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Interview

Iron Cthulhu Apocalypse p2

Ambient music artist Iron Cthulhu Apocalypse recommends some favorite authors, a poet, and a manga artist, as well as a favorite biography, and works of fiction…

READERSVOICE.COM: What are some of your favorite other books, whether fiction, biography or other non fiction books?

IRON CTHULHU APOCALYPSE: When it comes to horror or weird fiction, Thomas Ligotti and Mark Samuels are at the top of my list. Mark Samuels isn’t as well-known as he should be, but his take on weird fiction is a little more accessible than Lovecraft or Ligotti without being dumbed down. Everyone should stop what they’re doing and get into Mark Samuels. His stories really embody the feeling of watching a movie in your head. Thomas Ligotti has written some of the greatest stories I’ve ever read. He makes the fantastic horror of Lovecraft real.
I also like Philip K Dick and some of Harlan Ellison, though Harlan is a little too hyper some of the time. Faith of Our Fathers by Philip K Dick is something everyone should read. For me, I prefer horror elements over everything else, but science fiction is great, too – especially when it’s weird or philosophically interesting. I like Junji Ito‘s horror mangas. Georg Trakl is probably my favorite poet.
As far as technically non-fiction books, I’m a big fan of John Keel‘s work. The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings was a book I read over and over again as a kid. Most people know John Keel from The Mothman Prophecies but I’ve liked everything I’ve read from him.

Biography-wise, there’s nothing of note except one guy: Paul Erdos. He was really an amazing guy. I admire people who live exactly how they want to, pursuing their obsessions without any concern for what’s popular or normal, and Paul Erdos is a perfect example of that. The book, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman was excellent. After checking out Mark Samuels, people should get that biography.

RV: Some of your albums have 100 songs on them, like Ghost Failure/ Necromuria. How long would an album like this, or 2000 Years of Blight, take to make, and how do you sit down and create a song?

ICA: My official albums are my 100-song length ones. Eventually the mini-albums wind up on a 100-song mega-album. As far as how long it takes, I create in binges, then stop for a while. So, it’s really hard to say. Maybe a year, all things considered.

As far as making a song, it’s really nothing more than starting with one sound and fiddling with it until it’s done. I like to use ambient granulation software and techniques such as slowing sounds down, using reverse reverberation and adding a lot of subtle distortion and lo-fidelity effects. Once you start doing that to any sound source, it becomes dark-ambient. Then it’s just a matter of adding a few more sounds to make it more interesting, assuming it needs them. But it’s a very mechanical and unintuitive process. I would compare it more to photography than music, in the sense that I don’t know what sounds I’m going to hear and I’m trying to let the random or procedurally generated aspects of the programs I use determine the flow of the composition much of the time.

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