Wednesday, 26 May 2010

A summery shrine to Tsathoggua

These Chronicles will, in all likelihood, take a break in publication for the duration of the summer. Lord Bassington-Bassington would like to wish all his faithful readers (yes, we know there is something wrong with that sentence, but we haven't got the heart to tell His Lordship) a good summer, and would like to share this snapshot of His improvised shrine to Tsathoggua, the Toad God.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Playlist, Café Grössenwahn

A few weeks ago, we here from Bassington Manor did our best to entertain the elegant ladies and gentlemen at Café Grössenwahn by spinning some tunes for them. In case you are interested, here is what was spun. DJ Baetylos handled the first part of the evening.

Since everyone knows that MP3s are soooo 2010, we’re happy to announce that half of these tracks were played from real, old-fashioned (is there any other fashion?) vinyl.

Derniere Volonte: "Toujours" (7 inch version)
Sol Invictus: "Among the Ruins"
Cult of Youth: "Train to Kill"
Klammheim: "Heimat"
Joy of Life & Apoptose: "Violet Creed"
TriORE: "Europa’s Dream"
Spiritual Front: "No Kisses on the Mouth" (Nihilist EP version)
Down in June: "The Enemy Within"
Ronny: "Blue Cabaret"
Ostara: "The First Day of Summer"
Sonne Hagal: "Midsummernight"
The Green Man: "Liber Al"
Die Weisse Rose: "Nicht Schuldig"
Current 93: "They Return to Their Earth"
Sturmpercht: "Der Tanz des Tatzelwurms"
Death in June: "Unconditional Armistice"
This Immortal Coil: "Ostia"
Hawthorn: "Wormwood Season"
Of the Wand and the Moon: "Hail Hail Hail" (Bollywood mix)
Dead Can Dance: The Carnival is Over

(That young rascal, Winthrope Bassington-Bassington, spinning some Danish industrial vinyl.)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Dominion Press - now on the Interwebs

Shamelessly nepotistical promotional plug: Presumably after getting access to a vril-powered steam modem, Annabel Lee and Michael Moynihan's publishing house Dominion Press have finally gotten a website. Which means you have one excuse less for not purchasing their books.

Lord Bassington-Bassington owns copies of every title released by Dominion, and they are produced to amazing standards. And that's just the bindings!

Whether you agree with every comma in these books is beside the point. For if you have any interest at all in the obscure, arcane or extreme - and why else would you be reading these Chronicles? - Dominion Press is an inevitable aquaintance. You might as well strike up that aquaintance now.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Whisperer in Darkness: The Trailer

Lord Bassington-Bassington is working on the program for the next Little Storping in-the-Swuff Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Lewis Theobald III and Sundry Mythos Writers Cinematographic Festival (and Open Absinthe Bar). And to his lordship's delight, work on the dramatization of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Whisperer in Darkness" seems to be continuing at a good pace.

The project is done by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, who gave us the excellent silent version of the Call of Cthulhu a few years ago. "The Whisperer in Darkness" will use a more commercial approach (it's a talkie), but it still looks like that rarest of cinematographic creatures: The faithful H.P. Lovecraft adaptation.

The trailer for "The Whisperer" is too broad to be embedded in the Chronicles, so you'll have to go to their blog or to YouTube to see it. Do this.

This will, quite possibly, be the most satisfying Lovecraft film ever produced.

(Miskatonic University, as imagined by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society).

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

S(ermo) III: Lovecraftian ambient

Dark music influenced by H.P. Lovecraft’s writings is about as hard to find as gospel music influenced by the New Testament. But it’s not every day that someone releases a whole album based on Lovecraftian lore, especially not someone who is a good friend of us here at the Chronicles. But this has just happened, as Norwegian ambient outfit S(ermo) III have released their debut album Easy Listening for the Great Old Ones. It's available in an ultra-limited, handmade edition, at a S(ermo) III website near you.

We suspect that it was Lord Bassington-Bassington himself who suggested the idea of a whole record of background music for Lovecraftian reading. We’ve tried that out here at Bassington Manor, and must say that Easy Listening for the Great Old Ones really makes one want to dip into the works by the Gentleman of Providence - and stay there for a good while. So we thought it only fitting to bring you a short interview with the illustrious young man behind the project, Marius Huseby.

