"Satan is scary, he also provides something useful. He gives you an understanding of the world."
If you were setting out to find the Devil’s birthplace, the first place you should go is an air-conditioned room in Stockholm. This is the National Library of Sweden, where the vast illuminated manuscript Codex Gigas is kept. If you were to somehow get past the reinforced glass and turn the musty pages, darkened with centuries of light exposure, you could get to page 290 recto – a vast image of Satan, horns dripping with blood and twin tongues writhing around his neat white teeth.
This is where the Devil begins, if you ask Tom Lenton of electronic duo Delmer Darion. “While the Devil dates back a lot further than that, from my research [the 14th through 17th centuries] is the period where the average person had the most acute sense of the devil as a physical agent who could intervene in daily lives. That was always the most interesting place to start, I think. It partly speaks to why the page 290 recto in the Codex is so interesting, because it feels like a symbolic starting point in the history of the devil.”
The duo’s debut album, after five years spent recording, is due to be formally announced in the next couple of months. It traces the history of Satan, filtering medieval dread and 1980s paranoia into a beguiling mixture of IDM, shoegaze and ambient music. Their newly released track ‘Wildering’ shows off the IDM and ambient influences to great effect, all shattered vocals and hypnotic guitar building to a terrifying noise climax.
The record as a whole, though, feels closer to the more out-there explorations of Boards of Canada, especially the shoegaze and psych selected for last year’s Societas X Tape. It makes similar stylistic leaps between genres and styles, but – like Boards of Canada – Delmer Darion never lose their own identity to the concept or to the genres they choose to work in.