Filosofem (Norwegian for "Philosopheme") is the fourth studio album by Norwegian black metal solo project Burzum. It was recorded in March 1993 and was the last recording before Varg Vikernes was sentenced to prison in 1994; the album was not released until January 1996, however. It was released through Misanthropy Records and Vikernes's own record label, Cymophane Productions.[3] A music video was made for the song "Dunkelheit" and received airtime on both MTV[4] and VH1.[5]

Filosofem
Filosofem.jpg
Studio album by
Released31 January 1996[1]
RecordedMarch 1993 at Breidablik Studio
GenreBlack metal, avant-garde metal, dark ambient
Length64:34
LanguageNorwegian, English
LabelMisanthropy, Cymophane
ProducerVarg Vikernes
Burzum chronology
Hvis lyset tar oss
(1994)
Filosofem
(1996)
Dauði Baldrs
(1997)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[2]

The album is noted for its experimental sound when compared to most other second wave black metal (see music and artwork section). Vikernes considered the release an "anti-trend album".[6]

BackgroundEdit

Varg Vikernes recorded the first four Burzum albums between January 1992 and March 1993 at the Grieg Hall in Bergen. However, the releases were spread out, with many months between the recording and the release of each album. During this time, Vikernes became a part of the early Norwegian black metal scene and met Mayhem guitarist Euronymous. He also allegedly took part in burning down four churches, along with other members of the scene.[7] In August 1993, Vikernes stabbed Euronymous to death outside his apartment in Oslo. He was arrested a few days later and, in May 1994, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for both the murder, and for church arson.

The opening track on Filosofem, "Dunkelheit", was the first song Vikernes wrote as Burzum, with the song itself initially being named "Burzum". It had been recorded in September 1992 for the Hvis lyset tar oss album, but Vikernes was unhappy with it and re-recorded it for this album six months later.[8] According to a statement made by Vikernes on burzum.org, the master tapes for the version of "Burzum" meant for Hvis lyset tar oss were lost by the Norwegian prison system.

The album was recorded under purposefully bad conditions in order to retain a raw lo-fi sound. No guitar amplifier was used; instead Vikernes plugged his guitar into the amplifier of his brother's stereo and used old fuzz pedals.[9] For the vocals, he asked a sound technician for the worst microphone he had, and ended up using an old helicopter headset.[9]

Music and artworkEdit

The music of Filosofem continued Vikernes's experimentation with minimalism, repetition, and ambient music within black metal. The tracks are all quite long (the shortest being just over seven minutes), and are typically composed around very few musical motifs. For instance, "Jesu død", a track of over eight-and-a-half minutes, is primarily based on variations of a single riff. The epic "Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte", Burzum's longest ambient song to date, repeats a simple melody for nearly the entirety of the runtime, switching from a bass ostinato to a harmony ostinato midway through the piece. Furthermore, the first three songs are in the key of E minor.

"Burzum", the opening track, features a prominent melody played by a synthesizer that sits atop the distorted guitars and vocals. The two "Decrepitude" tracks complement each other, with ".i." featuring vocals and keeping the guitars in the foreground; while ".ii." is instrumental and instead focuses on the sound effects and keyboard melody in the background of ".i.".

The album cover and booklet contain artwork by Theodor Kittelsen. The front cover is named Op under Fjeldet toner en Lur (Norwegian for "Up in the Hills a Clarion Call rings out").

Track listingEdit

CD, cassette and vinyl reissue pressings

All tracks are written by Varg Vikernes.

No.TitleGerman versionLength
1."Burzum" ("Darkness")"Dunkelheit"7:05
2."Jesu død" ("Jesus' Death")"Jesus' Tod"8:39
3."Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament""Erblicket die Töchter des Firmaments"7:53
4."Decrepitude .i.""Gebrechlichkeit .i." ("Frailty .i.")7:53
5."Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" ("Circumambulation of the Transcendental Columns of Singularity")"Rundgang um die transzendentale Säule der Singularität"25:11
6."Decrepitude .ii.""Gebrechlichkeit .ii." ("Frailty .ii.")7:53
Total length:64:34
  • Cassette pressings start side B with "Rundtgåing". Vinyl reissues from 2005 onward feature "Rundtgåing" on side C and "Decrepitude .ii." on side D.
Original vinyl pressing
Side A
No.TitleGerman versionLength
1."Burzum" ("Darkness")"Dunkelheit"7:05
2."Jesu død" ("Jesus' Death")"Jesus' Tod"8:39
3."Beholding the Daughters of the Firmament""Erblicket die Töchter des Firmaments"7:53
Total length:23:37
Side B
No.TitleGerman versionLength
1."Decrepitude .i.""Gebrechlichkeit .i." ("Frailty .i.")7:53
2."Decrepitude .ii.""Gebrechlichkeit .ii." ("Frailty .ii.")7:53
Total length:15:46
Side C
No.TitleGerman versionLength
1."Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" ("Circumambulation of the Transcendental Columns of Singularity")"Rundgang um die transzendentale Säule der Singularität"25:11
Total length:25:11

PersonnelEdit

  • Count Grishnackh (Varg Vikernes) – vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer, drums, sound effects, production
  • Pytten – production

InfluenceEdit

The song "Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte" was sampled by American hip hop producer Mike WiLL Made It for the song "Pussy Print" by artist Gucci Mane featuring Kanye West, from Mane's ninth studio album Everybody Looking.[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Burzum-Filosofem/release/1898381[bare URL]
  2. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Filosofem – Burzum". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Burzum "Filosofem" 1996 Misanthropy Records / Cymophane Productions". burzum.org. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  4. ^ "Burzum on MTV". Youtube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Burzum on VH1". Youtube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Interview with Varg Vikernes". burzum.org. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  7. ^ Sherburne, Philip (16 July 2013). "Burzum's Varg Vikernes, Neo-Nazi, Arrested in France on Terrorism Suspicions". Spin. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  8. ^ Mitchell, Chris (10 May 2005). "The Metal Crypt – Varg Vikernes Interview". metalcrypt.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b Vikernes, Varg (July 2005). "Varg Vikernes – A Burzum Story: Part VI – The Music". burzum.org. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Gucci Mane feat. Kanye West's 'Pussy Print' – Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

External linksEdit