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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Schloss Tegal - Musick For Madness [Eight Tower Records - 2021]

Originally released back 1991 Musick For Madness was the first sonic statement American post-industrial-come-unsettling ambient project Schloss Tegal. The release is highly important in not only the development of the project, but also the wider dark ambient genre and woozy/ blackly unwell industrial genres- that it very much informed and influenced. This CD release is the first time this album has been released since appearing in the 1990s as a C46.

The release appears on Italian label Eight Tower Records- who in the last year or so been releasing a lot of most interesting/ worthy ambient and industrial compilations, including our previous album of the month release The Black Stone – Music For Lovecraftian Summonings. The CD here is presented in a blood-red four-panel digipak with yellow texts, and featuring a picture of a skull on the front cover- also featured is a glossy four-page inlay taking in write-ups about the album, and the project. This release has a fairy small pressing of just 200 copies- so this is very much a buy now, or regret it later release!.

Schloss Tegal officially started as a project in the near 1989- and it’s an American duo bringing together Mark Burch & Richard Schneider. Musick For Madness was their first release, and it brought together material from between the years 1986 and 1990- it appeared in 1991 as a C46 on A State Of Flux- this came in two editions of twenty-five copies, the first featured a piece of stuck inside the front cover. After this, the duo went on to release important/ influential albums like 1993’s The Grand Guignol, 1995’s Oranur III "The Third Report", and 1999’s Black Static Transmission. The projects sound is largely grimly woozy and hazed- bringing together a dense & unease blend of drones, slurred industrial loops, drifting and muffled voice samples/ field recordings, and generally creepy/ oppressive audio elements. They took the industrial genre traits/ tropes, slurred and pulled them out to create a very unsettling, at points downright unnerving sound strew.
 
The original version of Musick For Madness took eight tracks- for this new reissue three previously unreleased tracks are added in, and these are spread throughout the CD. Also on this reissue the tracklisting altered/ adjusted somewhat, with the album now flowing as an effective and balanced fifty two minute album. 
 
The CD opens with the spot on four minutes of “Blood Of Sacrifice”, and this nicely eases you into Schloss Tegal grimly dreamy and dread-filled sonic world- with the track blending looped brooding ambient bass tones, sinisterly layered wordless vocals, and uneasy warbling ritual like feedback ebbs. As we move through the CD we come to the hazed chopping pluses and sourly swimming harmonics of “Smart Drug”. There’s the creepily disorientating spoken word/ unsettling laughter float and murky tone pounding of “The Father Is Omnipotent”. Or the sluggish and sinisterly dreamy “Vortex” with its blend of chilling reverbed vocal moans, loosely stabbing pluses and bleakly rolling harmonics.  
 
After so many years of being out of print, it’s great to see this important piece of 90’s post-industrial/ dark ambient release resurfacing- and it's such a  classy presentation from Eight Tower Records. But as I mentioned early, this CD is ltd to just 200 copies, so if this sounds like it could be interesting, I’d pick it up forthwith- to find out more and buy direct head here

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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