Some might be irritated by the frequency of Voidcraeft releases as of late. I started working on this EP in early September 2016 and had pretty much finished it by December. It features several radical changes in both my workflow and the sound of this project in general. The concept behind Dogma started out with an email exchange with Luciano of I, Voidhanger Records back in December 2015. Its name is a reference to the Dogme 95 Manifesto by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. In this manifesto, they proposed a set of rules that would govern the way you make a movie. These rules were supposed to preserve authenticity and realism. It was an act of rebellion, a move against the flood of superficial Hollywood action flicks that heavily relied on the use of over-the-top technical effects and gimmicks that disconnected the audience from reality. These pictures are one of the lowest forms of entertainment and I am disappointed by people choosing to consume them.
Like von Trier and Vinterberg, I intended to define a similar set of rules for my own music. I am known to be a creature of habit, a repetitive artist who advances mechanically into this world. Generally speaking, I experiment very little. This is why formulating and obeying such rules is not much of a challenge for me. At the time, the object of my hatred was not the Hollywood action flicks that von Trier detested so much, but the use of synthesizers and drum machines in extreme metal. I also resent contemporary recording techniques such as the over-use of punch-ins. These were the arbitrary rules I originally proposed in the aforementioned email to Luciano:
1. Rule of Sound: Only the following sounds may be used: distorted guitars, distorted bass, acoustic drums (no drum machine), high-pitched/low-pitched growls. Each one of these types of sound must be used at least once per track.
2. Rule of Recording: Each instrumental track and the vocals must be recorded in one continuous take, no segmented recording is permitted. The playback rate and the offsets of samples may not be digitally altered after they have been recorded.
3. Rule of Aggression: Each track must feature at least 30 seconds of blast beat (either traditional or hammer blast).
4. Rule of Effort: A track must be at least 2 minutes and 30 seconds in length and a release must be at least 40 minutes in length.
5. Rule of Language: The lyrics of a release must be written in a natural language (as opposed to constructed languages) and not more than one language may be used per release.
However, I hardly remembered these rules while I was working on the tracks and I did break them right away, anyway, just like von Trier and Vinterberg broke theirs. The second rule was of great importance to me, though. This is my first release without the use of punch-ins. All instrumental tracks and the vocals were individually recorded in single, continuous takes — for the sake of greater authenticity and artistic integrity. This is why the recordings are full of flaws I was unable (or unwilling) to correct. After all, it is closer to the way you would play it in front of a live audience. Mind you, I am not saying that playing live is the only true way of making music. In fact, I have never even been to a concert and my entire consumption and creation of music revolves around studio recordings. I am not sure if I will keep on using this technique for future releases, though. It is certainly challenging!
Another big change was the use of new guitar and bass equipment. I ditched digital guitar amp modelling for good. I got myself a Laney IRT-Studio, an Ibanez Tube Screamer, a Boss NS-2 for the guitar and an Ampeg SCR-DI for the bass. However, I still use cabinet impulse response simulation. I did actually evaluate miking cabs at the studio for a couple of weeks, mostly with a Marshall JCM 2000 TSL 100, some Celestion Vintage 30 speakers on a 4x12 and a variety of microphones (although I kept on going back to the good old Shure SM57). It was not worth the trouble, though, so I pussied out and went for partial digital modelling.
Later on, I performed some questionable modifications on my good old Ltd EC-401. I ripped out all the electronics (pots, battery, wires) and removed the stock EMG pickups, which I then replaced with a single Seymour Duncan Black Winter passive pickup in bridge position I soldered directly to the output jack. Who needs volume or tone controls?
Lyrically, this release deals with two excellent books by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, The Idiot). I am increasingly questioning my lyrical workflow. There really is very little creativity involved because I simply derive everything I write from the books I have read. Perhaps I can do better on the next release. Well, not really better, just more authentic. I am almost certain that the lyrical quality will deteriorate even further.
The cover of this EP is very much in line with that of the French full-length album I released in December 2016. It is a crude felt-tip pen drawing of Anatoliy Solonitsyn portraying Dostoyevsky in a 1981 Soviet movie. However, I modified his appearance in that I made him bald, which is the same thing I did to Emil Cioran.