- You have a background in extreme metal and very confrontational noise. How did the idea to make dark ambient – which, as we know, is new age music for goths – come about? And what are you doing besides R’Lyehan lounge music?

- Extreme metal and noise was starting to give me migraines, and I wanted to make music I could actually enjoy listening to myself. That is, basically, it. But I have also in the last few years opened my ears to a lot of dark ambient and darkwave music, and I figured I'd try to see if I could make anything interesting.

- I am, however, still doing the extreme metal thing, in spite of my migraines. I'm such a glutton for punishment. Fantöft and Eliminate are my two main priorities at the moment.

- Your latest release is entirely based around Lovecraftian concepts. Why are you so attracted to the Lovecraftian, and has the Gentleman of Providence influenced the way you see the world? Has he affected your religious and political views?

- I discovered Lovecraft at a rather early age; I think I read The Call Of Cthulhu when I was thirteen, and it did something to me. Something Unclean, Other-Worldly and Eldritch took hold of my Soul and made me the Horror Fiend I am today. Lovecraft has influenced my religious views indirectly, as he was a huge influence on Herr Doktor Anton Szandor LaVey and the Church of Satan, an organisation that I am a proud member of.

- Politically, I am so near total schizophrenia, my influences so vastly tangled, that anyone trying to get to the bottom of it would end up lost in a maze of Non-Euclidean Horrors Beyond All Time.

(Satanic carny style, as interpreted by Coop.)

- On the subject of Satanism, you seem to be one of the few people from the black metal subculture in Norway with the guts to be influenced by La Vey’s ”carny” style instead of the hippie/transvestite-in-black look common with male metalheads. What are your experiences with this, and have you any thoughts on how your style will progress in the future?

- Actually, I did do the Black-Clad Hippie thing for quite some time in my teens/early twenties. It got old real quick. I prefer the really outrageous attire of the carny, using COOP's Satan drawings as inspiration. Lately, I have been finding some real gems in second-hand stores, and I have a feeling my style will develop more and more into early 20's/30's British aristocracy. I'm a sucker for tweed. And checkered jackets!

(Skrållan Huseby, guest vocalist - or perhaps "purrer" – on the track "Atal's Cat".)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Café Grössenwahn - opening night

And suddenly it had happened. Oslo, and Norway, had its first neofolk club – Café Grössenwahn.

As is usual with an opening night, most natural laws were replaced by Murphy’s law. It’s hard to work a volcanic eruption into your plans, and we are eternally grateful to Solblot for stepping in at the last minute to replace Duo Noir.

Solblot gave an electric performance in front of about 70 immaculately attired members of the Norwegian Society for Megalomania (which also contains Austrian, Swedish, Danish, French and Polish members), and Lord Bassington-Bassington seems to recall spontaneous outbreaks of folk dancing fuelled by absinthe and Weissbier. An inauguration ritual and performed by a merry assortment of practicising magicians and burlesque models (and set to music specially composed by ambient masters K100) also added a touch of the extraordinary to the evening.

We're also very proud of our logo, created by dynamic design duo Trine og Kim.

All things considered, we dare call it a success. And we’re already looking forward to the sequel on June 12th, which will be a tribute to neofolk film The Wicker Man featuring Italian band The Green Man.

Here are some pictures from the opening night. Thanks to Lady Mju for providing them. If some of the pictures are a bit blurry, we suspect it has something to do with the fact that this club night quite possibly set some Norwegian record for the sale of absinthe - at least on this side of the 1890s.

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Book of the Law in Norwegian

We tend to like Crowleyites here at Bassington Manor. Yes, we know that some of them take that Aleister Crowley guy much too seriously, but the Crowleyites we run across here in Norway always seem to embody the best of ol' Uncle Al - joie de vivre, spiritual curiosity and a fantastic sense of humour.

So we’re quite happy to support our local Crowleyites by announcing that the Norwegian branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis have finally gotten the website supporting their translation of Crowley’s pivotal work, the Liber al Vel Legis (better known as the Book of the Law) up and running.

The book is truly beautifully produced, very reasonably priced and highly recommended. We suggest you go get it.

