We here at Nine Circles have been inspired by a number of writers. In the near future, we will start doing writer profiles for some of them, for it was those writers that inspired us to join, and water down, their craft. With that in mind, we asked a preliminary question to a bunch of writers we intend to profile. Today we bring you everybody’s favorite hero of metal and true believer in women’s rights, Daniel Jackson!
“You’re a metal writer. And if you’re receiving this question in your inbox, then you are a good metal writer. As such, people probably assume that you spend your whole day (and night because metalheads never sleep) blasting your ear drums with the sweet sounds of blast beats. But we know that’s not true. So what are you listening to that isn’t metal these days?”
Aside from writing for The Sludgelord, Daniel is the sole member behind two amazing music projects. First, his solo black metal project, Void Ritual has been an underground winner for years. If you agree with us, you should vote for him over at Toilet Ov Hell’s “Best Unsigned Bands” contest. We even reviewed (and praisingly so) his 2015 split with Brashasketh. He also has a new project in the works known simply as Desu which leans more towards the death metal end of the spectrum.
With all of these genres, I’d never consider myself anything more than a tourist because 80% of what I listen to is metal, even after twenty-plus years of listening to it. These make up the remaining 20%.
I have a tendency to fixate on particular symphonies, listening to multiple recordings of the same music and figuring out who came up with the best version. My two big go-to classical pieces are Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C Minor. For The Rite of Spring I have two preferred recordings: Seiji Ozawa conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1968 and Valery Gergiev conducting the Kirov Orchestra in 1999. Ozawa’s has that insanely powerful brass section putting the most intense sections truly over the top and Gergiev’s has a deep, rich sound which gives him the edge in the brooding sections, like “The Sacrifice (Introduction)”. For Mahler, it’s Sir Simon Rattle’s version. His version of “Mit Aufschwung aber nicht eilen” is immensely powerful, hitting peak after peak as the Symphony comes to a close; it’s something even metal has a hard time replicating for me. I also heard a Waltz that Anthony Hopkins wrote when he was a student that Andre Rieu brought to life a few years ago that was awesome.
I’m including these all under one area because they tend to bleed into each other a fair amount, or at least my favorite artists do. This is the genre I probably listen to most outside of metal/rock. I’m absolutely in love with so much of what was going on in soul during the 60s and 70s. My favorites include Four Tops, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Otis Redding, Erykah Badu, Prince.
I’m hesitant to even bring this one up, if only because I’ve really only dipped my toe in it, and while I love the albums I love, I’m horrifically under-qualified to describe why I love them. I tend to prefer albums that are a more blue, rainy day kinds of albums (see?!). So the big ones for me are Coltrane’s Blue Train and Love Supreme, and Miles Davis Kind of Blue. If you count it, Bohren & Der Club of Gore is fantastic too!
The top band in this domain is Dungen. They started out being a lot more guitar/fuzz driven, but these days they’re more into piano and strings and they’re making the best music of their careers some 10 years after I first heard them. Comets on Fire just kinda stopped putting out albums years ago, but I go back to them pretty frequently. I’m also a big Strawberry Alarm Clock fan, but more for songs like “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” and “Pretty Song from Psych-Out” than “Incense and Peppermints”. Same with The Zombies, though more for “She’s Not There” or “Tell Her No” than “Time of the Season”. I also love the early albums from The Dears “No Cities Left” and “Gang of Losers”. They’re kind of like what would happen if Morrissey’s backing band was as nutty and melodramatic as he is. Big arrangements and tons of keyboards/layering. I also loved Devendra Banhart’s albums Cripple Crow and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. Warpaint put out an album years ago called The Fool that I was obsessed with.
If we’re counting crust/powerviolence; there’s a ton. Discharge, Nausea (MA), Dropdead, Doom, Icons of Filth, Disrupt, Amebix, Tragedy, His Hero is Gone, Econochrist, Rudimentary Peni and so on. Outside of that subgenre, the obvious ones are Misfits and Samhain (if they count). Danzig era Misfits is all I really listen to, though I don’t hate Graves’ albums. I’m also big on Crass, Flux of Pink Indians, Zounds, and Conflict. Our mutual twitter friend Erick Pressman turned me onto Rites of Spring, and Moss Icon earlier this year, though like Jazz, I’d feel out of school talking about a style I’m still learning about.
Thanks so much to Daniel for what was clearly a LOT of his time!
– Manny-O-War & Corey