Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Warrior Creed and the nobility of war

The German one-man project Apoptose has been one of Lord Bassington-Bassington’s favorite music makers over the last few years. Apoptose have often managed to capture something quite unique, especially with their debut album Nordland, which conjures up deep, almost mystical atmospheres.

They’re also one of the few people out there who can get away with sampling Arvo Pärt...

On their latest release, Warrior Creed, Apoptose team up with the long dormant post-punky neofolk band Joy of Life.

In their active days in the 80s the English band Joy of Life recorded a song, Warrior Creed, based on words written by an unknown Samurai in the 14th century.

Anyone even familiar with Japanese history cannot avoid having noticed the levels of sophistication which the art of war, and the philosophy of struggle, have reached in Japan. Like most manifestiations of human culture such a martial art can be used for good or bad, but that is beside the point here. For while most cultures with any sense recognize that the warrior’s work can be one of great nobility, few cultures have created a martial culture as sublime as that found, for example, in Miyamoto Musashi’s immortal work A Book of Five Rings (one of His Lordship’s favorite books on both history and war).

(Miyamoto Musashi)

Or in that of the Warrior Creed.

A Warrior's Creed

I have no parents:
I make the heavens and Earth my parents.
I have no home: 
I make awareness my home.
I have no life or death:
I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine power:
I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means:
I make understanding my means.
I have no magic secrets:
I make character my magic secret.
I have no body:
I make endurance my body.
I have no eyes:
I make the flash of lightning my eyes.
I have no ears:
I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs:
I make promptness my limbs.
I have no strategy:
I make "unshadowed by thought" my strategy.
I have no design:
I make "seizing opportunity by the forelock" my design.
I have no miracles:
I make right action my miracles.
I have no principles:
I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.
I have no tactics:
I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talents:
I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends:
I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy:
I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armor:
I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.
I have no castle:
I make immovable mind my castle.
I have no sword:
I make absence of mind my sword.

To accompany these sublime words, Joy of Life vocalist Gary Carey's voice (which has matured a bit since the 80s) and Apoptose’s icy electronics are supported by the live drums of the Fanfarenzug Leipzig. This means a whole troop of drummers that give the performance an incredible punch and precision.

The short clip below is from a live performance, with a different vocalist, and sadly does not do the vinyl rendition much justice.

Warrior Creed comes in a 12 inch vinyl housed in one of the most impressive gatefolds His Lordship has seen in a while, in a limited edition of 444 copies. Anyone interested in Industrial music would do well to secure a copy.


  1. Gosh darnit! That's not fair, it's only available on vinyl! *Grumble grumble* I really liked this one. Perhaps I'll end up buying it and digitize it myself :-P

    And Emusic has all of Apoptose's albums available. Along with a lot of Tesco's catalogue of neofolk / dark ambient. Just for the record.

  2. I really sympathise with those who are stuck in the digital age. But then you are quite the wizard when it comes to more modern means of conveying music, so I guess we compliment each other - in some strange way.

  3. I'm looking into borrowing some equipment for digitizing, and dividing the album into tracks for easy use. If I manage to get a hold of something I think works, I'll pick up the vinyl. It'll also give me an excuse to pick up Solblot's album which I've been yearning for like a Norwegian Blue Parrot.

    Didn't find any Apoptose's Nordland at any of my regular webshops, so I picked it up as a digital download through eMusic. Sweet stuff.

  4. I've also seen charming record players available at very reasonable prices, which would allow you to skip the digitalisation completely and just enjoy the spinning vinyl itself.

    The Nordland album has been a favorite for a few years now. It should be played late at night, though, in the company of a book and a glass of port.

  5. I got 2 copies of this vinyl, in case the first one gets a scratch of any sort.
    There is no sound even close to the analog result. The curves are not squares anymore
    and for those who report that this is not detectable at all,
    I report that they can not hear overall.

    Its also a visual travelling to sound. Seeing the scratching bringing forth your sound pleasures alive and turning off the speakers...still there! coming out to haunt your senses.

    Thank you Lord for reminding me this one, I know now what I am doing tonight. Excepting the port. It will be a Mavrodafni instead.

  6. Thanks for the comment, I had forgotten this post by now. But I think I will spin this vinyl tonight, too. And perhaps have a small glass of ruby by my side.