Monday, 3 September 2012

Followers of Honour and Darkness ... #6

T of ExtremeAmbient - owner of a collection to be envied
Occasionally something comes up out of the blue and rocks your world.  Such was the case last week, when an innocent looking email arrived at Castle Nazgul from none other than the mighty Hugin himself, suggesting Nazgul might like to take a look at Flickr to see another fan's collection of Uruk Hai and other releases.

The link to Flickr being duly clicked upon, the two photographs below came to light.  Impressive, are they not?!
Uruk Hai items!
The Uruk Hai photograph in particular shows a crackerjack of a collection.  On first inspection you see some literally bigger items - rare box-sets like "Darkness", the "Black Blood White Hand" case, and an impressive spread of the recent multi-disc sets from Fallen Angels Productions - but then you look more closely and some really rare gems appear.  "Hang on",said Nazgul to himself in this respect, "he's got a copy of the "Land Of The Shadow" split release in there, where the hell did he find that?! And there's an original "Quenta Silmarillion" CDr, and there's a copy of the "Ea" demo, and in that other photo there's a WACH box-set that even Castle Nazgul has never seen before, and over there he's got a silver-seal version of "The Fear", and look- there's a ...." 

Well, you get the point.  This is one serious collection.  Having shared the agonies and ecstasies of looking for many of these items myself, I can appreciate the sheer effort that must have been involved in tracking down many of these releases: Respect is due.

WACH a lot of things...
So who is the man behind the photos, identified on Flickr as ExtremeAmbient?  Read on, honoured guest, read on...

Q1. Hello!  Tell us your name and where you come from?
A1. Hi, my name is T (it is not my real name) I am from the Basque Country, a very small country located the south of Europe.

Q2. You run the Extreme Ambient web-page: tell us a little about that site and what you are doing there?
A2. Well, ExtremeAmbient is a blog where I write about all the music I have been discovering during the years. My main purpose when I started the blog was to share the information with others: bands, releases, concerts...  It cover a lot of types/styles of music, but it is focused in extreme metal/core and (dark) ambient. Sometimes,I also write about my other passion: motor sports.

Q3. Is music your full-time career,or do you have another job to pay the bills?
A3. No, music is just a hobby. I work as a web developer.

Q4. Where and how did you discover Hugin's music?
A4. I think it was 2005, when I was a little bit tired listening to metal every day. I read a review about the new Vinterriket album, a must-know project for an Uruk-Hai fan but a totally unknown project for me: a great mix of black metal with dark-ambient. So using Soulseek (P2P program, please support the artists buying the albums if you like them) I downloaded the album and I found it very interesting, so I decided to read more about that project. Looking in the releases catalogue I found a split with a project called Uruk-Hai called "~2~". That is how the story began....

