Schloss Tegal: Oranur III “The Third and Final Report”

Cold Spring, the living god of dark music.  Funk dat, make it the living pantheon of dark music.  For all of the great material he releases, he's also been known for re-releases, particularly of legendary underground dark ambient and industrial that both groundbreaking and genre-creating.  We already reviewed Ax's Metal Forest a few weeks ago, and as we finally finish up our backlog we came to this one.  Cold Spring has this way of causing us to pause.  The cover of this one reeks of ancient alien bullshit, the kind of thing Coast to Coast AM thrives on in order to pretend it should exist.  Never, ever would we have thought it possible to turn anything to do with aliens and/or UFOs into something cool again, but this proves it possible.  Get an idea and present it well, and you can make genius out of sewage.  Previously released in 1997, Oranur III "The Third and Final Report" is pure concept in action, and it does a great job of proving itself.  It comes in digital form from the original analog with two additional tracks, all surrounding the work of Wilhelm Reich, a man who not a simple amount of mystery still surrounds.  Research into UFOs, "lies" about his mental illness, research into creating weather, orgone energy, cloudbusters, it's a lifetime of scientific occult for you to investigate, and thus the perfect theme for such a historic release.  Dark ambient is too easy to pull off with mere keyboards, it's the true artists who created the movement who really knew what they were doing, too many of their modern incarnations are mere amateurs.  This, friends, is what dark ambient was supposed to be.
 

 
Oranur III makes aliens cool again, evil again.  How is it possible?  How are we aroused from our previous hate for the movement, able to go from big-eyed and stupid to Geiger?  Well, imagine that process and you get this, musically speaking.  The title track opens the work with eerie, metallic soundscapes that sound like the interior of some sort of otherworldly machine, something unspeakably foreign and sinister, and immediately you know exactly what makes this release so intense.  There's not a hint of what you'd expect.  If someone were to open a discussion of this release with "it's about aliens and UFOs," any variety of stereotyped sounds comes into your head, but you won't find any of them here.  This stuff is dark and foreboding, this is most certainly not a race of beings you ever want to meet, let alone envision.  But at the same time the sound is organic and real, it's something of a balance on which the world of dark ambient rests.  Oranur III lacks the technological sound of modern ambient and industrial, specifically because the first, original recordings of this work were created without computers.  When you find that hard to believe after listening to it, it's your first sign of mastery of craft.  Though some digital work was added for this re-release, the original structures are still quite evident, and quite simply amazing.

 

Creating these sounds with implements rather and single-key presses is something like comparing a film like the remake of The Thing to the kind of sci-fi tripe we have today.  Today, they rely too much on computers via CGI, which seems to cause them to forget basic laws of physics, which in turn creates an atmosphere that feels wholly unbelievable.  This is an important issue in music, as well, and here we see the reason why technology can often be a curse rather than a blessing.  When an artists has an entire symphony in one finger, said artist can lose sight of the work involved in creation, and it becomes merely an exercise in button-pressing.  Here, however, it's clear a great deal of thought went into these pieces.  Each one is layers and layers of horrifying, technological sounds created with barely an ounce of technology.  And that's what makes it all so conceivable.  Samples in "Coital Affirmation," for example, creep out of blackened drones and inward you find bizarre sexual symbolization through a juxtaposition of sound.  Pulling something this thought-provoking out of samples that, alone, would cause the more sane of us to cringe in embarrassment, is incredible.    Even almost twenty years after its creation, Oranur III "The Third and Final Report" proves why it was a defining moment for dark ambient.  Barely anything today can compare, unless it's released via Cold Spring, that is...

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Schloss Tegal: Oranur III "The Third and Final Report"
Cold Spring Records
5 / 5