In The Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece, a knight facing death looks into the abyss and sees no light. He prays to God but gets no answer. He asks Death to confirm that there is something beyond this world, but the Reaper has no information to share.
Bergman, who grew up the son of a pastor, wanted to believe; but, in the film, his knight has to have his doubts addressed before he can accept the end. If you shout into the void but no one answers, is there anyone there?
Letters to Gods (or Fallen Angels), organised by the Belgian composer and motorcycle rider, Jean-Marc Lederman, is based on a challenge to more than twenty singers: If you wrote to a god (or a fallen angel), what would you say? There is no promise of a faster response than Bergman’s knight received, but the project provides a more profane platform: CDs, accompanied by stories and images on the same theme.
The scale of the project is ambitious: more than twenty collaborators have been drawn in, assigned an instrumental track composed by Lederman, and asked to address the deity of their choice. Although some repetition might have been expected, in order to generate so many tracks, the songs are as diverse as the collaborators.
One of the highlights comes from Tom Shear (Assemblage 23), who shares the philosophical challenge of The Seventh Seal. “Why don’t you answer me?” he asks. Like Bergman’s knight, he receives no reply.
Claus Larsen (Leaether Strip) from Denmark asks to discard his chains. The recipient of his letter learns that forgiveness suits the industrial bear. Is the note to Martin Gore? The liner notes don’t say.
Rodney Orpheus (The Cassandra Complex) provides a semi-spoken piece set in a jazz bar in Heaven. “Hey, Jesus, fill up my glass with some more Holy Spirit!”
The combative debater complains about the absence of weather, up in the infinite sky, but what he really misses is arguing on the internet. Tell us about it.
Other contributions come from Mari Kattman (Mari & The Ghost, Helix), Elena Alice Fossi (Kirlian Camera, SPECTRA*paris), Mark Hockings (Mesh), Emileigh Rohn (Chiasm), Haydn Park-Patterson (The Ninth Wave), Louise Fraser (Muricidae), and a host of other singers from the alternative music scene. There are more perspectives than gods in the Pantheon, and something can be found for every taste.
Artwork comes in the form of a hardcover book (for the limited edition 2 x CD physical release) crafted by Erica Hinyot, featuring her visuals and three novels from Christina Z. (Witchblade Comics), Ceratomia, and Philippe Genion (à;GRUMH…).
No word, yet, if any gods or fallen angels have reacted to these letters, but stay tuned: sometimes they drop hints in their response songs.