This will be the first post of a few shows that I recorded whilst over in Tasmania for the Dark Mofo festival (and the first time the blog has ventured out of the state!)
Being the Australian weirdo music nerd that I am, one of the big draws for this show was a chance to see the notoriously reclusive Tasmanian artist Sin Nanna perform as Veil of Darkness. Sin Nanna (a pseudonym) is probably best known as the singular force behind Striborg, a black metal project that I have been fascinated by since first buying a copy of his album ‘Embitted Darkness / Isle de Morts’ at the perticularly receptive age of fifteen. Veil of Darkness is Sin Nanna’s more strictly ambient/noise material (though the two projects definitely have quite a bit of crossover).
Since releasing his first output as Kathaaria in 1995, Sin Nanna’s live appearances have been few and noteworthy. In May of 2007 Sin Nanna was invited to be a member of Pentemple (aloneside Oren Ambarchi and members of the Sunn O))) live band) perfroming a one-off improvised live perfromance in Melbourne (a recording of which was subsequently released as the ‘O))) Presents’ LP). Until recently (apart from some rumoured earlier Melbourne shows in which it’s said Sin Nanna appeared as a guest member of another band and performed some Striborg material with them), this was all anyone had ever seen of Sin Nanna in a live context.
Sin Nanna made his first live appearance as Striborg at the 2014 MONA FOMA festival in Hobart, for which he performed his homage to the river Derwent ‘Putrifying the River of Tears’. At the performance Sin Nanna played live guitar along to pre-recorded drums and vocals and was accompanied by a live string quartet.
This performance was the first time that any Veil of Darkness material was played for a live audience. It was split into three distinct parts of roughly ten minutes each; during the first Sin Nanna manipulated microphone feedback, performed live vocals in the second, and manipulated sound via a tablet computer in the third. To properly illustrate the different parts of the performace I have included three seperate photographs.
In a 2005 interview with Stephen O’Malley (one of the few he has given), Sin Nanna had this to say about live performance:
“I would like to perform live with Veil of Darkness once or twice. Only limited though, I don’t like playing live because of all the people. I am a misanthropist. This music shouldn’t be performed to people, only by CDs and LPs. The Tasmanian audience does not know of this style, let alone get into it. My ideal gig would be total darkness, everything black, smoke machines, dark forest footage projected on set, dim lights (blue or red), candlelight, everyone in gothic dress, sitting on the floor in trance/meditation state for the darkest vibes of Veil of Darkness. I want it to be so atmospheric, like everyone has stepped into hell. This will not be performed at a pub – it’s theatrical!”
Total time 33mins.