Just a few weeks ago, we featured in METAL the lead track of her new album, The Sacrifice. A single along with an audiovisual piece created by Pawel Mielnik for The Allegorist that offered us a sneak peek of her upcoming release, which she has just unveiled. Blind Emperor is a reality. Having launched her label Awaken Chronicles, the artist refers to her new work as a journey. “The album is about fighting for the truth of oneself, not bending for the easy, and finding acceptance in the sacrifices,” she replies when we ask her about the meaning of her latest release. We talk to her about her new project, and confirm she is already working on a Blind Emperor remix album.
This new album is the result of a deep reflection process in which The Allegorist, whose real name is Anna Jordan, has asked herself many questions and has come to quite interesting conclusions on the meaning of life, the importance of decision making, knowledge, intuition or wisdom. “I’ve discovered that because of our limitations nothing comes without losing something else,” she bluntly states in what is one of the most outstanding conclusions she has drawn from this exciting two year journey. Storytelling is the fundamental pillar on which she builds her artwork. Blind Emperor is out now on both vinyl and digital.
The last time we spoke, you had just unveiled your Hybrid Dimension II album. And now, just half a year later, you surprise us with the release of your new album, Blind Emperor. How do you feel?
Great, thank you! I’ve created the album Hybrid Dimension II between 2017 and 2019, and Blind Emperor between 2019 and 2020, so I’ve been a bit behind with releases. This changed last year when I launched my label Awaken Chronicles. With it, I have found a way to transmit my art into the world without compromising my artistic vision. It’s been my main focus for the past years to be able to share my work with other people.
We already realised that you’re not just another artist, thanks to singles like Dark Forces in which you created an ecosystem with a life of its own that transcended sound. A way of understanding music in which different artistic disciplines converge. What has changed since your previous release and what remains intact?
I’ve been a visual artist since 2005 and have studied, though not in the classical sense, art since. I’ve been gradually adding and exercising more and more disciplines because I was always looking for a deeper understanding of life and ways to express my thoughts and feelings. I have approached music in a similar way, multi-layered, with questions looking for answers and the desire to express what is impossible to express otherwise. This is how The Allegorist became an explorer of meanings via speculative fiction and a creator of stories told through electronic music and other media. I’ve seen all my releases as books or movies consisting of tracks as chapters or episodes, based on philosophical contemplation, illustrated with visuals and a narrative. But each time, of course, I’m telling a new story.
In December you gave a little sneak peek with your single Moving Forward, included in Blind Emperor. Why did you decide to unveil this track ahead of the rest?
The album Blind Emperor is about this journey, to fight for the truth of oneself, not to bend for the easy, and to find acceptance in the sacrifices. Moving Forward is about the drive never giving up, the constant effort to move forward, to learn and grow. Moving forward can be anything, no matter how big or small the steps are. Sometimes we move forward when we take a step back or don’t move at all. Moving Forward is in our heart, the burning spirit that is alive and keeps us going. The approach is to be and stay truthful, to hold on to things that are worth it, no matter how hard. And to be willing to give up on those, which are not. Even if they appear shiny on the outside. I thought it was a beautiful way to kick off the album.
A month later, you decided to release the lead single, The Sacrifice, whose music video was officially selected and screened at the London Lift-Off Film Festival - congratulations! What can you tell us about this single?
Thank you! Besides the London Lift-Off Film festival, the video for The Sacrifice was also screened at the Nottingham Festival in September 2021 at the Savoy Cinema and won Award Winner for Best Music Video, selected for the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest, screened at the Babylon Cinema on the 5th November 2021 and was Award Winner of Best Music Video at 4theatre. We have worked for over two years only on the visual side of this artwork with Paweł, Mielnik and I’m really happy that we got the possibility to share this piece with an audience around the globe. The Sacrifice is the lead track on the album Blind Emperor. It speaks about the challenges of making a groundbreaking decision and defining what our priorities really are. In everybody’s life, there are moments when we can’t have it all. They might seem at a point as a sacrifice and maybe they really are one. In my opinion, there is something really beautiful about that because these are the moments that actually matter and define us as a person, who we really are. Our undeniable true core becomes clear and we have to let fall all the lies.
From the music producer perspective, I have built the track around my vocals which I have layered together into a massive choir. I did quite a lot of sound design so it can represent us all. Our feelings, our pain and our dreams. Our stories.
In this audiovisual piece, you joined forces with visual artist Paweł Mielnik. Have you collaborated with any other artist or creator on this new release? And is there someone you would like to collaborate with in your next projects?
I have formed the vision of the Blind Emperor into a concept, recorded, composed and mixed my tracks, wrote the tale of Blind Emperor and the poem of The Sacrifice, created the cover artwork and animations, shot and edited the photos and designed the vinyl layout and logos. This is how I usually work as well, I create all the visualisation of The Allegorist with my visual artist moniker Anna Jordan Project. While I’m composing music I always see long and complex movies. The question for me is how can I summarise a movie of many hours into a 4-5 minutes video. In the case of The Sacrifice and Blind Emperor, I have chosen to make the dark and mysterious landscape and one object - the shrine-, of the many as the centre of the film. I immediately was thinking about the software Unreal Engine and knew this project would exceed my abilities. After an intense process of searching, I have found the amazing artist Paweł Mielnik online. The collaboration with Paweł was an amazing experience and The Sacrifice would have never been the complete artwork that it is now, without his talent and commitment. And yes, I’m always on the lookout for like-minded people and have a long list of artists I would absolutely be honoured to have the possibility to work with in the future.
