Skinny Puppy, “Dig It” (1986)

Canadian industrial rock pioneers Skinny Puppy released the single “Dig It,” from their album Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse (Nettwerk Records), in 1986. The cover art for the single features Gustave Doré’s illustration of Farinata degli Uberti rising from his tomb among the heretics of the sixth circle (canto 10).

Read an interview with graphic designer Steven R. Gilmore, who designed the single’s cover art, here.

Watch the official music video for Skinny Puppy’s “Dig It” on YouTube.

Contributed by Alexa Kellenberger (Florida State University ’22)

Nirvana Sued For Use of “Upper Hell” Map

“Move over smiley face. Welcome to the Seventh Circle of Hell.

“Nineties grunge-rock band Nirvana, already embroiled in a long-running legal battle against fashion company Marc Jacobs over its ‘happy face’ t-shirt designs, now finds itself on the less happy end of a new copyright infringement lawsuit worthy of Dante’s trip through the underworld.

“The complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles [in April 2021], claims that Nirvana infringed an illustration first published in a 1949 English language translation of Dante’s Inferno. The drawing depicts Dante’s circles of Upper Hell and, like Nirvana’s smiley face logo, has been featured on the band’s merchandise for decades. [. . .]”   –Aaron Moss, “Foreign Works, US Rights: The 7th Circle of Copyright Hell?” on Copyright Lately (April 30, 2021)

The disputed image was featured on the B-side of Nirvana’s debut album Bleach (Sub Pop Records, 1989).

Contributed by Jared Brust (Florida State University ’21)

how the night came, Dante’s Purgatory (2019 album)

how the night came is a soundscape creator and instrumental music artist based in Japan. In fall 2019 how the night came released three albums based on each of the three canticles of Dante’s Commedia: Dante’s Inferno (September 7, 2019), Dante’s Purgatory (October 12, 2019), and Dante’s Paradise (October 27, 2019). Each of these (especially Inferno and Purgatory) are grounded in close interpretation of and serious reflection on the poem, as evidenced by the descriptions given in the liner notes.

Of particular interest is how the night came’s sonic interpretation of Dante’s Purgatory. The description explains, “Since the setting of Purgatory is an earthquake prone mountain covered with walls of rock, massive boulders, stone steps, white marble carvings, the prideful being punished by bearing the weight of heavy rocks, stone effigies, and pavements, I wanted to incorporate stone into my composition.” Some of the album’s sounds are created using acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, keyboard, stones, chopsticks, and silence. Of the theme “BEATRICE,” which marks the arrival of Beatrice in Purgatorio 30 (15:57-16:30 in the album’s single track), the artist writes:

BEATRICE is 33 seconds of silence. Her demolition of Dante is a staggering moment of world literature. Here, we read a medieval male poet attacking himself through the voice of a female. Initially, Beatrice turns to the angels to lambaste Dante, and when she finally addresses him… it is extremely painful for us to hear. I tried several musical themes for this moment, but they all failed miserably. I then recalled the scene in Taxi Driver when Travis (Robert De Niro) makes a humiliating phone call to Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) – Martin Scorcese has the camera turn away, as if to spare us seeing another human being suffer the pain of rejection. And thus silence – in this case, the musical equivalent of pulling the camera away – finally offered itself as the most fitting means for communicating Dante’s sense of loss, guilt, shame and inadequacy.

“(Perhaps this silence can also be heard as an expression of the absence of Virgil, who left Dante at the end of Canto 27).

“The silence is broken by the return of the Earthly Paradise theme, but this time it is quantized, the newly punctuated rhythms signifying the beginning of the strict realignment of Dante’s soul.”   —how the night came’s WordPress site (accessed May 18, 2021)

Listen on YouTube, bandcamp, or Soundcloud.

Lil Nas X, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

The music video for Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” has drawn many comparisons to Dante’s Inferno for its depiction of the singer’s descent to hell (and eventual lap dance of Satan). Here are a few quotes from media outlets:

“2021 is here, purgatory is (almost) over, and Lil Nas X is our Dante.”   –Halle Keifer for Vulture

“Artists have been imagining trips to hell for hundreds of years without anyone raising too much fuss, but then Dante wasn’t a gay black pop star. Also, as far as anyone knows, Dante didn’t promote the Divine Comedy by selling a limited-edition sneaker made with human blood, which is the approach Lil Nas X has been taking with ‘Montero.’ On Friday, news broke that Lil Nas X and MSCHF had collaborated on ‘Satan Shoes,’ a limited release of modified Nike Air Maxes decorated with pentagrams and a reference to Luke 10:18 (‘And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’) They’re only making 666 individually numbered pairs of shoes, and each one is made with a drop of real human blood. Not surprisingly, Nike wants everyone to know they had nothing to do with any of this.”   –Matthew Dessem in Slate

“In the ‘Montero’ video, Lil Nas X journeys from Garden of Eden to Dante’s inferno by sliding down a stripper pole (truly, twigs is correct in calling it iconic) [. . .].”   –Meagan Fredette for W Magazine

Watch the video on YouTube (accessed April 14, 2021)

 

“Through Me To Everlasting Pain You Go”

through-me-to-everlasting-pain-you-go-2021

“A monumental mix of dark and epic classical music based on Dante’s Inferno from The Divine Comedy to accompany you in your journey through the circles of hell, including Ludwig Van Beethoven, Stravinsky and Penderecki.”    — Moontopmountain, 8tracks, 2013.

Uffizi Galleries’ TikTok video featuring Dante and Virgil

“This TikTok video by the Uffizi Galleries uses works by Emilio Demi and Carlo Albacini and the song ‘Gotta Go My Own Way’ from Disney’s hit 2007 movie High School Musical 2. It plays on the moment Virgil leaves Dante in Purgatorio.”   –Contributor Kate McKee

The TikTok video was posted on Dantedì (March 25) 2021 in honor of the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin College ’22)

Cole Porter, “You’re The Top” (2009)

 

“you’re a rose/ you’re Inferno’s Dante/ you’re the nose/ on the great Durante”    –Cole Porter, Youtube, 2009.

Maurizio Guarini, live soundtrack for 1911 Inferno film (2017)

“I started this live project in 2017. The director of the Italian Institute of Culture had the idea, and asked me if I wanted to do a live soundtrack with the occasion of the International Seminar on Critical Approaches to Dante organized by the University of Toronto. I saw this incredible movie from 1911—the first Italian feature film ever. and I took up the challenge.

“This first performance, that took place at the Innis Town Hall (University of Toronto), received a great audience response, so I decided to go ahead and do more shows.”   —Maurizio Guarini

“Dante, Inferno light up DeWine on new song”

“John Dante has a message for Gov. Mike DeWine.

“John Dante and the Inferno will debut a new song called ‘Hello Gov’ner’ on a live EP set for release on Friday.

“The EP will be accompanied by a video version that was shot at Nexus Sound Studio in Youngstown and will debut on YouTube.”   –Andy Gray, Tribune Chronicle, 2020

Read the full article here.

Taemin, Music Video for “Want” (2019)

“At the end of the ‘WANT’ music video (3:03-3:19) by K-pop artist Taemin, the choreography takes place in front of [Rodin’s] gates of hell.”   –Contributor Parker Ridaught

“Want” was the title track and first single from Taemin’s second album, released in February 2019. The full video is available to view on YouTube.

Contributed by Parker Ridaught (Florida State University ’20)