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Aliens & Ghosts with-in the Machine [2013-08-20]

Oranur III "The Third Report" originally appeared back in 1995, and  it is now thought of  as one of the  first & key albums in the dark ambient genre. The album was released by the then two piece American project Schloss Tegal . I caught-up with the projects now solo member Richard Schneider (who now lives in Prague, Czechia) for an email interview to discuss Cold Spring’s recent reissues of Oranur III "The Third Report", up-coming reissues & new work.

The project takes it’s unusual name from a hospital castle near Berlin, that served as a psychiatric clinic treating soldiers with art and music therapy during WWII. The project started in 1991, and have so far released sixteen releases, which take-in: nine full lengths, and a selection of splits & EPs. Schloss Tegal sound is a mix of cold & brooding industrial structuring, dark ambience, and an often fairly heavy use of sample & field recording elements.

m[m]: Oranur III is based around the theories of controversial Austria Psychoanalysis & scientist Wilhelm Reich, and in particular his theories/ encounters with UFO’s. How/ when did you first become aware of his work? and when/why did you decide to start working on an album based around his concepts?
Richard I was first introduced to the theories of Wilhelm Reich by reading his books. I was interested in his studies on sex and the orgasm as a way for health and way to progress and understand the function of the orgasm as a life force. I later read an encounter about Wilhelm Reich and UFOS and became interested in orgone radiation and Reich's Orgonon laboratories. The album is loosely based on Wilhelm Reich's theories and contains many other concepts not related to Reich at all such as cattle mutilations, abductions, visitations and escaping the planet Earth and evolving into another species in some other place.

m[m]: You mention Reich's Orgonon laboratories in Rangeley , Maine, which are now open to the public as a museum- have you ever visited them? And what are your thoughts on Reich- Genius or madman?
I have never visited Reich's Orgone Laboratories, but I would like to in the future. I think Reich was on to something important with orgone energy and his orgone accumulators. It just makes sense that there is a life energy present within organic sentient beings. He hated war and big government control and was very hard headed and stubborn about bowing down to government agencies. He refused to cooperate with the Food and Drug Administration in the USA and that was subsequently his demise and imprisonment where he died. Many qualified scientists are still researching Reich's theories with great success, so there is some fact to Reich's findings. One track on Oranur III "The Third and Final Report", "Orena - Orop Terria" is named after one of these experiments with Reich's cloudbuster made it rain in a desert area.

m[m]: Have you every thought of covering more of Reich's theory’s/research in future release?
Not in a conscious sense but, the new CD "Psychometry" that I am recording now has elements of Reich's theories in its concept of reading the history of an object by holding that object and perceiving the history of the owner from the energy left behind by the owner of that object. It is possible that it is itself orgone energy that is left behind. This means that this energy could exist anywhere by whoever has touched it and left their imprint. Perhaps what is left behind is orgone in nature


m[m]: Can you tell us a little bit about how long it took to construct & record the Oranur III album?
Richard We had been working on many different recordings and the album was constructed from many different recordings throughout that time period. The best tracks were selected for the album and others were deleted.

m[m]: What equipment did you use to create the album? And where did you source the often unsettling sample matter from?
Hmm, I would rather not give out my techniques and source material. Let’s just say that it's made from analog and pre-digital tech sources used to create hyper-realism. The finished product is what is important to me. I will use anything I think will work even if it is a little dirty quality. I want to keep the realism of the source, like an anthropological film or sound document.

m[m]: On the back of the original CD issue of the album there’s a warning ‘Schloss Tegal will not be responsible for any strange or paranormal activity during the play back of this recording’- I wonder if you had any such experiences while recording the album?
Nothing happened that we could see with our primitive senses, perhaps something happened at a psychic level. The warning was there due to the source materials origin. However, when we recorded "The Soul Extinguished" the sound board engineer said he saw things moving and shadows while I was playing the human thighbone trumpet. It's a Tibetan instrument for calling the spirits. Maybe he was just imagining things induced by the sound of the human thighbone penetrating his psychic core.

m[m]: Have you ever had an supernatural or Alien experiences yourself?
Richard I did have one experience at a young age with a strange object in the sky. I was driving home around sunset on the interstate highway in Kansas when I saw beside the car about 2 miles away flying parallel with my car was a strange silver shining cigar shaped object. I thought it was just an airplane but it was too low to the ground to be a jet plane. I tracked it with my car until it travelled very fast into the distance at extreme speed until I could no longer see it. That was my only encounter with something like a UFO. I did have another psychic paranormal experience when I was about 5 years old. I was walking home when I was nearly struck by a car as I was crossing the street. As I was approaching the car, I felt hands or some force pushing me out of the way of the car before it struck me. It was very strange and I still remember it to this day.

