"Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel"
Rezension von Stefanos Zachariadis
It was with great pleasure and anticipation that I first listened to ANGIZIA's 5th release, entitled "Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel" (which literally translates to "A dead person enjoys doing the Ringelspiel"). I had read a press release about this album saying that it was "An utterly insane release from the totally whacked-out Angizia". Now, I've very much enjoyed ANGIZIA since I first heard their second album, "Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin", and I found the description of "totally wacked-out" downright bizarre. Certainly, the music that these Austrians have produced is not conventional. Formed in 1994 in Vienna by Engelke, aka Michael Haas, ANGIZIA have released 5 concept albums delivered as musical theatre, featuring a number of vocalists (including Michael himself) singing in various languages (but mostly German), having collaborated with a number of musicians, including Cedric Mueller (Austrian classical musician) and Christof Niederwieser (KOROVA). Although my German is extremely limited and I have hence had a lot of difficulties in understanding the subject matter, ANGIZIA had always struck me with their ability to deliver emotional prose, via the use of many voices and classical musical instruments, with an emphasis on the grand piano. The music itself feels like a cohesive story. And the vocals, are very skillfully and passionately delivered. I wonder, does this sound like "totally wacked out" to you?
In "Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel" ANGIZIA employ no less that 4 vocalists, including the beautiful voice of Irene Denner and the haunting theatrics of Michael Haas himself. The voices accompany 11 musicians, playing instruments such as flutes, violins, clarinets , cellos, tubas etc. In the 24 tracks of this very full CD, ANGIZIA manage to outdo themselves once again, with beautiful musical imagery. Listening to this CD, I sometimes feel as if I'm watching Emir Kustirica's Black Cat White Cat. The GORAN BREGOVIC influences are there, along with some hints of SOPOR AETERNUS (without the breaking-down-and-whine in the microphone that SOPOR AETERNUS seems to like to indulge in) classicism. This release has even less to do with metal and rock music than previous ones (although Michael has always denied that ANGIZIA are a heavy metal band, fans, including myself did find references), and is even more theatrical and melodic than previous ones. From the jazzy "Totenackerswing", to the more conversationalist and operatic title track, "Ein Toter fährt gern Ringelspiel" is a neo-baroque (people will probably kill me for this description) record that's full of life, even though its lyrics seem to talk a lot about death. It is a great step forward from 2001's "39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann", from an amazing and unique band. Beautifully composed, masterfully delivered, full of emotion and innovation. So I ask again, does this sound "totally wacked out" to you? In this age of pre-packaged, talentless "music", this piece of artistic expression sounds like true genius to me. (5.5/6)