Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Evocative names

The naming of entities is a dark art, like antenna design. Names can denote attributes or connote associations; they can describe or intrinsically represent. My favorite names, though, are those which allude to that which can only be imagined. Entire worlds can be contained within a simple name, which collapse into bland concrete details as soon as they are explicated. For some reason, musical groups seem to be especially attuned to names which, although brief, suggest great depth. Amongst my favorites are:

The kidnapper bell (from Mono's Under the Pipal Tree)

The red in the sky is ours (album from At The Gates)

Godspeed You Black Emperor!

HEX: Or printing in the infernal method (album from Earth)

Living in the gleam of an unsheathed sword (also from Earth)

The thing which Solomon overlooked (1, 2, and 3) (from Boris)

The covenant, the sword, and the arm of the lord (album from Cabaret Voltaire, also an American terrorist group)

Names like these are somehow similar to drone doom, in which melody and rhythm are often merely implied. Diametrically opposed to these short but rich names, we have:

And by our own hand did every last bird lie silent in their puddles, the air barren of song as the clouds drifted away. For killing their greatest enemy, the locusts noisily thanked us and turned their jaws toward our crops, swallowing our greed whole (from Red Sparowes' Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun)

I also like the fact that, in Sunn O))), the "O)))" is silent. Speaking of which, if you haven't heard the new Sunn O)))/Boris collaborative album, you're totally missing out on a singular acoustic experience. Also, Ulver sounds MUCH better through high-quality headphones. For most groups, the listening experience is similar regardless of what speakers or headphones I use. I find that Ulver's Nattens Madrigal hurts my ears on normal headphones, whereas it sounds raw without being abrasive with my Etymotics. Worth a try.

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