The music of Hvile I Kaos is, in some very obvious ways, radically different from what you’ll encounter on most days at NCS. But in other ways it is very much in keeping with the kind of music that typically gets us excited. It seems to function almost like a version of spiritual black metal from an alternate dimension, even though it is predominantly performed with an instrument from the dimension we know. It just happens that the instrument is a cello.
Self-identified as “black ritual chamber musick,” the creations of Hvile I Kaos (which is Norwegian for “to rest in chaos”) occupy a space that is in between extreme metal and classical music, an abnormality in both worlds, creating a world of their own as they unfold. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say “a world of his own”, since those creations are the work of a single California-based multi-instrumentalist (with a bit of vocal assistance here and there) who goes by the name Kakophonix.
We’ve written about Hvile I Kaos on multiple occasions, most recently in June of this year when the subject was a remarkable cover of “Strange Gateways Beckon” by Tribulation (which you can find here). At that time we reported the exciting news that Hvile I Kaos was putting the finishing touches on a new EP entitled Black Morning, Winter Green. That work, which was nearly 10 years in the making, has now been completed, and the EP will be released on December 6th by Red Nebula. One of its three main tracks (“An Inviting Afterglow“) has already been revealed, and today we present another: “Grand Darkness Engulfs“.
Perhaps it’s true that, regardless of the instrument, the best musicians are the ones who use them as if they are extensions of themselves, an intimately connected part of the performer in which thoughts and feelings seem to be directly and fluidly expressed without the mediation of something man-made. The cello is an unusually expressive instrument, capable of a wide range of tones and emotional resonances, and is thus a particularly compatible extension for a capable human performer. And Kakophonix is highly capable, as this new piece abundantly reveals.
Over the course of nearly 13 minutes, occasionally accompanied by acoustic plucking and percussive tapping and thumping, Kakophonix uses his cello to create a marvelous array of sensations — bright sounds of joyous exuberance that whirl and cascade, like a dance that elevates off the ground; moody meditations in which sinister shadows come creeping forward in dying light; anguished frenzies intertwined with moaning grief; dreamlike wistfulness and soulful yearning; expanding visions of sinister and unsettling grandeur; the sounds of tears and torment, and perhaps the channeling of pathways to transcendence.
It is a truly soul-stirring and spellbinding piece of music, capable of spiriting listeners away. The track stops abruptly, but that’s only because you don’t yet have the EP’s final piece which follows it. The day will come when you can listen to the EP straight through — and that will be an experience not to be missed.
Black Morning, Winter Green was mastered by Brent Vallecfuoco (Xanthochroid), and the EP’s layout was designed by Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Wolvhammer). The disturbing yet entrancing cover art was drawn by Satanic artist Erica Frevel.
Below you’ll find pre-order and social media links and a stream of that previously revealed EP opener, “An Inviting Afterglow“, as well as today’s premiere of “Grand Darkness Engulfs“. Enjoy!
1. An Inviting Afterglow
2. Grand Darkness Engulfs
3. A Shock of Winter Green