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Sound Space Excursions - About the Ambient Music of the German sound project Inade
by Marcus Stiglegger
Inade portrait in e|i-Magazine #5 Fall 2005
by David Cotner
Inade: Masters Of The Unknown, The Sonically Obscure… Spectrum-Magazine (September 2000)
by JC Smith
Colliding Dimensions Tour-Report
by Jason Mantis
Inade Interview Black-Magazin Herbst 2001 (German)
with H.Meyer

Sound Space Excursions

About the Ambient Music of the German sound project Inade

by Marcus Stiglegger

"Inade go to places that even the most vivid dark sonicscape practitioners have yet to traverse."
J. C. Smith, Spectrum Magazine (2000)

Music and space - a direct relationship has to be defined here: Music unfolds in space, but also simultaneously creates a new, virtual space: the sound space. Entirely independent from this rather general association, there exists another specific circumstance. It has a name that seems diffuse at first: Ambient. Generally, Ambient Music is perceived as an unobtrusive soundscape that has an affirmative effect on its sound space - the environment in which it resounds. However, the term Ambient Music made music history in a different context. Introduced by British conceptual artist and musician Brian Eno, it simultaneously describes a musical style as well as a specialized method of dealing with the relationship of sound and space. He writes: "Ambiance is defined as atmosphere or enveloping influence […]. It is my goal to produce original compositions for specific times and situations, the aim being a comprehensive catalog of background music with a wide variety of moods and atmospheres. […] Ambient Music must be able to address several levels of the listener's attention without forcing itself onto a certain one." The musical means of this sound art are gradually crescending frequencies, overlapping layers of sound, voice modulations, effected field recordings, piano accents, and more seldomly, also darkly droning layers of sound. Eric Satie called this "musique ameublement", "music as interior decoration", which should be present yet should not interfere with the conversation of those present.

But this aspect of "background music" was not as simple after all. Ambient Music in turn influences the perception of space. It guides the listener's attention, and is able to virtually contract or expand the space. Especially when used for artistic installations, Ambient Music can receive an elemental significance and guide and support the attention of the viewer.

On its quieter improvisations dating from the late 1970s, but especially on the soundtrack to Derek Jarman's "In the Shadow of the Sun" (1981), the British performance quartet Throbbing Gristle created extremely opressive, dark soundscapes: distorted modulations, producing 'mournful' frequencies, overlayed disturbing bass drones, reverberating crystalline sounds accompanied metallic vibrations… With this latter composition, "Dark Ambient", an apocalyptic inversion of Eno's original definition, had been born. It managed to combine the concepts of noise music (according to "L'Arte dei Rumori" by Luigi Russolo) and Satie's "music d'ameublement" into a singular style which was refined throughout the 1980s, but has only reached the apex of its popularity within the last ten years.

Back in the early 1990s, Dark Ambient sounds could already be heard emerging from Aue in the Erzgebirge (the "Ore Mountains" region of Saxony), specifically on two audio cassettes by the duo Inade: "Schwerttau" ("Sword Dew", 1992) and "Burning Flesh/Seelenhain" ("Grove of Souls" 1993) were still testing the limits of the sound equipment at their disposal, and searching amidst the stylistic territories of Post-Industrial and Ambient Musics. In 2000, a few of these early recordings could be heard again on the "Burning Flesh" CD and unfolded a darkly fatalistic world view with its reverberating noise textures, chorales and occasional monotone ritualistic rhythms. The terrifying images evoked by the CD title were reinforced in corresponding titles "Shattered Bones", "The Coming of Black Legions", "Final Prayer", "Outcry" etc.

The first vinyl release came in the form of a 7" that was part of the legendary "Drone-Series". In this lovingly realised series, the visual presentation of the first edition is always designed by the sound artist(s) themselves. "The Axxiarm Plains" (1994) is dedicated to the Russian Futurist Vladimir Vladimirowich Majakowski (1893-1930), who declared the need for an "Art in Movement": "Movement! We do not need a mausoleum for art, where dead works can be viewed, but rather living factories of the human spirit." This quote from his work Movement and Construction is included in the 7" insert. Consequently, this three-part miniature is totally dedicated to invoking energy through sound. The reference to the theme is not made through declarative exclamations or samples, but rather via carefully layered walls of sound that undergo an ongoing differentiation and almost take on a melodic character in the third part. Thematically, this release is still far removed from the occult concepts of later works, although movement, space and energy already are central concerns.

Inade is an artistic moniker, an invented or possibly constructed name. Whether it constitutes a condensation of the artists' will, a sigil, does not matter in the end. Inade has long since become a surface for projection, the source of a certain expectation. Inade is a complex conception of the world via language, image and sound. In this presentation, and also in live concerts, the human voice plays a equally important role as the electronic components and treated sounds. Already on "Burning Flesh", we hear this voice as invocational mantra over the cascades of droning soundscapes… "It is our main interest to transform ideas and concepts that correspond to our own thoughts and interests. Inade is like a sonar, an echo location into unseen and unheard regions and abstract spheres, where the nameless and unnameable is alive" the musicians stated in Spectrum magazine (September 2000). It is their intention "to go beyond the in part static and often repetitive working principle of Ambient Music by adding further attributes" (Black, Autumn 2001).

