Back on January, one man black metal project Titaan released ‘Kadingir’; an album that still stands as one of the best in the genre this year. In review I described its sound as mysterious, ” the pendulum swinging between violent night terrors and eerie visions.” Its union of aggressive 2nd wave and ominous ambient is matched perhaps only by that of Schammasch’s ‘Triangle’, though each album has its own unique take on the style. Mastermind Lalartu took the time to (in his own way) answer our questions about the album, influences, and black metal in general. His responses are some of the most interesting, and at times puzzling, content I have received to date.
Transcending Obscurity (FlightOfIcarus): Mesopotamic Culture seems to be an important influence on Kadingir, what got you interested in the subject?
Titaan (Lalartu): I strengthen my interest through studies, readings, dedication and comprehension of what I believe. It’s the source and matrix of the most powerful and influential social-magical-cultural aspect of the entire mankind and universe as well. An immeasurable power offered from the deepest past by the Former Forces Creators of the Whole, and cruelly forgotten.
TO: I’ve read your somewhat cryptic summary of the album. Could you tell us a little more about the specific concepts?
L: I believe the answer could be merely unveiled in ‘Kadingir’ itself. In my opinion, the reason why people try to explain in details their own music, is because they are afraid that the listeners will not understand. I instead support the idea for which only music, and in my case even more, can transmit certain messages through specific codes and those messages will be decrypted solely when the receiving will be the one for whom these same messages were really looking for. If this process does’t happen, each unit of the entire message will be brought back waiting to be re-invoked once more but by the right receiving.
TO: The balance of highs and lows on this album really struck me. There is a very intentional flow of where the aggression and ambience are placed. What do you feel is the benefit of utilizing both of these styles?
L: There isn’t a common explanation based on the code used to develop ‘Kadingir’. The structure of the album, despite being full of deep and occult messages consciously pointed, didn’t follow a prior fixed and intentional flow if we talk of the union between black metal and dark ambient. That’s it and this had to be since the origin. I’m truly convinced that whatever expression of aggression necessarily needs a counterpart of obscure deep calm, in a way to create an insoluble endless perpetual motion of destruction and creation.
TO: You do this all yourself, which is very impressive. Could you tell us more about what your process is like? What order do you record things? Where do you start?
L: Creating something all by yourself gives the opportunity to manage any positive or negative aspects without interacting with other members. The result is something extremely personal and sincere, your very “I.” Titaan is Lalartu as Lalartu is Titaan. The writing of ‘Kadingir’ was not a prior agreed process, but a natural and personal path built step by step, generated from my soul and my mind wihout any defined beginning. Same it will happen for its end, when and if there will be one.
TO: How long did it take to write ‘Kadingir’?
L: I am not honestly able to quantify how much time I spent for creating ‘Kadingir,’ being a part of me I think it has been always in my mind. There are things which reveal themselves all alone and lead your instinct, and you don’t have to worry to express them freely. It doesn’t matter, when a concept is shaped naturally, if it’s acclaimed or not, because it’s just that, simply as it is. I work continuosly on Titaan project.
TO: Were there any atypical instruments used on this album?
L: I didn’t use instruments I believe can be consider atypical during the recording of ‘Kadingir’, but actually my evaluation depends on what the mass consider “particular” or “atypical”. By the way, I confirm the use of totally usual instruments. (TO: I must interject that this response made me chuckle quite a bit)
TO: Which is your favorite song and why?
L: I don’t have a favorite song in ‘Kadingir’. Each single track is part of the same core,a kind of journey through dimentional portals connecting Earth to the Universive. It happened that someone, both reviewers and general users, questioned things like “I don’t understand why ‘Kadingir’ has some played tracks and others ambient?” or even some who are embarassed or sorrowful asking “why?” My aswer is easy…If you are not able to decrypt my code, this album probably is not for you, nothing more and nothing less.
TO: What was the last album you listened to?
L: I am not used to talk about what I listen, even because I don’t follow a unique direction, but certainly bands as Blut Aus Nord, Malthusian, Irkallian Oracle and I’ll Omen are worth to listen and deserve attention.
TO: On a more general note, what does black metal mean to you? Why choose this particular medium?
L: Black Metal is in my opinion the most introspective, obscure, emotional and inmost genre which exhists. You don’t choose for Black Metal, it’s the Black Metal which chooses you since it’s pure elite. You can’t lie with it. It’s a very complex and mighty front, in all its shades. It’s not of everybody and for everyone and needs an unlimited dedication. You can find yourself, destroy yourself, elevate yourself into Black Metal, but merely if you are part of it. Only who is truly part of it knows what I mean.
TO: What brought you to your current label, ATMF?
Respect, expertise, bravery, aversion for the trend. If you just look at the roster of ATMF, you can easily understand that here you can’t find any kind of compromises but merely a coherent philosophical line committed to an exclusive expression of obscure truthfulness in music. Who believes to make money riding on current trends, selling just idle chatters and fake facades, pleasing or brainwashing the listeners of the last minute for me are just scum. If a trend tries to be part of something that it’s pure truthfulness, early or later those who tried intentionally to exploit a place for them unexplored and hostile will simply surrender.
TO: Your country of origin is still largely a mystery. Could you share with us any details on how your corner of the world influences the writing process?
L: I think the origin is absolutely not relevant. A person, for creating whatever kind of concept, whether musical or not, doesn’t need to address to a specific country, but rather to his inner being. Many, too many bands are overstimated and sometimes even inexplicably praised just because they come from geographical coordinates, which are historically famous in relation to the kind of music they divulge. Some of them are worthy but many others are not. I believe in the intimate message of a project and not at the face ahead of it. Too many chatters, too few facts, not enough competence… All this is going to create a kettle full of late comers not always with many clear ideas, if we can say like that… This is the main issue which oppresses underground music creativity and meritocracy, in this specific case extreme music..
TO: What do you do in your spare time when you’re not recording?
L: If I had free time, I think it’is not at all relevant to know how I spend it.
TO: If you could share with the world just one great metal band that no one knows about, who would it be?
L: If this still unknown band hadn’t decided yet to work out of the shadow I will respect its artistical and personal choice, feeling honoured to be one of the few of having the privilege to know them and listen to their music.
Experience and purchase ‘Kadingir’ for yourself below.