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Amateur God: Professional Rainmaker
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
2003-03-04
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The hype simply begins: "Imagine if David Lynch directed a postmodern remake of the classic film Frankenstein." What would the soundtrack be like? No, it would be nothing like the drek Andy Warhol tried. It would something close to the sounds coming out of an ambient-techno group-person from Slovenia known as Amateur God.

Citing influences of Mylene Farmer, All About Eve, Type O Negative, Sisters of Mercy, Atrocity, Jean Michel Jarre, Orbital, Front 242, Rammstein, Art of Noise and Voivod, it's obvious that Amateur God pushes the night and electronics, though in a sparse way that is neither techno nor tranquil enough for a new age moniker. The gothic, mostly instrumental sounds that make up his current CD, Near Life Experience, on the Wampus label, are like pop music for zombies. Crafty, cagey collages of blender food. Shadows and substance and Friday the 13th Part 3-D suspense and Vertigo patience and all messages of classic and cultish horror can be found in the elegant stereo here.

MP3: "monument" (1.9M)

Those interested in three-dimensional articles may want to hook an ear into www.mp3.com/amateurgod where you can be transported to coursing Isaac Asimov landscapes where Empires rise and fall around ghost stories through the symbolic, often surreal audio landscapes. You might call Near Life Experience (aptly named) an aloof song cycle, just off in the distance, scaring but not quite stalking.

As Blaz Erzetic, the God himself says, 'The kind of music I make is a little hard to define, as it's a mixture of styles. I guess you could call it dark-quasi-gothic-semi-vocal-ambient. Although the music ventures into extremes sometimes, I wanted to keep its feet on the ground with some pop grips.'

That's a perfect statement. Ambient, with a touch of robotic female vocals sprinkled around give this man's music a heavy gothic sound. 'Genres that I like are very different among themselves and many of them have apparently no perceptible influence on the music I do. So the stuff that I like goes from (obviously) dark (Tiamat, Celtic Frost, Elend, Sundown, The Gathering...) and cyberpunk (Voivod, Mekong Delta, Dead Brain Cells...) to pop stuff (Mylene Farmer, Marjorie Biondo, Tanya Donnely...). I just love female vocal - I think it is more dynamic, emotional and expressive.'

But does that mean he's going to be off scoring George A. Romero films? 'Not really,' says Blaz. 'I watch them sometimes, but they're not really my passion. I just prefer this kind of literature and music. When I got my instruments and began writing the music I honestly didn't have a precise idea what would come out, but I surely had a vision of making something dark. Only after the album was finished, many people associated it with horror movie soundtracks and that's ok with me. It would be stimulating for me to put this music into a movie.'

MP3: "x-whiles" (2.2M)

If anything, the culture clash of being from another country works in Amateur God's favor. He brings a European flavor and collective consciousness to a genre which is still as revered as a good Halloween movie. 'I lived in the US for only 4 months and actually I live in Slovenia. The difference between the US and Europe is enormous, but in small things. Speaking of the musical scene, the US has the advantage of having the whole country sharing the same language and this widens the circle of audiences for great potential. I am sorry to say this, but the Slovenian commercial musical scene is disastrous. That's why many bands above average seek a label outside (Austria, Germany, UK, ...)'

But if you want to hear the man, you have to buy the CD. He's not into the concept of live music yet. 'When making the album I wasn't entranced with the idea of putting the music on stage. Some parts of the songs contain more than 20 contemporary sounds and that would need to involve many musicians or adapt the music for the stage.'

Having already achieved the dreams most music makers only toy with: a non-DIY label and a richly produced album; what is there left to conquer? 'When I was writing the album I had no clue if this music would be accepted by the listeners or not. I was really glad that critics mostly liked the album and now I hope that greater audiences will take it with the same enthusiasm. If I really had the chance, I'd like to share the same stage with Project Pitchfork, having a live session together would be incredible. If it was for a studio project, I would love to have by my side Marjorie Biondo, Julianne Regan (ex All About Eve) or Laurent Boutonat (Mylene Farmer's songwriter). Many worlds yet to conquer!'

He's thankful for the fantastic start he's had. Blaz/Amateur God would just like to grow as an artist and keep the good times rolling, skeletal though those old rolling bones may be.

www.mp3.com/amateurgod
www.amateurgod.com


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