m[m]: Oranur III is often quoted as one of the first & key dark ambient records- what are your thoughts on that label, and is that what you were striving for when you recorded it?
Richard We were not really striving to make any particular form of music or sound. We wanted to make scenes or mind movies. After "Black Static Transmission" came out, I read a review of it that stated that this album was "dark ambient". This was the first time I ever heard this term. Now dark ambient has become the standard term for this type of music. The same as how the term industrial music is used today. But, I liked being labelled dark ambient at the time. Now, it seems kind of a stagnant limiting classification. I think my new recordings go further than that. I am flattered that my sound was able to become a common term. That means that what I wanted to do worked. To make something totally original and new. But, I will leave that up to the critics to define.


m[m]: Oranur III has recently been reissued on Cold Spring records- can you tell us a little bit about how this came about?
Richard I had been talking with Cold Spring about reissuing some out of print album recordings for quite awhile and we finally got around to doing it. I was excited to have the opportunity to take the concept of these albums further using the new techniques that were not available to me while making the original recordings in the mid 90's. Cold Spring released a retrospect CD of Schloss Tegal's out of print vinyls and compilation tracks back in 2006 and the new redux versions seemed to be the right thing to do.

m[m]: For the reissue you have slightly re-worked & re-mixed the album- can you tell us a little about this process & what you feel is the major changes from the original issue of the album to the new version?
Richard Many of the original tracks became extended versions. Such as "We just got tired" was a very short ending epilogue. Now, it is an extended full version. Because at the time of the original recording it was not possible to make a vinyl record more that 20 minutes a side and retain good audio quality. These shorter versions were made longer for the CD format. It gave me the possibility to extrapolate on the concept of each track further and add more elements that I could not have added back then. Also more bonus tracks were added to make it more current for today's listeners. Another major change was the artwork and booklet concept and text to convey the new message. This recording has been issued three times. Once as a limited edition artwork vinyl by Artware Productions (Germany) and on my own Tegal Records (USA) as a CD. And now, as a CD redux version in 2012 on Cold Spring. This is why the title was changed from Oranur III "The Third Report" to Oranur III "The Third and Final Report" because this is the final issue of this album. It will not be issued again. That is why the title of the album was changed to define it as a new recording.

m[m]: How has the way you construct & build your sound changed over the years?
Richard My methods are the same as in the beginning of Schloss Tegal. Just the recording and editing is more advance today with digital recording. The way I construct an image is the same as it was when I first started recording, but now I am able to think about the creation of the recording more than in the past because there are so many options to use with computers. I try not to get to caught up too much into every new software synths or applications that come out. I just find what I like and comfortable with and use it. I want to spend time creating not trying to spend hours learning every new sound application. But, I am always looking for new ways to do things and manipulate them to my desires.

m[m]: One of my other favourite Schloss Tegal releases was Black Static Transmission. Can you tell us a little bit about how the idea/concept for this came about?
Richard We had been interested in EVPs for a long time and actually recorded some which led to more research into recording the dead. I was in contact with a mortician friend who was also a paranormal investigator and he provided some of the EVP source material for the CD. Black Static Transmission was a look into the dark abyss of death and what happens after death, and how it remained to be studied and recorded hence the name Black Static Transmission, transmissions of the dead.

m[m]: Do you have any plans to reissue Black Static Transmission?
Richard There have not been any plans yet to reissue Black Static Transmission. It was a very successful release and sold many copies and went into a second pressing when it was first released. Perhaps in the future it could be a possibility to reissue it again. Though all the release that are out of print and hard to find recordings are available as digital download from our web site and our bandcamp web page.


m[m]: Do you plan to reissue any of the other past Schloss Tegal release? And if so which?
I am currently reworking "Human Resource Exploitation" reduxed and remastered version for Cold Spring Records. It will contain reworked original tracks and many bonus tracks never released before to make it a full album. It was a recording that was originally an CDEP that was only for sale at the "Musique Ultimes" Festival in Never, France in 1997 with a special black numbered artwork cover. It was also released in a very small edition on Noise Museum Records in France. Many people have told me that this is one of their favorite Schloss Tegal recordings. I am currently working on a completely new album at the moment called "Psychometry" for release on Cold Spring in the near future.


m[m]: Can you tell us anything about the new release "Psychometry”- like it’s themes, sound, etc?
Richard Psychometry is a theory that an object can retain the history of its owner and this history can be read by psychics. I have always felt that consciousness is an electronic phenomenon and that these electronic impulses can be recorded into objects like stone solid objects. Our human body is basically water and electronic cables. it just makes sense to me that these impulses could be recorded in the environment. These are the thoughts behind the new release called "Psychometry”.


Thanks to Richard for his time/efforts with the interview, and use of the pictures used through-out the interview. The projects web page can be found  here

Roger Batty
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