Way back in April of last year, I sat down with Dave Tremblay of Vod to talk sub-bass music, experimental genres, and weird stuff. One of the strangest things we discussed was his xenharmonic black metal project Melopœia, an experiment aimed at rendering the text of Tolkien’s Ainulindalë into an album composed of 26-EDO music. Well, if you’ve felt like a stranded Rohirrim, waiting for the light of the third day to shine down upon your embattled keep within Helm’s Deep, rejoice, for Dave Tremblay as Gandalf has recruited Éomer and is riding forth to destroy the Uruk-Hai scourge.
At the time of this writing, only the fourth track of Tolkien’s Ainulindalë has been released so far, but the short tune offers more than an ample taste of the nerdery to come.
If your thoughts have been scrambled by gazing too long into the palantír (or you’ve slept a bit since last April), you may need a reminder of how Dave and co-conspirator Brian Leong (the vocalist for this project, i.e. literally the Mouth of Sauron) are working this whole thing out. Since I’m
distracted by a stream of a Donkey Kong Country III speedrun feeling lazy, I’ll just quote Dave’s initial answer to me regarding Melopœia from our interview.
I’m also working on another, even more weird project with Ben, and it’s called Melopœia. It’s basically putting texts into music by assigning each letter of the alphabet to a note in the octave. That means I had to construct a 26 notes per octave tuning system, and it’s freaking bizarre. The album will take the text from Tolkien’s Ainulindalë, and put it into music of various genres.
If the burden of your ring is too great, rendering you unable to lift your finger to click play and hear the song for yourself but still want to know how it sounds, imagine Jute Gyte singing about Elves and silvery trees, and you’re mostly there. The lyrics to “Harmony” that create the unique tone of the song are:
Then Ilúvatar said to them: ‘Of the theme that I have declared to you, I will now that ye make in harmony together a Great Music. And since I have kindled you with the Flame Imperishable, ye shall show forth your powers in adorning this theme, each with his own thoughts and devices, if he will. But I win sit and hearken, and be glad that through you great beauty has been wakened into song.’
Based just on this one track, I’m stoked to hear the rest. I can always do with more Tolkien and microtonal black metal in my life. If you’re as jacked as I am, mark September 15th in your calendar, as that’s when Tolkien’s Ainulindalë will come to fruition. Until then, keep counting those slain orcs.