The conception of integrated music, embodied in the formation SKROL, arose from the visions of its spiritual father Vladimir Hirsch (composition, keyboards, drums, programming, vocal) at the beginning of 1996, when he was joined by Martina Sanollová (former Sweeney) (vocal, keyboard, percussion) and Tom Saivon (words, samples).
SKROL's first musical inventions were projected into Insomnia Dei (CatchArrow Recordings, 1997), where majestic and uncompromising music, based on Slavonic melodiousness, trampled on and brutalized by the industrial noises and modern technology sounds, comes to life. The compact and repetitive up-beat intensity of the music pieces (“Movie Martyr, Uniformity Celebration March, Soaking, Dei irae” etc.) is in full harmony with the basic philosophy of the eternal tossing between the idea and reality, of the never-ending “cogito ergo sum”. The work on SKROL's second project Heretical Antiphony was definitely terminated in August 1998.
Unlike the previous album Heretical Antiphony is a markedly more introspective project compressed by some
inescapable burden of fate. Even if proclamatory and uncompromising diction is still to be heard, it becomes
subject to mostly dominating anguish, humbleness and delivery. At the very end of the heretical story one can
feel an unpleasant conviction of the vanity of eternal human struggle appraisable not in its outcome but taken
by itself. The unquenchable dialog between two antagonistic faces of our seemingly unipolar truth. The listener
can hardly discover any sign of apology, this fact basically being documented by the intentional antithetical
and paradoxical character of lyrics. For all the contradicting appearances is the religious nature of the suite
In September 1998 SKROL releases its first official recording - 10”LP Martyria on the German label LOKI Foundation/Power and Steel. The project finds warm favor among neo-classical industrial music fans in Bohemia, Germany, U.K., France, Russia, U.S.A. and Brazil. CD Heretical Antiphony released in August 1999 on the German label M.D.Propaganda. SKROL accompanies the edition of this project by a successful tour of Germany. Since autumn 1999 the band is currently working on their third album Dances and Marches, based on a more volcanic and martial conception taking up the threads of a substantially introvert simulacrum of Heretical Antiphony and simultaneously completing a more extensive project New Laws/New Orders, eclectically concentrating all processes of integrated production, which is in distribution on CDR in the basic instrument version.
In June 2001 SKROL undertook a three-week tour of the United States (New York, Boston, Pittsburgh,
Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, et al.). The tour was supposed to promote the album Insomnia Dei,
which was supposed to come out at the time at Chromosome Records. Since this did not come to pass,
the group presented a selection of their actual production and simultaneously introduced here its
newly up-sprung off-shoot AGHIATRIAS.
The program AGHIATRIAS is a sort of extrapolation of neo-classicist (Vladimír Hirsch-composition, keyboards, samplers) and noise (Tom Saivon-noise-generator, samples) tendencies within SKROL – a gradual mutual intergrowing of basic theses and antitheses of both members, brought to life as a homogenous structure. The project's essence lies in the grasping of both ways in such a way as to make them mutually exchange their principal formal attributes, both on the basis of sharp confrontation a nd of open mutual perception, which should result in the union of seemingly irreconcilable worlds. This happens through musical symbolism of their transubstantiation into one indivisible essence – an act representing the metaphorical and philosophical principle of the formation's work. This idea was conceived at the end of the year 1998, but its realisation was very slow and so the final work on the first album Field Mass dates from December 2000, when it was also first presented live. The CD is still awaiting its official release and is available since the first shows in private edition.