The first milestone work of Inade is the CD "Aldebaran", released in England in 1996 and named after that dying sun that radiates its violet light on many an evening. For some, Aldebaran is synonimous with the esoteric "Black Sun" the 'divine light of knowledge'. It is not necessary to delve into such notions in order to perceive this constellation as a symbol of a deeply spiritual source of energy, somewhat comparable to the "creative vortex" of the English Vorticists (Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, etc.). In the booklet of "Aldebaran" we read the following, written in almost biblical tone: "This is the beginning of the end for you and me. The black light of the universe illuminates the inner world. Open your eyes - the 68 dimensions… This is the step where the shadows of the secret knowledge darken reality. Ascertain the traces of the past, they could show you the way to the light. All is one! Breathe the energy! Feel the pulse of the universe! Invoke the power as part of the law! Die! Become! Become! Die! This is a dream. And this is the end of the beginning". The cosmic cycle indicated here corresponds to the basic assumptions of alchemy, which in turn inspired the idea of the invisible black sun that forms a reciprocal relationship with the visible white sun. Like an endlessly turned hourglass, these two suns send and receive the energy of the other. They form the cyclical relationship of "Sun-Ur" which is hinted at by the motto "Die and become!" In addition, this work ends with the visionary words of Ernst Jünger: "The real is equally as magical as the magical is real".

With "The Crackling of the Anonymous" Knut Enderlein and René Lehmann continued the cosmic concept of "Aldebaran". The title describes "the symbol of a bright shining unexpected impact, followed by a calm vibration, as a kind of disharmonic phenomena whose repolarisation is effected through divine signs or even through anonymous factors. The radiance emitted by such gates of incidence can also have a physical effect and can even be visible, but of course people almost always only see that which they believe and only in seldom cases that which they cannot fathom. But the meaning and purpose of all manifestation is the coming into consciousness that results from these fields of radiation. Here, the symblic overcoming of pain takes place, a cosmic necessity that precedes all realization. In this context, pain does not correspond to physical suffering but instead is the threshhold to the vortex of life which in turn leads to eternity." (Black, Autumn 2000). This idea directly refers to the sound space which is conjured up by the music: "an aural journey, guiding the listener into a transcendent cosmic state of agitation full of kinetic structures, bizarre shapes and titanic sculptures." (ibid). Even though it was conceived as a sequel to "Aldebaran", "Crackling…" has turned out to be decisively more complex and multi-layered. Since the last album, the musicians had developed a new and unique stylistic attribute on a few singles and contributions to compilations: a turbine like rhythm and heavily delayed beats that seem to weigh in with tons of force. This sound was perfected on the piece "Cherub" from the "Saturn Gnosis" 10" box and on track 3 of "Crackling…": "Chapel Perilous". Similar elements were already hinted at on parts of "Burning Flesh" but now reached markedly increased tonal depth.

As already indicated, the philosophical aspects of their worldview or Weltanschauung, play an important role in Inade's work. So far, two compilations dedicated to the occult underground in early 20th century Germany have appeared in the series "Germania Occulta" which is produced in collaboration with Turbund Sturmwerk and also features other musically and conceptually kindred musicians. "Saturn Gnosis" dealt with the concepts of Gregor A. Gregorius and "Peryt Shou" with the ideas of the "spiritual seeker and teacher" of the same name. In these elaborately designed combinations of vinyl records and booklets, sound space, spiritual idea and conceptual art have merged effortlessly. And on their numerous contributions to other compilations, the musicians from Leipzig have dedicated themselves to further developing their concept. "The Quiet Room" an exerpt from a larger unreleased work that can be found on "…in the Crystal Cage" (2004), uses Jim Morrison's words to remind us of something which we had long forgotten: "We're trying for something that's already found us…"

The music journalist Martin Büsser once remarked that sound art tended towards the realm of the 'esoteric'. This probably stems from the fact that musical sound evades the intellect even easier - and is more fleeting - than the filmic image or even the written word. At the same time, sounds are difficult to transform into language in order to subject them to a generally comprehensible analysis. In his phenomenology of the media, "Unter Verdacht" ("Under Suspicion" 2000), Boris Groys refers to the suspicious impetus of modern art. The possibly banal appears special since it arouses the 'suspicion' in the viewer that something 'else' is hidden under the perceptible surface, in the "submedial space". And what if this suspicion should be in fact confirmed? Büsser's misgiving that sound art tends towards the 'esoteric' - his 'suspicion' - is perhaps completely undone by the occult sound art of Inade. Of course, their works can be consumed out of the pure enjoyment of 'physical' sound, but Inade's idea to symbiotically join sound and concept in order to explore new, uncharted territories promises much more than just aesthetic enjoyment. "Aldebaran" and "Crackling of the Anonymous" have established themselves over the years as convincing total works of art ("Gesamtkunstwerke") that reopen the gates of perception with every new listen and uncover vistas of realms that are usually obscured by the everyday ballast of a materialist industrial world that has forgotten how to listen to its most subtle receptors. That is why it most likely requires a musical tremor like Inade in order to once again conjure up such a state of 'transcendental trembling'…

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