Sunday, May 16, 2010

The blast beat

Blast beats are explosions, of course, but they are also so much more, and in fact I look at blast beats often with a sort of shy reverence, as if they were black holes and could swallow up anything I threw into them - any conception, evaluation, or interpretation - without reflecting anything back to me, which is to say they are meaningless...and as such eager to be defined, while withdrawing and holding themselves back from all definitions. One of the things I like the most about them is their purity: their unashamed, unabashed freedom of expression, the way they launch themselves forward into "extremity" (which is judged as being outside the rules of aesthetics, but that is all relative and meaningless, especially in a different aesthetics grounded not only in classicism but a simultaneous fragmentation of the same) with so much passion and enthusiasm, becoming a display not only of musical creation but of athletic endurance, blurring the lines between the mind and the body, the spirit and its ability to have an impact on matter. Blasts are the constant process of desire expressing itself in reality, desire pushing matter to conform to itself, the expression, practice, and maintenance of the Will - which is, to say, the exercise of the Will through time (life itself), the creation of experience, the direct focus of the human mind on reality, on its immediate environment. Each beat is a moment of action, a decision, a manifestation. Blasts are also a pure expression, undiluted, of one of the leading tenets or principles of metal: the ability to alter reality or matter in order to fully express the musical vision, and by matter I also of course mean the aesthetics of the art form itself. A movement and series of movements, blasts create conflicting interpretations and evaluations inside the concept of movement itself. It is a beautiful paradox in metal, now, how the constant, unrelenting expression of destructive intent (which never destroys, but only motivates towards destruction - it is powerless in itself without a human interpreter, as all music is) becomes the structure or foundation upon which intricately interlocking architectures of other instrumentation are built, at its heart beating the duality of eternal motion as a glacial set-piece, an unwavering substratum, a tectonic plate, its ever-changing chaotic nature made the unaltering timepiece of external, surrounding expressions of random creativity, fluent improvisation and artistic reflection. Like a star, the rhythms assume a more solid form the farther one travels from their essential nature, and at one step removed - at the distance of the listener (instead of the drummer), the constant rolling change of repetition becomes a smooth chain of being, an entity or essence without differentiation. The faster they pulse, the closer blasts get to permanence. This is the explosion as an unchanging atmosphere, an icon of timelessness at the center of a musical expression of time. In the face of the blast, our concepts of chaos, passion, movement, time, memory, will, desire, and expression are left open and unresolved, the tension from these concepts forced to defeat their own shallow interpretations and appearances, used to fuel even further an aggression that is intransience, a violence that is stability.

U. Amtey
16 December 2004
02:41 CST