Sacrae Symphoniae nr. 1 by WeserberglandRelease date: February 18, 2022
Label: Apollon Records
In an interview that Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore did for the BBC honouring the complicated legacy of Lou Reed’s life nearly ten years ago at the time of his passing, he talked about his appreciation on his fifth studio album released in 1975 entitled, Metal Machine Music. “I figured that nobody really talked about Metal Machine Music and like how significant how that record was. There was no such thing as a noise record and that was the first noise record I’ve ever heard and it was by Lou Reed who was supposed to be doing Sally Can’t Dance Part 2!”
When you have an artist like Reed himself who wanted to do something different beyond Transformer and Sally Can’t Dance to name a few after the failure of Berlin. What Reed did, he wanted to push that envelope farther as he can go. And that’s the same thing with Weserbergland, they’re doing the same thing by following in Reed’s footsteps with the 39-minute suite Sacrae Symphoniae nr. 1 released on the Apollon label.
Mixed by John McEntire, mastered by Jacob Holm-Lupo, and the cover designed by Henning Lindahl, Sacrae Symphoniae is not for the faint of heart. This isn’t your typical romantic classical music motif brought to you by Tchaikovsky, but brought to you from the realms of founder Ketil Vestrum Einarsen.
What Einarsen wanted to do with the piece, is to make his own version of Metal Machine Music and take it up a notch, following in the footsteps of Stockhausen, Lou Reed, John Cage, Schoenberg, and Magma rolled into one. From the moment the piece begins the first six minutes begins with a massive feedback of a wall of noises, calling for help, and surreal dadaism at its peak.
There are sounds of violins, plucking guitar chords, screeching effects, and the nightmare bringing the forms of reality to life. But just as it calms down, intensive drum workout from Larsen and blaring fuzz-like bass sounds that Flaten does, sets up this incredible work-out for the horn section, setting up this dooming atmosphere that is exposed to the public.
And the reality becomes a shock to everyone watching at home, knowing that we’re having a big battle across the horizon. It really sent a shiver down my spine hearing this outbreak coming to life before it turns into a post-punk environment that makes you go back into the late ‘70s, early ‘80s with a revved up engine, driving down in the middle of the Mojave Desert as a sandstorm approaches with dangerous results.
The members know they have to prepare themselves for the massive dust to kick in and they shield themselves going through this CAN-like texture from the Tago Mago years honouring the late, great Holger Czukay and Michael Karoli as their spirit flows into their instruments to keep on going as the storm begins to breaks away. As the dust begins to clear, the horn and sax section deliver a message to the gods across the sky, knowing that they’ve accomplished their mission.
There’s a little bit of a piano flourish Ketil crates on a loop before returning back to the synths and programming devices to make Ingebrikt makes his bass turned into a monstrous sound before Maria’s arrangements, makes him calm down and give the other members carte blanche as they drive off into the futuristic city that awaits them.
It made me think of the first episode of the opening scene from the Animated Netflix series, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, based upon the video game franchise from Capcom. No not the live-action films, but the animated series itself is the one that made sense to me. And as both a listener and a viewer, you can never tell when the dead will start attacking and eating the terrorists at any second.
And for Weserbergland, they do the opposite of an alternate score for what’s about to happen. And I wished they had done the music for the series. Challenging, raw, eruptive, and pushing the envelope Weserbergland brought out the ammunition they needed to bring Sacrae Symphoniae nr. 1 to life in all of its intensive rage.
Yes it may take a lot of listens, yes it’s going to divide a line in the sand among classical music lovers, but this shit is the real deal for what they’ve brought to the table. If you’re in for a dangerous composition, then prepare yourself for the sacred symphony that awaits you.