HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA was formed by musicians based in four countries across three continents who currently play with or formerly have played with the likes of Estradasphere, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, Farmers Market, and more, the band coming to fruition amidst the early days of the global pandemic lockdowns. Gently playful in certain places, exhilarating in others, and even teetering on the brink of cacophony at times, the band’s debut The Egg That Never Opened is truly a dynamic and engaging listening experience for lovers of avant-garde, experimental, and progressive music of all shapes and sizes.
Grizzly, moody, and haunting in segments, At Last He Will is the second energetic single from The Egg That Never Opened. HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA wastes little time in taking traditional folk riffs and hammering angular time signatures and fiery guitar riffs into their fold, bringing a heaving monstrosity to life one bar at a time.
“At Last He Will is based on a Kurt Weill tune from the Three Penny Opera called Barbara Song, though we have severely bent it with some wild orchestration and odd meter adaptations,” offers the band’s Chris Bogen. “In some ways we feel that this tune is the most representative of the ‘sound’ of our full ensemble because it contains each of us playing our primary instruments. Like our first single, this track progresses the story of our album and functions as a dark foreshadowing of the turmoil that the protagonist will face.“
Tim Smolens adds, “Vocalist Caitlin O’Connor makes a guest appearance in an abstract role that we liken to a subconscious oracle with a surreal prophetic timbre to her voice. Kurt Weill wrote amazing tunes with wildly advanced chord progressions and reharmonizations that mostly featured a musical theater/opera-style vocals. Instrumental renditions of his tunes are few and far between and was an angle that HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA found intriguing, and the fans are sure to love.”
HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA was born of the artistic frustrations of the pandemic and comprised of middle-aged collaborators scattered across The United States, Australia, Norway, and France. Focusing on superbly produced, enigmatic recordings, the diverse skillset of the various members traverses a wide landscape of musical learning from jazz, classical, rock, doo-wop, avant-garde, metal, various international folk music, and more. Spearheaded by Tim Smolens (Estradasphere, I.S.S., Don Salsa, session work with Secret Chiefs 3) and Chris Bogen (Doc Booger), the ensemble is filled out by Bär McKinnon (Umlaut, Mr. Bungle), Dave Murray (Estradasphere, Traun), Stian Carstensen (Farmers Market, collaborations with Jacob Collier, Mike Patton, Jimmy Rosenberg), and Timba Harris (Estradasphere, Probosci, session work with Secret Chiefs 3).
Fans of non-traditional uses of metal – such as were in play in their previous bands, or in the Baltic-esque stylings of Igorrr – will find themselves right at home within the thundering aural cosmos borne by The Egg That Never Opened. The unorthodox sonic landscape traversed on this forty-eight-minute musical odyssey is not entirely unexpected from a roster with this collective musical résumé. Yet it is somehow fresh, vibrant, and dare we say mature in its eclectic cadence. HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA makes music that is experimental but catchy; intense yet fun without being sophomoric, and deftly avoids the pitfalls of uber-technical progressive music.