Apparat – Krieg und Frieden
In a world full of uncertainties, musical and other, one truth remains unwavering; Apparat is a true innovator. Consistently ahead of his time and boldly unpredictable Apparat is loyal to nothing other than the integrity of his music when he creates records.
Playing out like emotive essays or weighty tomes rather than a list of individual tracks his albums progress organically and naturally, weaving themselves in and around the heart until they slowly etch and stain it, like messily drawn tattoos.
Kreig und Frieden follows Apparat’s 2010 release, The Devils Walk which gracefully reflects Apparat’s token sound; progressive, deep, moving, ominous, dark, at times sinister, at others seductive. The stand out track, Candil de la Calle translates loosely to ‘light on the street’ in Spanish and closes the album. It’s pervasive beauty will never fade no matter how many times I hear it and it remains solidly as one of my favourite songs, ever. So, despite eagerly awaiting this release I also didn’t know if the perfection of The Devils Walk could be surpassed with it.
Indeed, when Apparat, the man who lives permanently outside the box admits (of Krieg und Frieden): “it really is a bit of a weird record” you definitely press play with more than a touch of trepidation. Translated to ‘Music for Theatre’ the record is directly linked to the musical production of War & Peace that Apparat was enlisted to produce by German playwright Sebastian Hartmann.
In Apparat, Hartmann’s selection was strategic, as Sasha Ring’s foundational approach to producing music is not dissimilar to Tolstoy’s was in his writing of War & Peace. Both artists apply elements of ambiguity and flexibility to the evolution of their work leaving the stories within open for interpretation by their audiences. Tolstoy centred his writing around components of reality and wound his narratives around significant historical events, linguistically intersecting them with drama and fantasy. Krieg und Frieden works on the same premise and the process of creation applied to it is what makes it most innovative.
By no means conventional, Hartmann & Ring disregarded any scripts of War & Peace and spent a month in an abandoned factory rehearsing with a 30 piece ensemble. In isolation for 4 weeks they were able to interpret the text musically letting it evolve organically, connecting it with performance and interjecting it with elements of both fantasy and reality. Like a blank canvas the open space allowed the music to develop it’s own personality; both blemished and magical at times.
Infamous for traversing the emotions via sound Apparat allowed the flaws of the music to shine, maintaining the raw intensity of the performance by not placing too much focus on editing to perfection.
Beyond that there was no initial intention to record Krieg und Frieden. It wasn’t meant to exist, which is probably why it fell into the world with such elegant aplomb.
Intended to be consumed as a whole movement it feels wrong dissecting Krieg Und Frieden by tracks, and it’s difficult to do so anyway. It flows seamlessly from one piece to the next as it ebbs and blurs into peaks and troughs of classical chaos. If I was pressed to pick a favourite track though it’d be Lighton. It’s got that distinct Apparat texturing to it; disconnected, clunky and jarring the heaving synths and strings circle and loop down into a hollow pit of desperation. Apparat’s voice peppers the track like fingerprints, reminding the audience subtly of his presence.
A Violent Sky wraps the albums up and is the most commercially palatable track of the lot. Centred around the sparse vocals of Apparat it balances out the melancholy of the previous pieces, dressing it with a lifted drum beat and hauling it into an optimistic reprise for the finale of Krieg und Frieden.
If you expect Apparat’s signature waves of ethereal, deconstructed, velvety, minimal tech Krieg und Frieden will leave you unfulfilled and perhaps puzzled. In this way the record is a departure from his usual sound. However, if you approach it with an open mind, as a piece of artwork, or a musical interpretation you will come to realise that Kreig un Frieden does infact perpetuate Apparat’s notoriety for injecting bottomless amounts of emotion into the construction of his music. It’s this uncapped portrayal of genuine feelings that cements his credibility as a producer of music that is able to irrefutably affect its audiences.
A free download of A Violent Sky is also available here.