In order to fully enjoy Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre), all you need is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a scene. Any scene will do, really. It could be as simple as watching people wait for transit, or perhaps people-watching at your favourite corner. Where you choose to observe is irrelevant, but don’t skimp out on the headphones. You want the full power and effect of Apparat’s 10th album, created initially for a stage production of Tolstoy’s Krieg und Frieden or War and Peace. Music for Theatre can transform any everyday mundane occurrence into something full of tension and mystery. That is the power of a good score and this is a great soundtrack for film, theatre or your life
Apparart is Sascha Ring, a German-based electronic producer whose albums have flirted with glitchy, moody, post rock nuances, but Music for Theatre is a different kind energy altogether. Largely void of the infectious beats for which he is known, Apparat submerges his theatrical score into ambient drone which proves to be both powerful and delicate at the same time. Singing on only two tracks and electing for the others to amble around in cavernous places, Music for Theatre is an eerie trip into tempered, grim and erratic soundcapes. Apparat creates tension in tracks like ‘Tod’ or ‘PV’ with revolving background noise that comes and goes in peaks and valleys. After 33 minutes of mostly dark ambient stew, ‘K&F Thema’, in two variations, changes the mood to a more post rock-meets-chamber orchestra feel lightening the tone and incorporating a gorgeously played piano to finish the first variation. The theme is then repeated using glockenspiels and other chiming instruments. The effect is simply beautiful and the slow, subtle build of the second variation rightly foreshadows the change in temperament in the final two tracks; a subtle bit of urgency enters the mix in ‘Austerlitz’ which fades out the noise and sets the stage for the grand finale… and what a finale.
While minimal in its delivery, Music for Film sets up to hold on to your attention from track to track by blending everything together seamlessly and with a disorienting aesthetic. The album plays with emotions for the first 40 minutes where you are pushed and pulled into different corners, until the brilliantly placed finisher. ’A Violet Sky’ breaks through the chaos and offers a clear and uplifting tone featuring Ring’s spinetingling vocals. On its own, the track is capable of taking up residence within the deepest layers of consciousness, but as a closer after 40 minutes of ambient storms, the payoff is even more impressive.
Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre)’s emotionally draining moments are similar to Sigur Rós and seem unhurried even though only two tracks reach beyond the 6 minute mark. The tracks’ lasting footprints are achieved by creating a perfect, unified flow between them causing a rather unsettling feeling if you decided to listen to the songs individually. Like theatre, everything is set up for closure and the album beckons you to start and finish it in one listen. This is a testament to the creator who, for years, has given us many single tracks to get excited about. With Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre), Apparat has created yet another awesome dimension to his diverse catalogue of releases.