The Uhrwald (engl. “Clockwood”) – a place of dreams and sounds, with its own sense of time. Channelled into his band Die Wilde Jagd, Sebastian Lee Philipp’s obsession for this place unleashes a uniquely spellbinding project of minimalist, tenebrous intensity. Recorded in the studio which lends its name to the sophomore album, Uhrwald Orange weaves a dense, atmospheric web of drama, romance, ecstasy and melancholy.
Die Wilde Jagd released their debut album three years ago when Philipp teamed up with producer Ralf Beck (Nalin & Kane, Unit 4). Beck excused himself from “daily business” shortly afterwards, but he retains an important influence on the new LP: Not only did he co-produce and mix the tracks (joined by Australian producer Kris Baha in the final mixdown process), but his collection of vintage analogue synthesizers, drum computers and studio equipment gives Die Wilde Jagd’s music its unique, dextrously crafted character.
Philipp locked himself in Beck’s Uhrwald Orange studio for nights on end to transfer sonic interpretations of his world of images to tape: a nocturnal flight into the subconscious, through boughs and branches of a symbolic forest, the clockwood of the eponymous studio, into a strange world (“Fremde Welt”) where ghostly creatures reside – acid horses, bat boys, 2000 elephants (“Säuregäule”, “Flederboy”, “2000 Elefanten”).
Flemish artist Frans Snyder (1579–1657) provides inspiration with his painting “Animals of the Night” as does the 14th-century collection of songs “Llibre Vermell de Montserrat”. Philipp’s repetitive electronic sequences include Mediterranean mandolins, psychedelic bass/guitar loops, Georgian choirs and rattling North African krakebs. Medieval church music mixes with European folklore and improvised jams on this aural journey through the Orient and Occident – from dark Nordic woods to the Eastern dawn.
Philipp offers us an insight into his hermetic world of ideas on eight tracks – five of which are instrumentals, three with lyrics – enriched by sounds of nature captured on a trip through Portugal: he conjures up visions of desolate poppy fields and gorse valleys, itinerant souls, biblical motifs, rapture, womanhood, reincarnation.
Uhrwald Orange is, of course, also Philipp’s ode to the recording studio itself, to the analogue gear and the ubiquitous EMT Plate reverb. This is where he could realise the sound he imagined, all within Beck’s own framework of compressors, preamps and signal paths.
Philipp has this to say about his work in the studio:
“I want to make the equipment in the studio sing, build a world of sound in which every tone, every effect has its own voice. Iron bells become galloping hooves, synthesizers call like crows, plate reverbs rumble like thunder. Every element can be found amongst the dwellers and natural forces of the Clockwood Orange.”
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