Saturday, March 28, 2009

Karl Rossmann FRAGMENTS

Karl Rossmann Fragments
Autopsia: Karl Rossmann FRAGMENTS
Package: 4 glossy pages 180mm x 180mm
Ltd. edition of 500 handnumbered CDs
Style: Electronic, Acousmatic, Avantgarde
May 2009
CD on Illuminating Technologies

The Berlin Requiem review

The Berlin Requiem

An excellent recording of a very high standard, realised by Autopsia with the help of the Dämmerung Orchestra and recorded in Prague in 2006. Everything from the stern typography on the red and black cover, and the grim titles full of funerals and death, manifests a certain stateliness in the unblinking contemplation of various morbid facts. The music does likewise; it's as well produced and layered as cinema soundtrack music, full of lush orchestration and dynamic effects. It conveys a sense of staunch and Spartan steadfastness, even in the face of defeat, which its protagonist accepts with stoic and manful pride. I realise some of these sentiments may verge on the Nietzschean, a school of thinking which I personally reject wholeheartedly; no abyss-gazing takes place in my house, I'm here to tell you, nor am I given to pompous declarations about the nature of good and evil.

However, this Berlin Requiem offers a lot more subtlety and ambiguous reflections, particularly on the cold and chilling atmospheres summoned up by 'Retorten Genese', whose deep scrapes and electronic wails contrast beautifully with tiny chimes and soaring angelic choirs. 'Radical Machine 3.0' even has a drum machine, and for a few moments we might almost have a slice of electro-disco-doom which Coil would've loved, were it not for the intensely suffocating sense of unreality which this cut summons up. Bad dreams in store for all mankind. And there's the grandeur of 'Funeral Music II', one of the strongest tracks here, with its sturdy piano lines, mournful horns, timpani, gongs, and whiney oboe sound playing an evil melody, all conveying that sense of the processional and ceremonial that could feasibly apply to so many things in life, and not just a funeral march. Try listening to it on your iPod next time you make the daily commute to the office, and just note how your perception of the world changes drastically. The Funeral March theme makes three appearances on this album, and by its last turn around it's severely attenuated, stripped down – little remains but bare piano and chimes, and a very sad wind instrument, all conveying the sense of resignment in the face of massive loss. It's soon joined by a massing sense of menace as further creepy electronics and string layers start to accumulate and shuffle around the door lurkingly.

I suppose I have to give up the ghost and admit this is a 'death' record without pareil when we reach the last cut 'Sounds for Remembering Death', which unlike some of the compositions which at least have a melody you can follow, is almost nothing but vapours, mists, and foggy atmospheres. Even this apparently shapeless murk has been concocted by a maestro who knows how to assemble his elements to achieve optimum effect; a composer in other words, and not just another Black Metal wannabee with two synthesisers, an echo chamber and a limitless supply of foul imagery to feed his misanthropic emotions. What's interesting is that this record has clearly been composed and orchestrated with great skill and precision, yet it manages to summon up dark forces and generate a profound sense of malaise in short order. Autopsia is clearly a musician who performs his tasks with ruthless efficiency.

ED PINSENT, The Sound Projector magazine UK 09/08/2008

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Factory Rituals /archive recordings from 1988/, free download from

Autopsia Factory Rituals

As a rule of thumb, Heathen Harvest does not generally cover net releases. But, as Autopsia took the time to elaborately package and send a CD-R version of this release our way, we're going to go ahead and give them the benefit of a doubt. That, and we can't seem to get enough of the band around here! Factory Rituals was initially a soundtrack for an exhibition that Autopsia took part in in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1989. These tracks are not and were not available in any format prior to this digital release and as such can be considered their own entity. The tracks have been digitally remastered from the original 4-channel tape and contain no manipulations via computers or samplers.

This release will bring a nostalgic point of memory to any fan of Autopsia who has followed their works from their early days. As such, Factory Rituals sounds nearly exactly what one could conjure in their imagination about the sound of the workings inside. Upon the entrance of the work, we're led up a cold stone stairway through ornately carved wood doors into the factory, full of harmonic Gregorian chants. Monks shattered in time itself, amongst the ruined rusted metal fragments of existence. Mind you, it doesn't seem this release is meant to be a solidified conceptual album, but rather seven experimentations that play into this time frame (1984 – 1989). You WILL go between tracks, sometimes abruptly, and not be able to simply flow
with the music. As the press sheet states though, “Music is order and disorder”. Both, indeed, are found here in great volume.

From industrial rhythms and dark ambient backgrounds to relentless choral swells and droning to dramatic stringed sequences, Factory Rituals brings about music that is rarely heard these days. Too many put too much faith in the technology they use today as a means to create great works of industrial noise and experimental compositions. However, with this journey into the birth of Autopsia, it is quickly seen that the tools readily available to most of us, perhaps even collecting the dust of time in the basements of friends and family, are capable of creating quality and fascinating works.

As with most music on this level though, there is definitely a spiritual synthesis to be found in Factory Rituals. It is more than noise, more than music, more than making a point. There are few projects today who can claim to have the same passion for what they do now 20 years later down the road as they did in their artistic birth. Simply put, its through this authentic manifestation of talent that Autopsia not only continues to compose great works of art, but continues to inspire its listeners now two decades later. If you don't understand what I'm saying, feel free to check out the score artwork available for download with the album from their website. Intricate, beautiful, and strangely inhuman.

Sage Heathen Harvest

Available as free download at the Autopsia website, FACTORY RITUALS is a soundtrack
they did for an exhibition held in Belgrade back in 1989. The seven tracks of the album bring me back to the sound of the early Autopsia releases (the "Palladium", "The Knife" and "Death is the Mother of Beauty" years") when they used choruses, industrial sounds and military rhythms. I really appreciated this release as the tracks are able to create an hypnotic atmosphere (see track IV for example with that looped strings/blows orchestra) avoiding the boredom effect. Mind you, Autopsia isn't offering these high quality mp3s for free because they aren't worth a CD release as all the seven tracks are good ones. Download them all while they are available!
Maurizio Pustianaz, Chain DLK