A Peaceful War
German-born musician Sascha Ring, or Apparat, has come from a history of dance-oriented music to dabble in ambient sound crafting. Millions of unwitting listeners have already tuned into his work on a number of television shows that feature Apparat music, but very few of them know about Krieg und Frieden (Music for Theatre). In fact, no one really seems to know much about it. This, our latest album from Apparat, is a record released as covertly as possible. Ring decided to forego any kind of promotion for his latest work, opting instead to have it finished and released as soon as possible. The music itself is almost as quiet as the launch was, predominantly composed slow and hazy ambient tunes. It’s an unconventional album in many ways, not least of which being the fact that it is actually a score.
After opening on “A Violent Sky,” a song heavy on ringing arpeggios and quiet howls that are reminiscent of Radiohead, Krieg Und Frieden drops into moody territory. The gray and somber “Austerlitz” fades in and out softly, and transforms again into the melodically minimal “K&F Thema.” Ring’s mood and composition style are appropriate considering his work was created as the soundtrack to a stage production of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and the music holds its own even without staging behind it.
Pianos are featured prominently in this score’s theme, looping on dense, repetitive melodies that resemble the work of minimal composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass. More atmospheric windblown pieces like “Blank Page,” however, combine droning strings with ambient noise to reflect a mood of weariness and isolation. This is a cold record. It may not be a popular favorite for casual listening, but Krieg und Frieden offers much to be appreciated.
Few artists take on this kind of energy when working with the grandeur of a project like War and Peace. Apparat presents this sweeping epic of multiple families and hundreds of characters caught up in the Napoleonic war in a much more placid light than one would expect. Krieg und Frieden is a fine record, possibly a little too avant-garde for some tastes, but it is also a very unique look at a classic theme.