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dungeon synth pioneer Mortiis announces 2019 tour

Mortiis
photo by Sebastian Ludvigsen

The genre of “dungeon synth” is having a comeback, and one of the guys that’s credited with creating it, Norway’s Mortiis (who played bass in Norwegian black metal band Emperor in 1991 and 1992 before going solo), has announced a North American tour. For some background, here’s an excerpt from a 2017 Decibel profile on Mortiis, written by Krieg’s Neill Jameson:

Mortiis was originally known for his work in Emperor but came into his own when he went solo, creating worlds, first with his eponymous Mortiis and later with Vond, Fata Morgana and Cintecele Diavolului. Over time, Mortiis made a sonic shift from dungeon synth to electro pop and eventually cultivated an industrial/dance sound, leaving his past behind. Or so it seemed. Last year, he began a project of reissuing his previous work under the “Era 1” banner, much of which has been difficult to come by in recent years. Mortiis (Håvard Ellefsen) was nice enough to take time out to answer some questions, many of which I’ve wondered about for two decades.

But to start, I was curious why he was revisiting his early works now, when he has such momentum with his current creations?

“Well I think I finally came over my hangups over the old stuff,” he says. “I mean, those old records are all recorded straight to tape, so to speak. No sequencers or quantized grids, no studio magic that enabled me to go back and fix mistakes and so on. It’s played direct to tape. Which is obviously totally standard for most musical styles, so nothing unique there, but for keyboard-based music, it’s pretty standard to record everything as MIDI first, which enables you to go in and fix playing mistakes, even move notes around, if needed. I didn’t have any of that really, so those recordings haunted me for years in terms of “fuck, why didn’t I do this differently, that note is dissonant, that part there is full of mistakes…” and so on. So, that really ate away at me to the point where I just didn’t want to know about those albums.

You can read much more here.

The tour includes a NYC show on March 29 at Brooklyn Bazaar (tickets). All 2019 dates are listed on the tour poster below.

Meanwhile, this Friday (12/14), Mortiis is reissuing The Song of a Long Forgotten Ghost, which was originally released as a demo in 1993 and has been restored and remastered by Jules Seifert. Mortiis says this demo is the “recording that, arguably, started the movement that came to be known as Dungeon Synth.” Listen to a stream of the remaster below:

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