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Apogee: Die Gläserne Wand & Schleifen

Die Gläserne Wand & Schleifen, the penultimate release by Apogee, is as ambitious and cinematic as it is dense and lengthy. Recorded over twenty years ago by German multiinstrumentalist Arne Schäfer (Versus X) and featuring lyrics and vocals by Gerald Heimann , the album is a full of ominous tones, inventive instrumentation, and dramatic performances. Although its words will mean nothing to those who don't speak the language and the music can be a bit too strange at times, the sheer uniqueness, intricacy, and overall attention to detail make it well worth hearing at least once.

Of the project, Schäfer says, "[it's] complex progressive rock based on the great progressive music of the seventies but often emerging out of the established rock field in various directions…from classic progressive rock into folk, heavy rock, jazz, baroque and renaissance music, minimal music…" Die Gläserne Wand & Schleifen may not be as accessible, special, or memorable as many—if not all—of its prog influences (it feels much more avant-garde, DIY, and self-serving), but its theatricality, opaqueness, and eccentricity make it stand out in its own right.

At roughly 140 minutes in length, the effort is probably the longest album I've ever heard. It's broken into two sections: "Die Gläserne Wand" (which contains five movements) and "Schleifen" (which contains two parts). Considering its intimidating duration, as well as how it really feels like one gigantic piece, discussing the individual tracks would be both tedious and redundant. Suffice to say that the music here is indeed an exquisite—if slightly repetitive and alienating—blend of all the genres mentioned above. Bits and pieces of classic acts like Gentle Giant, Amon Düül II, and Goblin shine through; however, it also feels like a lost sibling to the LPs of Nichelodeon.

Really, with its dark timbres (such as horns, strings, woodwinds, drums, guitar, and various bizarre synthesized horrors), hypnotic riffs, and engaging rhythms, the music here would fit perfectly as the soundtrack to a Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci film. It may not be the most approachable, warm, or melodically pleasing music around, but it's definitely in a world all its own.

Track Listing

"Die Gläserne Wand"

1. First Movement
2. Second Movement
3. Third Movement
4. Fourth Movement
5. Fifth Movement


6. Part One
7. Part Two

Added: April 15th 2013
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Official Site
Hits: 1745
Language: english

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