It all started with Stiff Miners and moved on with Parzival. The Russian Electro-Industrial project is based in Denmark and this year released their eleventh full length album. “Ordalium”, released by Moondrop Records, is the first chapter of the trilogy “Tradition And Discipline”. The work features the familiar Parzival-sound, which can be mainly described as Epic-Electronics. I talked about this new masterpiece with front man Dimitrij Bablevskij.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Can you draw up the balance sheet of more than twenty years of activities including ten albums? What have been the biggest satisfactions and challenges?
Dimitrij: Well, let’s say it’s too early to sum up the results, because the work is still far from complete, and the result, as we know, is summed up at the end of the road, but what about which albums were the most difficult? Probably for various reasons, we always overestimate the border before starting to work on a new album –and we are never looking for easy ways. One of the biggest challenges was the “Casta” album due to the recording of Indian instruments and the combination of European oriental harmonies and the concept in general.
Q: Your new album “Ordalium” is the first chapter of a trilogy entitled “Tradition And Discipline”. What is the trilogy all about and what have been the influences and triggers?
Dimitrij: The name of trilogy speaks for itself: it is somewhat sarcastic. “Tradition And Discipline”, which means that over the years we have not lost the ability to traditionally make music no matter what. This is where discipline comes up -as “Bushido” for an artist . Well, and the second seriously trigger for the name was the base on a philosophical vision “The Primordial Tradition” -that we have carried from the very beginning of the founding of the group. The trilogy “Tradition And Discipline” will be a result of accumulated experience by Parzival -mining of tradition in this concept “The Primordial Tradition” signifies the truths or principles of the divine source revealed to mankind, and indeed the whole cosmic sector, seen through various images as messiahs, prophets, avatars, the Logos, or other means of transmitting knowledge.
This structure promotes the application of these principles in various fields such as law, social systems, art, symbolism, science and in its more universal sense. Tradition includes laws that bring a person closer to divinity. Well, to translate this whole concept into music requires external and internal discipline. “Discipline -this is not a restriction of freedom. this is the cutting off of everything that interferes and is not necessary.
Q: Do you already have an idea about how the next albums will sound like and what will differentiate the albums from each other?
Dimitrij: Of course, we have a complete idea of how the next two albums of the trilogy should be. Album number two “Grimoire” is 60 percent finished, maybe more, the sound concept is thought out and music composed. So only what is needed to be done is recording of voices and guitars. The sound of that album will be more aggressive and saturated with electronic sound, which will give some coldness and alienation. It is difficult to describe the sound in detail –it must be heard, when it’s done. The third album of “Tradition And Discipline” will be called “Teurga” and will have a more transparent sound with more use of strings and acoustic instruments, which will add lightness and melancholia, thus dividing the trilogy into three different colors but united by one idea. Memorization was found and approved not long ago.
Q: How did “Ordalium” took shape? What have been the different stages in the writing- & production process and in which way did the ongoing pandemic have an impact on your way of working and the release date?
Dimitrij: Well, globally, and from a technical point of view considering recording, mixing and mastering “Ordalium” was created in a very routine way. Nothing out of the ordinary or supernatural, but it took some time to come up with a sound concept, we always set some boundaries when recording an album, for example, what instruments we will use and what memorization and if the choice suits us. Then during the work on the project we do not deviate from the set parameters and clearly follow the chosen path. the rest was in a frozen state including live concerts. The pandemic did not affect the release date that much.
Q: You’ve also a new clip ready for the song “Toads And Vipers”. What did you try to express by the clip? Tell us a bit more about the location and preparation of the clip? How important are clips today?
Dimitrij: I don’t know how successfully we managed to display in our new video what we wanted to convey so we’ll try to explain here thanks to you for giving us such an opportunity. Through symbolic visualization, we wanted to display the connection of industrial power with a special subculture of the world tradition -esotericism, hermeticism ‘psychocosmos’ of the lonely state of the human Egregore searching for a way out of the soulless industrial machine (which symbolizes our modern existence) with the help of Ritual-ceremonial gestures it’s like reading Roger Bacon’s “Opus Tertium”-alchemy treaty’s in a steel shop preparation for the production of the video was very trivial.
At first we found this wonderful location that was perfect for our concept (it is an old water tower in brutalist style located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, nowadays it is used for alternative exhibitions by independent artists). Then we chose a day that suited everyone. They set up the light and they made several tests and within 10 hours they completed the whole process so that’s the whole secret.
About the importance of clips in our difficult time, this is a very interesting question for groups of great commercial success, probably this is not a very important aspect of their creative activity, because they are already on the very surface of the information field. For underground bands it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate their art to a larger audience, especially with such a powerful development of Internet sites.
Q: I can easily imagine you must be affected by the war in Ukraine. How do you experience the situation and the consequences of war? And what’s the true power of music and arts to bring people relief and connection?”
Dimitrij: Such a situation that occurred in Ukraine was quite predictable, but unfortunately ‘so-called progressive part of mankind’ considered the smoldering conflict very one-sided, sometimes brushing aside the realities of the problem and often not understanding its depth and significance for all involved parties or not wanting to understand for the sake of the political situation -and now we have the sadly known consequences. That is naturally very sad, touching and upsetting -but on the other hand, armed conflicts occur and will occur always and everywhere, and unfortunately this is not an extraordinary situation we never experienced before. All human history is accompanied by clashes of varying severity -such is the man. It seems to me that modern people lacks beauty. The beauty of simple everyday life, expressed in the simplicity of the lines of the surrounding urban or rural landscape. Complex beauty, the result of the work of a genius, based on research and experience, whose perception requires preparation. Beauty objective, captivating the heart and making you freeze with delight. I know several places in the world that elevate a person in this way: only art and music can pick him/her up and lift him/her somewhere high, where we can get relief and unity.
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