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Michael Idehall’s “Svartkonster” Emanates the Subversive Fires of the Left Hand Path

by Mike O’Brien

Mike O’Brien is the mind behind long-running dark ambient project Melankolia. Support him here.

“The artistic output of Michael Idehall always strives towards manifesting an opening to a world beyond the mundane. The creative process involves honing in on the nexuses between the flows of mind, matter, and spirit. Nexuses which exist inside the human being but also in the outer world, as conglomerations of energy and matter. In Michael’s creations, this convergence is revealed through the clash of ancient and modern, natural and artificial, and first and foremost the instilling of spirit into object.” —Discogs.com

Abstract:  The very word conjures up, at least as it applies to music, a realm relatively unappreciated and nearly wholly misunderstood. And in the juncture where abstract industrial and ritual drone collide, the crowd thins even further. There is a certain raw, demanding power from works such as Svartkonster. There are no softened edges, no apologies for sudden bursts, and no going back. Once you’re in, you’re in. Art indeed becomes artless; it breathes, vomits, and forms itself thereof.

Concentrating on the Left Hand Path, Idehall seeks to invigorate the uninitiated and adept alike, crushing the mind from the onset with abrasive energies, cracked words, and deep thoughts. It’s overdrive from start to finish, with scant moments of subtle silence. The destruction of corporeal entity in return for spiritual clarity is obvious and well-stated. Destruction of self, a hallowed tenet borne of the human condition, leads the adept to the next, more appropriate stage in the new evolutionary process. There is no sorrow here, though—only a truth, spoken in power and acceptance, lives in the words woven into the atonal atmosphere.

Michael Idehall

The entire feel of this album is akin to Coph Nia’s The Dark Illuminati, though without the grand synthesizer accompaniments. The vocal work is hidden slightly behind the mass of bass lines and screeching, howling pads. Regardless, it’s effective, bringing out the powerful message of freedom without conformity. Idehall is absolutely in his best element here, blending all waveforms together in such a way that none are forgotten and none are more overwhelming than is necessary.

The constant reminder, both lyrically and thematically, is to shun material wealth and comfort, searching instead for knowledge and wisdom outside the accessibility of the common plane. To find contentment and satisfaction outside of commercial forms of pleasure is the goal, and the journey there is the pleasure in itself. Peace comes only to those willing to fight for it, and the artist makes clear this revelation early and often.

I find the allegory of the dying star, as recounted in depth in “Dead Worlds,” to be one of special interest, considering the thematic essence of the album. The idea of such a faraway ball of gas being close enough to taste, and the ensuing death described in tactile feeling, is marvelous and thought-provoking. The analysis of a system built on both imagination and matter is attainable and believable in its context. Time, space, distance, and understanding converge together in a call back to the ancient mystery schools, wending path and progress into a new realization of life, death, and what lies beyond.

To experience this full work is to gain a better understanding of self. A wealth of knowledge is hidden within, urging the listener to determine for themselves what path to first explore, and last master. I’ll leave you with this invocation from the sparse inner sleeve:

The craft of the left hand is the route beyond routes
Seeking the roots below roots
Where art becomes artless
And life perhaps a lie
This is a shadow cast by a hand in motion
Within the timeless threads
That is motionless
A handless gesture becomes a prophetic movement
Two thoughtless currents become a mirroring gaze
The craft of the left eye is the piercing peer
But only amongst peers will the vision appear
Solid and floating
The flame of the left emanations

Cloister Recordings | Beläten