Black Boned Angel. My favourite band (?)
I am still really, really unhappy about this project being over. The way they treated their music, the things they said through it, and the scope of their pieces were really unlike any other band, drone or not; they expressed through these huge wailing walls of open fifths a very weird, very different world of black and white and everything in between. Even this photo is really representative of what they were all about: the dark, the light, and the space in between; nothing but the sound in your ears.
I only found out recently, via an interview with Campbell Kneale on the eve of their last record, how terribly vital Black Boned Angel was to him:
The grand-scale, crushing, sadness that is plastered all over those records was actually real for me and I can’t live that way anymore. I was actually miserable when I made those records. I care about the music I make, it’s not just entertainment or an act for the punters, I’d like to think that the best music I’ve ever made has also been the most honest music I’ve ever made… and Black Boned Angel is very honest. In the same way that you can’t fight drug addiction and still hang out with your drug-buddies, I can’t keep my head clear while remaining aligned with all that sadness. My life has changed quite a bit and I don’t want to drag that corpse with me. I loved Black Boned Angel and I love playing with James more than anything… it was a really good band when it was at its best… but for me, that time and place is full of terrible, terrible ghosts. It’s time to let it die gracefully.
It alarmed me a little bit at the time, reading it, to hear that I wasn’t just projecting my own feelings onto this music like I figure I do with a lot of other bands, that this was in fact massive and toxic and necessary and heavy art I was taking in. It alarmed me because I wanted more from BBA, I needed more, and that scares me a little, because I feel about their music more or less the same way Kneale feels about it (albeit from a little more of a distance): that it represents for me a very stark picture of all the really dark, basic, terrifying stuff nobody talks about. It’s not uplifting music at all, but it won’t lower you either; it’ll take you somewhere else not entirely on that plane, and that was what was really special about it.
It would be a mistake to say that BBA means a lot to me. It means only one thing to me, but that one thing is so awesome and enormous and endless that I could waffle about trying to describe it for centuries and not come close. I feel like the quote included in the liner notes of “Supereclipse” and “Bliss and Void Inseparable”, among others, is the closest anyone will get to an explanation:
Transcendence can only be reached at maximum volume.