“The Blind Emperor portrays the essence of a mythical land that tells of struggle that will lead to prosperity,” we read in the manifesto that comes along with your new work. Could you tell us more about the meaning it holds?
I’ve been intensely searching for answers and the ultimate truth. I think that theoretically, that would be the summary of all energy, information and feelings folded out in every dimension and every perspective. This would include all scientific knowledge and spiritual truth, yet known and not known to us. We might not be able to reach this in our form of existence. I’ve discovered that because of our limitations nothing comes without losing something else. Even in good things, choices have to be made. For instance, if you gain the knowledge you will lose naivety, to which there is quality as well. Or if you spend the majority of your time on one thing, you will naturally be behind in another. We just simply can’t have it all, but we also don’t have to have it all. The album Blind Emperor is about this journey, to fight for the truth of oneself, not to bend for the easy, and to find acceptance in the sacrifices and limitations. If you bend for the easy and give up your own truth, you might gain something out of it, but then you have also lost everything already. I think that you have to be in power to work towards your ideas, your truth while simultaneously letting yourself be guided by many elements like knowledge, feelings and intuition. The right balance of all these elements will lead to the right thoughts, wisdom and actions. I have explored and told these thoughts in an artistic work, the tale of the Blind Emperor, depicting the mysterious ways of life, musically in an epic, cinematic, choral and ambient techno album.
I think your sound is extremely difficult to classify in any musical genre. It is clear that it is close to electronic music, but your pieces could be stories narrated through sound waves. How would you define your sound? Who are your main references?
In my artistic vision, the most authentic and truthful delivery of certain information is the core principle. The storytelling is at the centre of my work. Shaping this intellectual information happens on many layers. Little hints are hiding in the auditive and visual layers, in the titles and storybooks and in the philosophical meaning behind it. The full story can be accessed through the summary of all layers. I wasn’t aware of the depth of my aspiration. In the beginning, I just wanted to create the best I could. At one point I could feel that my ambition was not purely musical. With time I was growing into the idea of The Allegorist and was able to consciously articulate my vision. One core element in my music is vocals. I really like to use vocals in my tracks, because my voice as a sound source is unique to me and truly mine. I believe the vibrations of my voice carry not only sound but my memories -snapshots from my deeply personal diary-, life experiences, thoughts and are a hub through my soul to other spirits and is an instrument of the universe. In a way, it’s an almost physical thread that leads ultimately to me and us and manifests my intellectual person and the messages in a tangible form, like a sculpture. My reference is life. My ideas come from reading, thinking and observing. I like to consume information from a broad field and collect ideas in many forms such as images, fragments of texts, clips, sometimes even just words.
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“For one empire to rise, another must fall,” you say in the poem you present on the occasion of The Sacrifice release, written by yourself. Were you clear that this new album would come from the hand of other resources that would help the audience to immerse themselves in your artistic universe?
When I start to make a track or album I never know where the journey will bring me. To create an album always takes many years for me and I put together the pieces one by one, building the ideas and the concept slowly. I never decide on anything before and often let myself be guided by intuitions and feelings on the way. Although I really enjoy the freedom art is giving me, I also have to be patient and open to let the artwork be born in a way it wants to and become its own in a way. The poem for The Sacrifice came as the very last piece of the album. The album was all ready and I think it wanted to say, I was born and this is who I am: “For one empire to rise, another must fall. For us to reach the highs, through dark holes we must crawl. For the vision in the deep, we need, we sacrifice and bleed, to make the leap.”
From Redwinged Phoenix to War Priests, six tracks make up this new mini-album. What can you tell us about the creative process? Is there any anecdote you have experienced that you want to share with us?
The tracks from Blind Emperor are part of my current live show. Every live show I have played has been different and my shows are constantly evolving. But these tracks have been one of the first ones in my new techno set and they were created out of the live experience. In this album, I wanted to create a more homogenous and compact sound, with a shorter timeline in the storytelling than I used to do in the previous albums. Therefore I have limited some aspects of my work, and have chosen key elements in my approach, workflow and tools to focus on. I have put an emphasis on tension building and the experience of catharsis. I was determined to try to find a way to a sort of self-redemption, a freeing experience with the contrast of the longer swirling, rough passages and the epic, intense and dramatic climax. I was interested to create a work with a more ritualistic energy flow by adding a choral and cinematic quality to ambient techno. Technically I made the album with the Analog Rytm and Analog Four from Elektron and designed sophisticated choirs out of my vocals.
Blind Emperor has been released both digitally and on vinyl on your label, Awaken Chronicles. Why have you gone for this double formula?
The main reason was that The Allegorist is so much more than just music and I feel like releasing Blind Emperor also on vinyl gave me the opportunity to shape the whole vision into a more visible form. On vinyl, it was possible to highlight the concept and visual side of the album, with the cover artwork on the front, and the narrative (the tale of Blind Emperor, and poem of The Sacrifice) on the other side. Inside the vinyl, there is also a two-sided inlay with my favourite images from the music video The Sacrifice. Another reason was, that as it is set up right now, unfortunately, the future of music on digital platforms is uncertain and by creating a physical item there is the hope that they can outlast systematic defects. My releases feel like my own children to me and I’m trying to provide safe places for them. I really hope there will be a solution for digital music in the next decade, because we all, artists and consumers deserve better. And personally, I love digital music.
I have read that you will also present a remix album of Blind Emperor. Is this true?
Yes, I’m working on the remix album of Blind Emperor. It will be my first remix album. Many amazing artists and great friends will contribute to it, like Snakes Of Russia, Blush Response, Eraldo Bernocchi, Max Dahlhaus and more.
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