Autger is the mysterious project coming out of Russia fronted by someone we know only as EK. But again, this is one of those cases as we have visited in the past where we are able to enjoy the beauty herein without context. What Autger brings is a unique fusion of neo-classical, dark ambient with some undercurrents of dark jazz and noise. In the end what we have from Autger is a soundtrack that borders on a religious experience extending beyond the imagery.
Could you talk about the meaning behind the name Autger?
I’ve always been fascinated by history and culture of bygone eras in general, so if we go without any personal specifics – Autger is the ancient European/medieval name.
When did you start Autger?
Technically speaking, the project was launched in 2016. It was born on the ruins of my older project: some of its compositions from 2015 laid the core for the next project called Autger. Nowadays I consider “Mournful Autumn” as a start for my own style evolvement, mixing mystical dark jazz, neoclassical and electronic music.
And what are some of your main inspirations for it?
Sources of inspiration have changed over time, but I’ve always been interested in recreations of strong emotional experience through music, whether it’s the subtle grace and beauty of heavenly classical music or the uncompromising pressure and dirt of diabolical black metal. One of the main leitmotifs of project could be defined in one latin phrase: «Femina instrumentum Diaboli est», so during the last years I was involved in different deviations of Christian culture on theoretical and practical levels both, which is quite like a BDSM culture mixed with theology, or I can label it as an atheological/the absence of God experience. And last, but foremost, is the aestheticization of violence, mainly in its spiritual form, when you challenge yourself to go even further in traumatic experience, in contrast to modern capitalistic tendencies for comfort searching, down to heart problems.
You use a bit of religious imagery in your release art. Why is this important to you? How is it relevant to your work?
Plenty of my releases have strong connection with religion in general. For recently completed trilogy, which researched on the marginal, or ultimate, phenomena of Catholicism/Protestantism/Greek Orthodoxy, and for my last «God Kissing Carrion» LP there was the necessity to use strong visuals of obscure religious/erotic symbolism, such as in case of female saints (Thérèse of Lisieux, Angela of Foligno, Teresa of Ávila), which turned out not to be what they are, or sometimes it was a task to study the mystical-historical development of religion and infamous/damned personalities (Don Juan Tenorio, François Ravaillac, Baldassarre Cossa), such as in case of my «Unreleased» – «Fallen Warrior» – «Violentia Spiritualis, Deus» – «Totenmesse» tetralogy.
Are there any specific source texts you like to go to for inspiration?
From Russian religious thought Dostoevsky’s «The Brothers Karamazov», Sergei Bulgakov’s «Unfading Light» and Lev Shestov’s «Apotheosis of Groundlessness» can be singled out.
From Christian legacy of thought/mysticism there definitely would be «Corpus Areopagiticum» and sermons of Meister Eckhart.
And finally I can distinguish A. Kojève’s «Introduction to the Reading of Hegel».
The latest release is a digital-only EP called “Nox Increata”. Can you talk about the concept behind the release and the individual tracks?
This EP is a final chapter of a mystical trilogy: «Violentia Spiritualis, Deus» – «Eucharistia, Praedestinatio Gemina» – «Nox Increata».
«Nox Increata» is divided into five chapters. Each one describing known Christian subject from my personal point of view. If we will speak about the genre, it was necessary for this mini-album to sound mostly in classical/drone style, because it reflects Nothingness, for example, in the similar sense to Ein Sof.
“Genesis” is a composition about Self-disclosure of the Super-Essential Godhead ex semetipso/outpouring of Being – from the first motility of seraphims to the whole creation of Universe.
“Embodiment” is covering not only this specific Christian meaning, but is more telling of people locked in coats of skin, encrusted with anxiety and fear, just like slaves of their own flesh.
“Katabasis” is a cornerstone of the whole concept, naturally an emotional disaster for me, even comparable to the death of a loved one.
“Resurrection” is inspired by several religious films, simple and soaring, it’s an utopian picture of who a man could be without prevail of sin and death, but then pretty Nietzschean/organic reality takes place with “Hades”, so things simply fall into place.
In 2017 you released an EP called “Violentia Spiritualis, Deus” where you said “some thoughts on the alternative outcome of the Passion of the Christ and its consequences”. Could you explain? And what did you think of “The Passion of the Christ” film?
I’ll quote Vyacheslav Ivanov here, but with slight changes in his text for better understanding: “This kingdom is the supreme tragedy, the true field where God and Devil meet for a duel, and God-man decides the fate of the whole world, which is Himself, whether He be, i.e. to be in God, or not to be, i.e. be in oblivion”.
«The Passion of the Christ» movie attracts me for three main reasons: naturalistic violence scenes, the usage of dead languages, in contrast to modern cinema industry trying to reach the largest auditory as possible, and, surely, mystical components, such as Gethsemane intro or Devil’s appearances.
You use an interesting fusion of neoclassical, but with some minimal noise currents underneath. I’m interested in your noise/experimental influences and how you construct your songs.
I’m interested in all kinds of experimental/noise music: from academic variations and early industrial music to modern death industrial/noise/power electronics.
My song construction is pretty different, it depends from the concept that I choose for an album or simply from my intuition and feeling of music. But I can say that there are some common components in my style, such as the love for ostinato and minimalism or great passion for ritual and eclectic sounds: when sublime classical music/operatic vocals and animalistic jazzy elements collide together underneath modern sound design solutions.
What are your plans for the rest of 2019 and into 2020?
I’m currently working on my next LP, it is a sequel of previous «God Kissing Carrion» LP, but if GKC was completely about the material poverty, returning to the answer about deviations of Christian culture, my future work will cover the subject of “the poor in spirit”. And, of course, I will continue to work and evolve as a visual artist too.
If you could travel to any location in the world to record a live album, where would you go and why?
Generally speaking, if I want to do something, then, as a rule, I put it into practice, so a similar goal has already been achieved: I performed and recorded numerous elements for my compositions in one beautiful church.
What about your studio? What are your tools for creation? Do you ever use field recordings?
If we talk about field recordings as a recording of natural sounds, then no, I do not do this type of recording, but I definitely used a lot of recordings of household sounds surrounding me.
Since I compose, record and produce everything by myself alone, I have my small home recording studio. If we talk about DAW, usually I work in Ableton Live.