Of course, whether you believe Crowley’s story about how the book was revealed or not has absolutely no relevance to enjoyment of this highly poetic and thoroughly cryptic text. If you have the slightest interest in modern religious movements, and can understand Norwegian, this is an indispensable release. And if you’re one of those people who collect translations of The Book of the Law, you now have a small treasure to add to your collection.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Old men are cooler than you, part two

We've already established that old sikhs are cooler than you, so this time we though we'd do something a bit more Occidental.

Clothing company Peter Christian have, by a stroke of luck - or of genius - hired a spokesperson who is a bit more interesting than the usual footballers, rock musicians or actors who get such jobs. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Major Hoad!

In a series of delightful YouTube videos he lays down the law about proper dress.

We here at the Chronicles especially liked the Major's tribute to Lord Bassington-Bassington's favourite type of coat...

...and his thoughts on the monocle.

But the high point of the videos is undoubtedly Major Hoad's dissection of modern habits when it comes to combining checks and stripes. We here at Bassington Manor have a certain weakness for certain aspects of how they dress over in the colonies, but we couldn't resist Major Hoad's astute observations in the matters of American taste.

Major Hoad raises many questions. Namely: Is he for real? Is he an actor? Is he computer-generated? Is he drunk - note the whisky glass next to him?

The most important question, though, is: How can one hope to become as cool as the Major? We suspect the only way any mere mortal can hope to reach to Major Hoad's immaculately creased trouser knees is to spend five decades in a time capsule, totally cut off from contact with the world outside except by regular deliveries of whisky.

We fear that this might be impossible. So once again, we have solid proof: Old men like Major Hoad are cooler than you.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Norwegian – and Lovecraftian – art

As anyone who has read H.P. Lovecraft "The Call of Cthulhu" (or seen the film adaptation) knows, artists have always been particiularily sensitive to the messages of the Great Old Ones. They often end up painting Mythos motifs whether they realize it or not. And Norwegian artsts are not immune from this.

One particularily shining - and recent - example is Johannes Høie, while a restrospective of Norwegian surrealist art at Oslo's Stenersen Museum demonstrated that not only young artists like Mr. Høie have fallen under the spell of the Mythos. Lord Bassington-Bassington recently waddled through this exhibition, and was struck by the sheer number of clearly Lovecraftian themes being on display.

Some of these pictures are just snapped with an iPhone - we apologise for the poor quality, but thought it worthwhile to share them with our readers anyway.

Adolph Denis Horn's "Demon and Cathedral with light" from 1971 clearly depicts the multi-dimensional chaos that is Yog-Sothoth. While Horn's website also has some great depictions that can only be dream-sent images of R'Lyeh.

While Bjørn Bjarre's "Abstract feeling 61" is an obvious depiction of a shoggoth.

And this picture by Marianne Heske obviously shows the unnatural matings happening around a certain decrepit Massachusets fishing town, and the so-called "Innsmouth look" that results from it.

While Hege E. Nyborg's "Hearing Voices II" should require no comment for any Lovecraftian...

(In Sweden, of course, people with a hankering for Lovecraftian art have Mr. Kvant of Scania for guidance).

Saturday, 1 May 2010

The Process Church - a ritual resurrected

Of all the world’s churches, sects and cults, the Process Church Of The Final Judgement remains one of those who have most captured Lord Bassington-Bassington’s imagination.

The Process Church was short-lived and miniscule sect, long vanished in the mists of time, but their ideas were highly interesting and they have also had an influence on a lot of music Lord Bassington-Bassington enjoys. Ranging from ur-neofolk band Changes through Psychic TV and even Skinny Puppy and Funkadelic.

To put it much too shortly, the Process Church was a result of the mixing of modern psychology and ancient religion that so characterized the religious subcultures of the 1960s. The Process Church started, oddly enough, as an offshoot of Scientology, and moved towards a Gnostic mysticism dressed in Gothic robes (while preaching that Satan and God had been reconciled) before ending up as a more orthodox Christian congregation.

While William Sims Bainbridge’s academic treatise Satan’s Power might be the most comprehensive publication about The Processeans and their theology and practices, there are several good articles about the Church on the Internet - from the Wikipedia entry to Gary Lachman’s article.

Also, Feral House recently released one of the best books available on the subject.

One interesting result from this latest book release has been that some of the Process Church’s rituals have been resurrected and performed in front of curious audiences. This video shows one such ritual. And speaking of Psychic TV, yes, that is Genesis P-Orridge officiating.