The War Inside My Head: An Interview with Neptunian Maximalism
Our The War Inside My Head series of "music appreciation" interviews is back investigating the roots and influences of yet another outstanding extreme music project. And this time we have the distinct pleasure, terror, and honor of hosting Belgian psychedelic/doom metal/free jazz/drone phenomenon Neptunian Maximalism, who released one of the most beautifully unlistenable records in recent memory with their epic, 133-minute ode to spiritual collapse and transcendence, Éons, released earlier this year (and now on vinyl) via the incomparable I, Voidhanger Records. I realize that's a lot of words and a lot of vague and somewhat hyperbolic genre tags I just employed but you, dear reader, are one of two groups: You have either listened to this disturbing masterpiece and thus know exactly what I'm talking about, and you have yet to and thus are about to see exactly what I just talked about.
I took philosophy when I was in high school (yeah, yeah, I know) and one of the topics we got through was something like cinematic aesthetics, wherein we would watch artsy movies that everyone hated but me. In one such instance our teacher took us on a field trip for a special screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey along with a lecture. I don't remember much about the lecture, I'm sure it was nice. What I do recall is that by the first third of the film everyone in my class was fast asleep. I wasn't asleep. I was terrorized, riveted, and in utter awe, but what that situation resulted in was that I was completely alone in a full-sized theater when the infamous "descent into Jupiter" sequence that is, for the uninitiated, what seems like an infinite stretch of weird-ass music and a psychedelic orgasm of color. It was one of the most inhuman, strange, and amazing experiences of my life.
So, basically, that's Éons in a nutshell. An album unlike any I have heard and one that, strangely, and similarly to my highschool affair with the planet Jupiter, is as terrifying, odd, uncomfortable and absolutely brilliant. So, check it out if you haven't, check it out again if you have, and go through some of the musical underpinnings of that amazing band provided by project member CZLT – it's as eclectic and interesting as one would hope. And, as always, check out our other interview series (Albums of the Decade and Pillars of the 90s), to follow us on any one of our social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Spotify) and also, if so inclined, support us on Patreon. On to our interview with CZLT. Enjoy!
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
I don’t remember exactly, but as a child the first album I asked to my mom to buy me was Dangerous by Michael Jackson! (and also 666's Paradoxxx, hahaha). The artwork was so awesome, as was the music!
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Santana – Abraxas
Queen – A Kind of Magic
Jamiroquai – Emergency On Planet Earth
These albums came to me from my step-father, and I ended up having a lot of fun with them. A Kind Of Magic is the BO of Highlander, the best track being "Gimme the Prize". Abraxas was my first connection to Afro-Cuban rhythm and psychedelic rock, great music! And Jamiroquai was the best way to recover when I was sick. After those the next album that comes to mind is Pantera's The Great Southern Trendkill !
What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?
Sunn O))) – Black One
Autechre – Draft 7.30
Sunn O))) is sculpt directly into sound as conceptual artists while remaining metalheads – the best package. I chose Autechre because they provided me with a 4th dimension of sound. Awesome work on production, ultra dynamic.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Psychic TV & White Stains – At Stockholm. This live set was like a deep ayahuasca trance experience where the mother explain to you what you have to do. It’s the 3rd eye.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
Eliane Radigue – Transamorem – Transmortem and L’île Re-Sonante
Bong – We Are, We Where And We Will Have Been
Ustad Asad Ali Khan / Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur / Parveen Sultana
Khanate – Clean Hands Go Foul
So many things to say about this one. These are my medicine, my gravediggers. Strong connexion to the unconscious and the time and space. This is about accepting death.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Psychick TV & White Stains – At Stockholm
Will Guthrie – Nist-Nah
GNOD – Chapel Perilous
And a lot of Indian music on Darbar YouTube channel, but those are live performances, not albums really, and also Fela Kuti's International Thief And this Gamelan music video.
What album is grossly underrated?
All BONG albums. BONG is really underrated. Okay, they've played three times at Roadburn Festival (+ live albums there), but why don't people talk about it all the time?
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Ôros Kaù, Imperii Templum Aries
The first release of a brutal psychedelic black metal one man band from Brussels! Powerful!