Q5. You came to the attention of Castle Nazgul after posting those amazing photos on Flickr showing your collection of Uruk Hai items, as well as other releases by Hugin.  First of all, tell us about the Uruk Hai items - how many items do you actually have?
A5. Thanks for such kind words. It really looks great and I also have discovered that I have more Uruk-Hai items than I ever thought.  During 2011 and 2012 we have seen a lot of Uruk-Hai albums, box-sets, re-releases, demos...  After I bought the Darkness box-set, Hugin asked me if it was possible to take a photo of my collection. The photos themselves contain all the item I have owned from most of Hugin's projects, except the WACH Nordwand, which I forgot to show from the box, and 3 Uruk-Hai items that I have missed during the past years: Blutreich, Of Gleaming Swords In The Land Of The North [both passed away during a move in a box crash ;-)] and Lost Songs from Middle Earth (it is lost in a box).  Here is the full list:
TAPE
- Elbenwald
- In Durin Halls [2004 version]
- Barbarians (Orcish Battle Hymns Part II)
- Split with Vinterriket: Nazgul / Landschaftenewiger Einsamkeit
- A Night in the Forest
- Split with Abandoned: Valhall / Assuage My Tristful Soul
- Northern Lights
- Across the Misty Mountains (...Far, Far Away)
- A Vikings Journey
- Valkyrian Romance
- The Battle & A Vikings Journey
- United: Split with Symbiosis
- Split with Valar: Enslaved In Evil Darkness / To Whatever End
- Felagund
- Emyn Muil
- Split with Zloslut and Gromkult: United with the Fallen Ones...
CD/CD-r:
- A Night in the Forest
- Quenta Silmarillion
- Barbarians (Orcish Battle Hymns Part II)
- Upon the Elysian Fields [Promo DoCDR]
- Ea
- Split with Woodland's Edge: Land of the Shadow
- Split with Svarrogh and Rubixx! Project: Melancholie eines Herbstes in drei Akten
- Split with Arkillery: 2
- The Battle
- Dragons of War
- Split with Vinterriket: ~2~
- Tawantinsuyu
- Across the Misty Mountains (...Far, Far Away)
- Split with Vinterriket and Nak'kiga: Ira Deorum Obliviorum
- Split with Saltvind: A Dark Force Shines Golden / Dreams of the Ancient Stone
- Upon the Elysian Fields [2009 version by Valgriind]
- Split with Forgotten Land: Nachtkrieg
- Cirith Ungol
- Cirith Ungol [Special edition by NORDSTURM Prod.]
- Split with Sieghetnar
- Split with Funeral Fornication
- Split with Sepulchral Moon
- Northern Lights [2011 version]
- Emyn Muil
- Long Before the Creation of the Sun & Moon [3"CDr by Tryby]
- Return to the Green Fields
- Dagor Dagorath
- The Barbarian [3"CDr by Tryby]
- Elves & Men [3"CDr by Tryby]
- Gil-Galad [2x3"CDr by Tryby]
- Nargothrond [2x3"CDr by Tryby]
- Felagund [3"CDr by Tryby]
- Lothlórien (2x3"CDr by Tryby]
- Split with Nebula VII: Dark Secrets
VINYL/LP:
- Split with Moloch: Iron Age
BOXSET:
- Upon the Elysian Fields [4x3"CDr]
- Split with Moloch: Vereint durch die Kraft uralter Wälder
- Black Blood, White Hand + Death is just another path...
- In Durins Halls (Return to the Mines of Moria)
- Angband (Metal Fortress)
- War Anthems
- Darkness I-V
- Power of the Ring [Tape + DVD-r]
- Gorgoroth (The Land of Darkness)
- Courage Is Found in Unlikely Places
- Everlasting Wrath of the Tyrant
- 3"CD Box
- Legacy of the Tyrant
- Tales of Glory & Mystery
- ...and in the Darkness Bind Them
- The Orcish Battle Hymns (...From the Dark Ages)
- Elbenlieder
- Darkness
- Cirith Ungol (The Whole Story)

Q6. Which of these releases has been the most difficult to find?
A6. Definitely, the "Ea" demo. It took more than a year to find it. Of course, this answer will be different in the future because my wish list is very large, with a lot of old material, very hard to find today.

Q7. What is your most prized Uruk Hai item?
A7. I think this question is hard to answer. Every item has its on history, but maybe the promo DoCDR "UponThe Elysian Fields".  It was not very hard to find (I bought it directly from Hugin some years ago), but it was my first very limited edition item (only 20 copies) I owned.

Q8. Do you have any unique items in your collection that may not be in any other collection (including the Castle library!)
A8. The WACH Boxset, which it is supposed to be the only copy. I found it on Steinklang's Records Collectors Shop (http://recordcollectors.eu) I already had a couple of WACH releases so I thought it was a good way to complete my collection about that project.

Q9. Do you remember the very first UrukHai item you bought?
A9. I do: the split with Vinterriket:"-2-."  As I mentioned before, that was the first item I heard from Uruk-Hai and, therefore, the first that I bought!

Q10. And so to the big question - why did you start collecting these releases?
A10. I didn't plan to start collecting Uruk-Hai releases, it just happened. The most important reason to collect them is that I like what Hugin does in this project. And off course, it is nice to have such great works in limited editions.

Q11. What does the music of Uruk Hai mean to you, T?
A11. This question is hard to explain with words. Just close your eyes while you are listening a song by Uruk-Hai. Can you feel it? That is what I am talking about: the essence. It is more than music.

