted again and again, I included some entirely new composition versions and it was finalized in 2002.

Why have you felt the need to remake it on 2002? Again, why was it not released then ?

Skrol released their first two albums (“Heretical Antiphony” and “Insomnia Dei”) at the German label Membrum Debile Propaganda and American label Chromosome. The MDP promised to release “Dances and Marches” as well. The communication with the publisher was troublesome, we could not accept his conditions (plus his label collapsed and disappeared mysteriously in the end). Well, we looked for another label. We have not succeeded until the verge of 2004 when I was addressed by Rui Carvalheira from Dagaz Music and we reached an fruitful agreement.
Finally on 2005, it sees the light of day. Why have you chosen Dagaz Music for the release? Were you aware it was also their first release ever? Did you know Rui Carvalheira or his work prior to this release ?

It was in the luck of the draw. I got to know Rui based of his interest in some of my recordings. His deeper feeling for this kind of music induced our further communication. In the frame of our talk I asked him one day if he was interested in releasing some of our projects. I did not anticipate that thanks to it Rui would decide to establish the label and Skrol would become its first release. We appreciate it very much and hope deeply to continue in embarked cooperation.

A quick step into this: how do you feel about Dagaz Music's work? Has it lived up to your expectations ?

I was thrilled by such a helpful attitude and fast realization. After all, the album was release three months later! The same we can say on the address of our Czech publisher / label Epidemie Records (www.epidemie.cz) who is responsible and takes care of our another project Aghiatrias, planning its fourth release “Ethos” for autumn 2005.

Back to the album, do you think "Dances And Marches For The Orphan Age" still maintains the original spirit of when you wrote it for the first time? Or has the music and its message evolved throughout the years ?

The original idea of the project has not changed, nevertheless it was satisfyingly realized with formal and expression revisions. I dare to say that the development happened in spiral. Strangely enough, I was actually more satisfied with the original instrumental recording from 1997 that the studio outcome in 1999. In our opinion, the intent was reached definitively on a higher level.
Do you think the artistic content is still updated nowadays, almost 10 years after it was originally written ?

The final version respects the original pattern; some means of expression were innovated, respectively by means of them we have reached the intended form.

How do you describe the music on "Dances And Marches For The Orphan Age"?

Album is based on a more volcanic and martial conception than previous works. The dominant theme is one of abandonment of a socially unacceptable individual, who seeks the raison d’ętre of his existence and of the world, where he is forced to live, its premises, theorems, their impeachment and yearning for catharsis. The compositions often emanate from a sort of gaping void, akin to an open chasm. Yet it is not a void in the proper sense of the word, since within we feel the presence of something beyond our rationality. The impression of a broad respiring depth, whose dark mouth is surrounded by human mass, where emotionally wrought faces surface from anonymity. The individual visions of the differing inclinations of SKROL’s individual members are projected here over a matrix of a unifying philosophical substratum of the ever-present existential theme.

Skrol current line-up is still the original one, something not easy to accomplish is the actual music scene. Do you Martina and Tom are an essential part of Skrol's music? How can you describe your relation with them and the creative process on "Dances And Marches For The Orphan Age" ?

Since the very beginning Skrol are trio Vladimír Hirsch – Martina Sanollová – Tom Saivon, whose roles are relatively unequivocally determined. Composition, instrumentation and main final form of the album is my domain. Martina is an author and main interpret of solo vocal parts, Tom writes lyrics and as a sound alchemist brings up samples, noise substances and produced this album. We are alter ego of each other. It always has been so and is in the case of the latest work as well.

Moving away from the music itself, Tom is the author of Skrol's lyrics. Has he developed all the lyrical concept on "Dances And Marches For The Orphan Age"? How can you describe the lyrical concept on this album ?

There is a specific idea of Skrol philosophy. We present our own vision, perception of life and spiritual values. The lyrical concept embraces the variety of themes, emotional outburst stemming out from the existentialist distrust and eternal dispute between man and God. The lyrical part is the result and expression of dialogue between the three of us. That territory of imaginary plains represents pain, suffering and our inner strifes between good and evil and understanding the unity and integrity of all things. The impossibility to consider them indivisible. We feel like orphans but we see the light and hope as well.

Why the choice of the dead dove on the album cover? Has war definitely overcome all possibilities of peace? Do you believe in the concept of peace globally, or do you think it's simply not feasible ?

The dove is not taken as a traditional symbol only – its heart stabbed by sword represents the dead spirituality of today as well. Yet, it is not terminated note but call for a change, memento and alarm. We are not resigned, we fight for spirit of things systematically decimated by society and we fight against the inconclusiveness of materialism and globally accepted anthropocentric paradigm as a path to death of this world. In this context, photo collages on the cover are designed in form of a negative. It symbolizes the inverted sight of reality and also remark that each inversion has its opposite, the positive.
What is the Orphan Age? When the music was originally written or now? Both? None ?

