Orphée aux Enfers, the new album from German musician and composer Günter Schlienz is an exploratory and experimental music journey. It’s both playful and steely in its composition and arrangements as Schlienz blends both classic electronic experimental vibes from 70s German music innovators, as well as more modern touches. Using an array of DIY modular synths, tape machines, guitars, and field recordings, as well as viola, voices, piano, and saxophone, Orphée aux Enfers is a world of sound built with both the synthetic and organic.
According to record label Moon Glyph Records, “Günter Schlienz is an electronic musician and composer based in Stuttgart, Germany. He combines do-it-yourself modular synths, tape machines, guitar and field recordings to create cascading layers of ambience verging on musique concrète.”
Listening to something like “Eurydike”, those cascading layers of ambience come through beautifully. I feel as if I’ve been transported back 50 years. It has a patina quality to it, aged to perfection after years of dormancy. The electronic buzz and mysterious spaciousness of the track gives it just the right amount of shaded enlightenment. It’s nearly 13 minute run time makes for an extended listen into sparse, musical experiments. “Hades” has a dream-like quality to it; modular synth takes the place of a theremin as strings give the song an almost Japanese folk music quality. “Händel & Gluck” continues that playful, hazy vibe. It locks into the feel of classic Steve Reich and Terry Riley without ever feeling too close to their work.
Orphée aux Enfers is an enthralling escape into sound experimentation and compositional audacity. Dissonant headspaces combine with ambient bliss to make Günter Schlienz’ Moon Glyph Records debut an exciting and singular listening experience.
7.5 out of 10
Orphée aux Enfers is available now via Moon Glyph Records. Order it here.