High Castle Teleorkestra
The Egg That Never Opened

Label: Art As Catharsis
Three similar bands: Estradasphere/Mr. Bungle/Farmers Market

Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. The Egg That Never Opened
2. Ich Bin's
3. The Aramchek Accusation
4. Valisystem A
5. At Last He Will
6. The Days of Blue Jeans Were Gone
7. Diagnosing Johnny
8. Placentia
9. Klawpeels: Mission Checkup
10. Mutual Hazard

Chris Bogen - guitars, keyboards, lap steel (1,4,7,9), melodica (2), noise collages (1, 5, 8, 9)
Stian Carstensen - accordion, pedal steel (1,2,4,9), vocals (1), rhythm guitar (10)
Timba Harris - violin, viola
Bär McKinnon - tenor sax, flute, clarinet, vocals (3,4), keyboards
Dave Murray - drums (1, 2, 3, 5, 10)
Tim Smolens - standup bass, electric basses, cello, vocals (1, 4, 7), grand piano, keyboards


Sai Boag - Synth (3)
Danny Heifetz - drums, vibraphone (4)
Pieta Hextall - bassoon (4)
Luke Kirley - trombone (1), tuba (1, 2)
Giani Lincan - cimbalom (10)
Monica Ludekens - french horn (4)
Vinnie “Saturn” Metts - drums (9), vibraphone (8)
Caitlin O’Connor - vocals (1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
George “GoPo” Phillips - noise collage: alligator people (8)
Rory Reagan - drums (2, 6, 7, 8)
Federico Randazzo - tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet (1, 7)
Adam Stacey - accordion (7)
Jason Usry - noise collage: weirdy phaser (8)
Jarle Vespestad - extra drums and percussion (10)
Antonie Veskovski - vibraphone (8)
John Whooley - tenor and alto saxophones (10)
Georgi Yanev - lead violin (10)

Produced by Tim Smolens and Chris Bogen
Tim Dolobear at Eclectica Studios, Nashville, Tennessee - Mixes run to ¼ inch tape
Udi Koomran - Vinyl Mastering
David Dines - Illustrations and Layout
Casey Brinegar, Kevin J. Shipp, and Larry Joe Smith - Video Team

Released 2022-06-17
Reviewed 2022-06-04


art as catharsis

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You take one look at the cover of the debut album by High Castle Teleorkestra and realise that it will probably be something a little bit different. That is of course not always the case, things that look different may sound indifferent but when it comes to this teleorkestra it is a bit different, perhaps even a little odd. The cover isn’t brilliant, but it tells the story, so what about the album itself.

There is a lot going on, a bit like a sci-fi apocalypse going on with some retro radio channel playing in the background – a little like Ukraine I suppose. The music is spanning a wide variety of stuff, classical folkish things, jazz, swing, vaudeville, some metal, some sci-fi soundtracky things, and a lot more – mostly instrumental but there are some voice here and there as well. The album is varied and well produced, unpredictable and well-written, there is a sense of creativeness over it – not the most common thing in the world of music. Sensible playing time as well, comes in 45 rpm 12” disks, 2-LP, which is a little odd but there is a sense of retro about these guys – fifties sci-fi perhaps.

It sounds a bit retro yet rather fresh, it is an excellent album in most regards. One thing I can like a bit less is that it sometimes feels like they are trying to add twists to the songs rather than just letting the twists come more naturally. Still, it is a great and very interesting album, perhaps not always a given choice, and it isn’t the most accessible one so if you are more into instant gratification and hit songs it might be a more challenging album. I like the second track Ich Bin’s that I find a very interesting track, my highlight of this album that is a nice breath of fresh creative air to the world of music.

I would have liked something really outstanding for this album to really take off, it is great but I can’t help but feeling that they missed a chance to make something truly remarkable. But still, great or excellent are good accolades to showcase that the debut album by HTC is well worth checking out, and that it is great album. With such a good debut one can also be forgiven for imagining more greatness, perhaps even something really timeless in the future. This could be the start of something very exciting – check it out if you think music should be creative.