Apparat – Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre)
Commissioned by noted German theatre producer Sebastian Hartmann, Berlin-based independent musician Apparat has been selected to score the new production of Tolstoy’s famed epic novel War and Peace, written about the French invasion of 19th century Russia. This stark and tumultuous subject matter is easily detectable from the outset of this ten-track concept album.
Earning international fame from his unique electronic and experimental sound, Apparat has tackled this project with a discerning eye, avoiding the many possible musical clichés that loom when tackling historic sagas on a scale as grandiose as War and Peace.
Opening with 44, the composer includes droning synths and sporadic cello (supplied by cellist Phillip Timm) – an almost unchanging union throughout. The track is followed by a “noise” version, which bears no variation, and really represents the suffering of war, if only in an audible sense.
Light On is the album’s highlight, and acts as a down-tempo beacon amidst the battlefield of the bland. This is one of only two tracks to feature vocals, and showcases the artist’s ability to evoke an ultra-modern ambience, manipulating layered vocals and muted drum loops, culminating in an ethereal neo-trance sound.
Tracks six and seven are the most traditionally structured songs, featuring horns, chord progressions, and elegant violin courtesy of Christoph Hartmann.
Closing track A Violent Sky seems positively up-tempo by comparison, and brings an arpeggiated cool to the proceedings, salted with hi-hat cadences and more trademark electro-vox.
Destined to tour, it will be interesting to see how the unique wall of sound will translate to a live audience without losing its surreal intricacy.
Apparat – Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre) was released on 18th February 2013.