Underground Sounds: Melopœia – Tolkien’s Ainulindalë

Label: –
Band: Melopœia
Origin: Canada

There’s so much geek going on here, that I probably have to start with a lot of definitions here and some I will struggle with.
Melopœia makes Xenharmonic, Tolkien-Inspired Black Metal by using scriptophony. Let me start with the easy stuff…

Ainulindalë: Ainulindalë is the first part of the Silmarillion, the creation myth of Middle-Earth, the world where Tolkiens stories take place. In the book it’s shaped by a symphony of interwoven themes. It’s quite beautiful.
Scriptophony: Basically it means translating script to music, so the wizz behind this project assigned every letter to a tone and thus let the words of the story shape the music. It’s weird, but cool.
Xenharmonic/Microtonal: This part baffles me, but I guess you can say that its music that uses different scales and intervals to create songs. In a way it’s just ignoring the conventional tones and scales. But please, look to wikipedia for more.

So, who is this madman responsible for this project? That would be Dave Tremblay (Dinosaurs Are Not Gone!, VodAwaken The Ghosts and many more). Brian Leong does the vocal parts of the record. What you get is a wild ride of music that makes little to no sense the first time around. The sound is frantic, confusing and highly irregular, but also dense and complex to the ears. Sometimes it´s a burst of black metal like riffing and threatening tones, but other moments the music is trickling minimal. Stopping and starting on completely surprising moments, it´s not a calm experience, but a crazy trip.

It was never ment to be enjoyed by the listener, but still this record fascinates me. If you´d like to learn more, maybe check out this article by Dave himself concerning the project. There are interesting connections to groups like Botanist and Jute Gyte, both active in the black metal realm, but completely on their own terms. The mutating, radical approach to music definitely fits in with the genre itself I think.

So why would you listen to this record, if it´s so tricky and difficult? Well, I’ve spoken to many people who started reading The Silmarillion and got stuck in fact in the Ainulindalë. It’s a shame, because the book offers so much great stories, but I get that this part is difficult. In a way this album translates that to actual music, to an experience akin to the chapter. Understanding the effort behind both may help readers appreciate it more for its beautiful writing and complexity, which goes as well for the music. Sure, sometimes its closing in on noise, but there’s beauty as well. So all in all, not unlike the harmonious song of the Valar and Eru.

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