Q12. And tell us a little about your collection of other releases by Hugin - from WACH, Ravenclaw and so on - what other items do you have in your collection?
A12. As you can see, my collection of other Hugin releases is not so big:
- Ravenclaw: Where Mighty Ravens Fly.
- Bonemachine: Endzeit
- Hrefnesholt: Uraungst
- Hrossharsgrani:
    - Ancient Tales [2xCDr by Valgriind]
    - The Secret Fire
    - Pro Liberate Dimicandum Est (Special edition with Dead Souls Forest & Wintertod)
    - Das Ende Des Pfades..(Coloured cover version)
    - Split with Dead Mans Hill: Dead:Meat
    - The Ancient Path box-set

Q13. Tell Nazgul about that big WACH box numbered #1/1 in the photo...?!  What's in there?!
A13. I found it on Records Collectors Shop. It contains all WACH releases, that is:
- The End Of All Dreams (Limited edition + normal edition)
- Firedance On A Dead Mans Grave (Digipak edition + normal edition)
- Nordwand
- Experimentum Solaris
- The Fear (all editions: blue, green,orange and silver + promotional copy)
It also includes "The Fear Clips"and a card with Nordwand covers, hand numbered and signed.

Q14. How many years have you been collecting releases from Hugin?
A14. I started in 2005. During some months my collection was growing up significantly, especially when I contacted Hugin. But then I quit listening to this type of music and I focused more on grindcore and martial industrial. Fortunately, at the end of 2009 I resumed listening to Uruk-Hai.

Q15. Do you have a favourite release from his demos and albums?
A15. It depends on my mood. Visually, my favourite item is "Ira Deorum Obliviorum". The package looks very good. Musically, I found interesting "Elbentraum", which is totally different from what Uruk-Hai usually does.

Q16. Are there any particular items from Hugin's discography that you are still looking for?
A16. There is too much that I am looking for!  In the following months I will make an effort to increase the tape collection.

Q17. Do you collect material from any other bands or projects - if so, can you tell us a little about them?
A17. Yes I do:
- Arditi: a martial industrial project from Sweden.
- Nasum: grindcore masters from Sweden.
- Narsilion: ethereal folk from Catalonia.
- Brujeria: narco-satanic death metal-grindcore from Mexico.

Q18. Let's find out a little more about you - can you recall the very first album and very first single you ever bought...?
A18. The first album was Far Beyond Driven by Pantera. And my first single... I do not remember.

Q19. Your favourite food?
A19. Veal chops

Q20. Your favourite film?
A20. Monty Python's Life of Brian. It is marvellous and huge fun.

Q21. Your favourite book?
A21. I don't read books.

Q22. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 5 albums and 3 books would you ask to take with you?!
A22. 5 albums are too few. Can't I take any more? :-(  Ok, let's see:
- Dargaard: Rise and Fall. Maybe it is not their best album, but it is the first I owned and I love it.
- Loreena Mckennitt: Live at The Alhambra. It has a great atmosphere.
- Nasum: Inhale / Exhale. Straight in your face.
- Brujeria: Raza Odiada.
- LOTR Soundtrack: The Complete Recordings.

Of course, any of Uruk-Hai releases would be chosen, but I try to show you something different.

Q23. I believe that you read Honour and Darkness?  What do you think of it?
A23. Yes I read it. I think is the best place to find information about Hugin and his projects. It helps me a lot finding some releases and also I found releases that I never thought existed. It has more information than Discogs and Encyclopaedia Metallum put together - and that's saying something!! For sure, a must-read blog for every Hugin fan.

Q24. What message do you have for your fellow readers of the Blog?
A24. Don't worry if your collection is not big. A collection is not great because it has many items, it is great because it has some unique/prized items (even only for you). I have seen some collections with less items than mine that I would like to have.

Q25. Do you have any personal message for Hugin himself to share here?
A25. Keep doing your best as you have been done until now, and give us as many albums as you can. All of them are welcome!  I have an idea for a "best-of", but maybe it is not possible: it will be great to have the entire collection (including those unique items) together in an ultimate box-set. That would be great. Once, I read something about a box with 40 CD....? 

It also would be great to build an Smartphone app (a small synth with some sampler/sounds/excerpt from Uruk-Hai) in the vein of the Nordvarg's easel (http://www.nordvargr.com/synth-v1/)  Maybe I can help you - I did one for my own personal use.

Q26. Thanks for your time, and good luck with your future work!  Keep in touch!
A26. Thanks to you Nazgul for opening your Castle doors.  And thanks to everyone that has read this interview. If you want to contact me, please write an email to: blog [@] extremeambient. net - trades, offers... all are welcome. Keep in touch!

A great guy - drop him a line and support the ExtremeAmbient blog!

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