The EARTH drone metal pioneers are bringing their ultra-slow doom to Vooruit for a one-time live score with Japanese cult film 'Belladonna of Sadness'.
EARTH is the project by guitarist Dylan Carlson, who belonged to a group of musical friends including Mark Lanegan and Kurt Cobain during the era when Seattle was a grunge infested city. In contrast to the many bands imitating Nirvana at the time, Carlson’s band was the odd one out. On EARTH’s first Sub Pop album they sounded like an ambient version of Black Sabbath, minus the singing but with long, slow guitar drones, built out of feedback and repetitive riffs.
In the late 90s Carlson battled a drug addiction and depression after the death of Cobain. In the mid-2000s he made an unexpected comeback with acclaimed albums like 'Hex: Or Printing in the Gleam of an Unsheathed Sword' and 'Hibernaculum'. The noise was dialed back, an “Ennio Morricone”–esque atmosphere was coupled to sluggish riffs leaning toward country and Americana.
“If Carlson and EARTH don't get real soundtrack work for this brand of monumentally cinematic rock, there is no justice.” - (Allmusic)
In the meanwhile EARTH’s old work was increasingly rediscovered by an entire generation of avant-metal and drone fanatics using their experiments as templates. Think of bands like Nadja, Om, Barn Owl and of course also the duo Stephen O'Malley' and Greg Anderson of SUNN O))), that originally started as an EARTH tribute band.
Carlson also released solo work as drcarlsonalbion, in which he gave free rein to his interest in witchcraft, magic and ritualism. That obsession with occult folklore also defined the focus of their project for FILM FEST @ VOORUIT.
Belladonna of Sadness
'Belladonna of Sadness' (or ‘Kanashimi no Belladonna’) is a bizarre anime from 1973, produced by manga legend Osamu Tezuka and directed by Eiichi Yamamoto and artist Kuni Fukai. The film was shown for the first time at the 23d Berlinale but turned into a commercial flop because the production company went bankrupt. Since then the film was almost impossible to find but after more than a thousand hours of meticulous restoration and re-integrating explicit material, this adult animation masterpiece can once again be enjoyed.
‘Belladonna’ is set in a European village in the Middle Ages. At the center is a young woman, who after being raped makes a pact with the devil and leads a rebellion of farmers against the local viscount. The tragic story is based on 'La Sorcière', a controversial French historical work about witchcraft written by Jules Michelet in 1862. In his book he frames medieval witchcraft as a secret religion, led by women and modelled after old pagan sources. The aim of the movement would be to undermine the patriarchal Catholic Church and feudal society.
The film is a unique experience, a feverish dream hallucination in aquarelle filled with grotesque, erotic and psychedelic imagery. Visually there are many references to both Japanese and Western visual arts: Gustave Klimt’s work seems to have had an enormous influence. Even 40 years later ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ has lost little of its shock value and beauty.
EARTH created a live soundtrack for the film, especially for FILM FEST @ VOORUIT, reminiscent of their older work. Don’t miss this unique performance!
€23 (at the door) / 20 (presale)
during Film Fest Gent