Sweden is a dark, dreary place rich in history that is somewhat violent but nonetheless wholly intriguing. Much like the enigma that is Trepaneringsritualen, or for those of us unfamiliar with the Swedish tongue, T x R x P will suffice. Best described as harsh noise, infused with industrial elements that build unceasingly catching you by surprise and engulfing all senses.
“We try to attack the spectators in as many ways as possible, not as an act of hostility but in an attempt to disarm them.”
Simply put, TxRxP is a ritual that not even the man behind the black hood, Thomas Ekelund, truly understands stating “It used to be a source of great frustration, but I have come to accept and even appreciate it. It is terrifying at times but ultimately always rewarding. I am at peace with the fact I might never fully understand what the purpose is, and perhaps that is the purpose.”
Landing on Australian shores for the first time, Around The Sound was curious as to what expectations Ekelund had regarding these shows.
“It is difficult to have any expectations when you go into new territories. I don’t know venues and I don’t know how Australians act at shows but I am very much looking forward to finding out. For me, coming to a new place is always rewarding.”
Very much looking forward to finding out ourselves after reading articles detailing their antics surrounding pigs-blood, nooses and candles we dug a little deeper to gain an understanding of what audiences are in for. Ekelund told us, “We try to attack the spectators in as many ways as possible, not as an act of hostility but in an attempt to disarm them. We utilise sounds, vision, and scent, with the aim of disorienting and disarming them to hopefully let them gaze the gaping void and allow themselves to fall into it with us. TxRxP has always appeared both enormous and overwhelmingly powerful. Only my perception of it has grown and with that I am sure the audience is also more and more aware that this is not simple entertainment. When I speak to people at rituals, it is quite apparent that the forces at play defy verbalization. It’s something ineffable but at the same time, very present. ”
TxRxP is more than just noise, notes and shock factors. To develop a proper understanding one must scratch beneath the surface, explore the intricacies involved in this complex artistic expression and let yourself open up to something new, let go of control, just as Ekelund does during his writing.
“I try to eliminate all conscious decision from the creative process, TxRxP is disconnected from me as a person. It’s a force that guides me and I do my best to interpret those impulses. I am sure I am not fully able to disconnect, so all my personal experiences probably have an influence on the end result.”
Releasing over a decade’s worth of devastation, we asked Ekelund to reflect on their discography. We wanted to know if there was a particular point in their releases that set them on the path they’re on now or if any album was difficult to bring to fruition to which he responded.
“They are all difficult in their own ways. While some may come together very quickly and others take many years to complete, it is never easy to face the sort of forces that are at play. Every TxRxP release and ritual are of equal importance but that doesn’t mean they are all equally successful in manifesting the void. I rarely revisit what we’ve done in the past but from the top of my head I would count as most successful the Ev To Παν working, the track, ‘I Remember When I was God’, from the latest reissue of Deathward, To The Womb, large parts of Perfection & Permanence and all of Kainskult. We just finalised the artwork for an LP-long ritual working entitled, ᛉᛦ – Algir; eller Algir i Merkstave, that will be released on Cold Spring in September which is probably the most emotionally devastating record we’ve ever done.”
Whether you’re acquainted with the alternative music scene or just have a curiosity towards all things strange and unusual, be sure to attend one of the upcoming rituals with the first being held in Perth on July 12th at The Den.
More information and tickets here.