While defying the rules of specific genres or styles is something Nordvargr is known for, Henrik Nordvargr is one of the most prolific masterminds behind such acts as MZ. 412, Poupee Fabrikk, All Hail the Transcending Ghost and many others.
So when Malignant Records presented me with the opportunity to review The Secret Barbarous Names, the new album from Nordvargr, needless to say I was excited. However, given Henrik Nordvargr’s stature, I was a bit apprehensive to assume or presume what he was up to with this magnificent and moving release. So, in this case and out of respect for Mr. Nordvargr, I decided to let the majority of this piece come from the man himself.
Let me just say this though…. The Secret Barbarous Names is a very deep, often haunting, always moving album that you can’t just hear… you must listen. Music like this deserves your attention and respect. Henrik Nordvargr is an artist; a highly gifted and prolific one at that.
TNBtS: Your site states that the album is “inspired by the Draconian and Tryponian traditions. The title refers to the hidden meanings of the countless manuscripts that have been kept secret for millennia…” Can you maybe break down some of the titles and give us an idea behind them specifically? Why the decision to work on this subject?
N: I will not break down the individual pieces as they are closely linked to personal experiences in both awakened and astral states, and thus it is either too intimate or too abstract to share. The decision to work with vocals and to focus on channeling the material rather than “classic composing” just came to me naturally as a product of my spiritual work. I have also been reading a lot of interesting books which has inspired the process, mainly old Gnostic texts and Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian Trilogies. Texts that contain what can be called secret barbarous names have been around much longer than the old grimoires and appear in most ancient cultures, albeit called by other names. These common traits in spiritual practice fascinates me and served as the inspiration when working with this recording.”
TNBtS: With the Nordvargr project…how does this motivate or inspire you differently from other projects? Is the composition process different?
N: When working under my own name I usually tend to focus on ambient textures and less structure or rhythmic content, but there are no specific limitations or rules to what I release as Nordvargr. It is more a question of feeling and atmosphere. The way I compose differs from time to time depending on what I want to achieve.
TNBtS: The vocals are the obvious prominent instrument on this release. It’s almost like a “vocal drone” style is newly created. Can you talk about the vocal production an dhow you get the desired effect?
N: As I mentioned earlier, the recordings for this album were all channeled and improvised. In most cases I recorded them in connection with meditation and just kept the mic open and th e recording rolling. I later listened through all the materials and used what conveyed the most feelings and meaning to me. Then came the process of reshaping the vocals into sounds and adding effects where needed. It was quite challenging to limit myself to use the vocals as the main focus as I usually work with other hardware when composing, but in the end I think the result was very satisfying.
TNBtS: How motivated are you (or were you with this album) by the possible experience of the listener? What I mean is, is it important to you for the listener to take away something or use their imagination instead of just letting it go in one ear and out the other?
N: I want people to feel something when listening to my music – especially these recordings. There are vibrations in them that may affect you if you have an open mind and ear. I should also mention that these recordings can be seen as a “bridge” between the previously released album “Anima Nostra” (collab with Margaux Renaudin, Cold Spring Records 2016) and the forthcoming Anima Nostra (now reformed as a group) album. It will be apparent when hearing all three albums how this ties them together.
TNBtS: It’s many years later and a distant family member locates a box with this album in it. What do you what them to know about you from listening to the music and lyrics?
N: I think you can feel me in my work, my residue, my spirit, my vibrations, my love. It is something you need to feel rather than read or see. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in my inner universe and you will find me there. Always. Outside the circles of time.
TNBtS: Thanks for your time. I know you’re busy. Any parting words for readers or your listeners?
N: Thank you for your support. 2017 will be a very interesting year. Check http://www.nordvargr.com to stay informed.
The Secret Barbrous Names was unleashed January 17 via Malignant records. 9 tracks, 48 minutes. Limited digipac edition.