Since the end of 2000 the group is working on a new recording, named Epidaemia vanitatis, its basic theme are the methods of spreading and inter-growing anthropocentric principles of thought, namely as a perfect way of manipulating society. This album is currently in the stage of final arrangement and its release is planned for March of this year as the first release on the new label INTEGRATED MUSIC RECORDS - a joint activity of the trio Hirsch, Saivon, Sweeney, for all related projects as well. One of them is also ZYGOTE (Vladimír Hirsch-composition, all instruments), arising in 1998 as another model alternative of integrated musical form. Its foundation was the primarily instrumental version of the album called Sense Geometry. This album is inspired by structural principles, based on the musical application of fictive geometrical symbolism of certain physiological mechanisms of the psyche. It is an attempt to detect or demonstrate the existence of a certain order within the seeming chaos. The author titles this musical form of mathematical theory analogously as the so-called fractal musical geometry. For this purposes he makes use of intervals logic signals, rhythm, structure and instrumentation. Sound is and important component, creating a lightly structured yet tense atmosphere, where the industrialised instrumentation of the pieces plays the role of a chaotic and, at once, irritating element, the hypnoticising conception of rhythm then the role of a mediator of order, pointing our perception towards other, more meditative levels of view. In 1999 the project is joined by Martina Sanollová (vocals), augmenting the effect by supplying the exacerbated sensuality of her vocal conception, fully within the intentions aimed for. With regard to the success of joint stage presentations (Bohemia, Poland, Germany) the group is finishing the final version of an album in spring 2000, with Czech lyrics (mostly penned by Tom Saivon), called Geometry of unconsciousness. The album is also to be released on the label INTEGRATED MUSIC RECORDS. From the above said it is clear that the activities of all founding members of SKROL is very broad, not excluding strictly solo projects of the protagonists.
Vladimír Hirsch (this only in the period of joint activity of the trio) composed two symphonies for an integrated orchestra (Symphony no.2 and 3) and a number of organ, piano and chamber compositions (for example Concert industriel pour l´orgue). The last symphonic composition, Symphony no.3, was presented – with success - for the first time in December 1999 within the Festival of industrial and postindustrial culture, under the patronage of the Open Society Fund, who provided a grant to the author. Its release on a standard medium was undertaken by Chromozome (USA). Next in line is the project SUBPOP SQUEEZE (albums Arsenica/Less Than Nothing /CDR 1996/ and Dream Monsters Exorcism /CDR 1999), preserving the style of rock-music composition, but song-wise elaborated in the dimension of integrated musical conception. In July 1999 Hirsch realises his long-planned Missa pestilens integra – a nesting-in of authentic, unmixed parts of Diamanda Galás' PLAGUE MASS into a compositional form, with integrally conceived sound and arrangements and added shorter compositions, intended as an authorial partnership. The aim of this fusion was both to enrich the harsh, typically for its protagonist self-oriented, project instrumentally, but mainly to divert it from its traditionally blasphemous route, being simultaneously – with indubitable appreciation of the author's artistic qualities - a light expression of dissent with the horror-theatre ostentatiousness of her production. A new project, symphonically construed, is the suite, currently being completed, Descent From The Cross, intended by Hirsch for presentation under the heading of SKROL in co-operation with an ensemble, headed by him, called the Czech integrated ensemble (CIE).
Martina Sanollová also dedicates herself to her own performance project, called VIACTRIX, which is accompanied by Saivon's reproduced invasive noise samples. The newest piece traces her work 2001-2002, focused on system fatal disease / e.g. world fatal disease. This extreme body performance MORTAL ANCESCION will be presented at the upcoming audiovisual festival in Praha in autumn this year. Another performance project, called VIOLENTA PROJECTA, is a co-operation between Martina and three other Prague musicians – an all-female set-up, combining ambient and noise music with visual art and theatre. Violenta projecta is also to be presented at the international multimedia interdiscipline Female Avant-garde Festival, THE OTHER SEX, taking place in Praha this June. Martina contributes substantially to the organisational work around ARS MORTA UNIVERSUM, the formal side of concert presentations, she co-operates with Tom Saivon on film projections and she is the author of the stage strategy of presenting Hirsch's third symphony.
Tom Saivon is, for the eight year already, at the head of the agency ARS MORTA UNIVERSUM, thanks to which our country hosts less common, mostly distinctly untraditional musical and performance artistic acts (more than 250 shows in Bohemia, European and US Tours, band management). ARS MORTA UNIVERSUM is also a base for our own and other, varied, though related in conception, artists and formations (Einleitungszeit, VO.ID., Seismic Wave Factory, atd.). Since the end of the year 2000 he is working on an authorial debut album Religio within the framework of his solo project UNIFORM aimed for release this summer. Saivon is also the author of an edited video recording from SKROL's live performances called WHAT THE EYE HAVE SEEN HAVE NOT SEEN, which saw the light of day in autumn of 1999.