If someone hoped for completely new material from this legendary project, unfortunately, I have to disappoint you, because it is a re-release of the album originally released in 1997. However, as befits a decent reissue, everything was properly re-mastered, and a few previously unreleased recordings have also been added. With digital processing of analogue sound sources this dark ambient classic has gained a whole new dimension.
The album is inspired by the work of German scientist Wilhelm Reich, creator of the concept of orgone, the primary cosmic energy that affects the most basic elements of human existence. Schloss Tegal focuses mainly on Reich’s obsession with Unidentified Flying Objects, though a discourse on human sexuality is present here as well. Space and psychoanalysis entwined into one, more about it inside the booklet.
Musically this is simply classy. The album is extremely powerful and condensed, perfectly fitting its concept. Melody as such is almost impossible to find, all is based on massive walls of sound of a different hue, tone and intensity, depending on the track. At one time it may be an echo resonance between hundreds of kilometers of long underground corridors in mysterious research complexes. Sometimes a steady hum of machines of unknown origin and destination. It can also be a dull noise straight from the Earth’s core, or an audio personification of the solar wind – that reminds me of a great “Coital Affirmation”.
The associations can differ depending on the listener, but one thing seems the same for each and every one of them. This is not one of those calm and serene, conducive to relaxation albums. To be honest a lot of material aspiring to be described as dark ambient I treat exactly in this manner, like relaxation albums. Personally, I do not consider this a disadvantage, but I suppose the musician wouldn’t be satisfied being aware that his intricately constructed atmosphere of horror turns out to be a musical background to reading or a nice, almost imperceptible sound wallpaper. With “Oranur III” that is not possible, not a chance.
Schloss Tegal grabs your attention from beginning to end, sometimes by the nuances stuck inside the structure, sometimes by the interestingly woven voice samples. But above all, the by power mentioned in above. Music is presented from a position of strength – if you started listening to the album, you decided to participate in this experiment. I’m sorry, but it’s too late to retreat. You will feel helplessness, fear, but not the one straight from a cheap horror movie. Here, panic and anxiety are caused by the cold and dispassionate approach of examinating the object. Perhaps you’ve been abducted by aliens? Or maybe it’s a man of flesh and blood, driven by simple scientific curiosity, who performs inhuman experiments regardless of the ethical or moral consequences.
I once owned the original version on a re-recorded cassette. The tape has lost somewhere in time and space and in fact, today I wouldn’t even have the possibility to play it. Therefore it’s really great that thanks to Cold Spring we have the opportunity to enjoy this reissue. I think that after the rework mentioned on the beginning it’s still worth buying, even knowing the original. Sometimes these “deluxe” versions are a poor attempt to draw money from the fans. In this case it’s not an option.
Cold Spring Records