We are aware that the spirit is adrift in this world, secluded in the middle of broadly accepted spiritlessness. That’s why our time is the age of orphans. We realize our music might be found in the role of an uncomfortable artefact. This understanding especially pertains to its presumed misinterpretation as a basically disturbing message.
Looking a bit more into the past, this is Skrol's third full length.How do think the music has evolved since the first release up until now? Does the music reflect your own improvement as an individual, or do you think you have been able to improve yourself due to the music you write ?

I hope both ways assert themselves, but evaluation of the result is none of our business.

Moving the light from the project to the person, how do you devone the cultural heritage present in the music? Do you think your own origins and historical background have a huge impact on the music you write ?

I focus on contemporary classical musical form with an attempt to enhance its action potential by modern means of expression and by searching for specific processes. I attempt to resume the tradition of rich central European musical history since baroque and above all 20th century Czech and other Slavic music. I draw inspiration from first Leoš Janáček, Igor Stravinskij, later also Miloslav Kabeláč. I try to attain my own clear-cut position both in tone creative principles as in composition style and to enhance expressional agenses of orchestration by the work with sound. I want to show new important role of not quite musical components in it. This is description of my formal attitudes to composing only.

Can you give us some insight on your musical background? How were you introduced to music? What drove you to play music, and specifically this kind of music ?

I started as piano and organ player, yet never was attracted to interpret somebody else’s compositions, I wanted to create my own music. I have been composing since the age of 16 but it took a very long time to find the philosophy, style and form of the work that I could consider as self-revelation. I revere roots and tradition of music from my region. It was always imbued by philosophy I resonate with. Therefore it is a question of historical context. Of course, my heart belongs to different faces of music as well, e.g. Swans or Art Zoyd. Based on this, my idea of integrated music was born, grew out of it. Music which is not any sort of artificial synthesis, yet through the natural process evolves into pure, further indivisible substance. This specific process was described in several essays of mine.

Do you have any philosofical / political belief? How does that belief reflects in your music ?

I am a Catholic, more of philosophical than practical type. I felt a strong impact of novotomists in forefront with Pierre Theilhard de Chardin and by writers Graham Greene and Francois Mauriac. I firmly believe that my philosophical mindset has been reflected in music I create. However, I don’t express thesises, sometimes I use instead methods of a very strong confrontation which might possibly results in controversial output. But it’s not, I stand for the belief there is no cognition without opinion conflict.

Besides Skrol, you also have Aghiatrias and Zygote as musical projects. What are the main differences between the three? Why do you feel the need to explore three different musical paths ?

Skrol is a project which doesn’t completely deny residues of rock principles. At least minimally, it is music paying respect to traditional song form. Aghiatrias is a more abstract sprout of morphologically complex sound constructions and compositional techniques. Zygote is a dialogue of two stances, the rock-simple composition geometry on the one hand and less graspable amorphous noise structures on the other.

Now that this album has seen the light of day, what are your projects for the future, both with Skrol and besides Skrol? Are you already at work on another project, or still focusing only on this work's promotion ?

This April, I have finished my solo work „Nonterra“ and currently we are working with Tom on 4th Aghiatrias album „Ethos“. Meanwhile we are preparing the remaster of Zygote album „Geometrie nevědomí“ that is planned to be released by Dagaz Music at the eve of this year.

Are any live performances scheduled for the promotion to this album? From what I've read (I still hadn't the chance to see you live), your live performances are quite a treat. Any memories that pop to mind of some special live appearance? Any plans to play in Portugal in the future ?

For sure, our performances are rare and controversial in its oppressive and uncompromising nature and impact. Sometimes, the difference between our studio output and live performance expression is quite strongly present. Since Skrol beginning in 1997, we have played mostly in Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Holland and also toured the USA once. We use our own Skrol stage strategy - special and various means of visualization, including masks, fire effects and video projection. With Rui, we plan live shows in Sintra and Portugal in general next spring.

Just to wrap things up, what's the thing that most excites and disgusts you in the music scene nowadays? Are there any projects that caught your attention lately ?

I feel so much absorbed by music I create that there is not often space and mood for listening to another one. If I am able to give an ear to any other music, mostly it´s the one far from that type I compose. I might find just only few projects that attract my attention in last years. Lately, for example German perfo-artist CO Caspar and Czech project Tábor Radosti. Considering my disgust you are asking, I will try to choose only the peaks of it. Above all, there are many multiethnic hybridisms and various fashion styles which remind me jazz-rock masturbation of seventies. Concluding in short, I am not markedly interested in other music. Don’t get me wrong but this is not ignorance or neglecting.

Henrique Pereira, 20.5.2005

Links to particular items:
Interview for Heathen Harvest
Underlying Scapes & Markéta, the daughter of Lazar - reviews
Cryptosynaxis DVD review
Graue Passion reviews
Graue Passion interview
Symphony No.4 reviews
Tobruk review
Concert industriel review
Sense Geometry review
Exorcims review
Nonterra review
The Assent to Paradoxon review
Epidaemia Vanitatis review
Regions Of Limen review
Symphonies Nos.2 & 3 revciew
Dances & Marches for the Orphan Age review
Interview with Vladimír Hirsch about the album Dances & Marches