Ancient Methods’ first LP combines the arcane, the mystic, and the industrial, resulting in a diverse, powerful and striking work of art. [social_warfare]
Ancient Methods, aka Michael Wollenhaupt, is one of the unquestionable icons of today’s industrial techno. His unique, boundless approach to the genre has allowed him to become an influential, highly-regarded and inspiring producer. Known for his killer live performances, collaborations with big industry names, and brilliant remixes, Michael isn’t a stranger to anyone with an ear for techno. However, there is something that could be new for many: he has just started a label under his own alias, Ancient Methods. Naturally, this piece of news deserves a grand celebration. And, well, there’s no better way to do it than to put his debut LP — The Jericho Records — on the turntable. It was released on October 1st and is a massive milestone in Michael’s career.
It seems Mr. Wollenhaupt had everything perfectly planned. Firstly, the best way for anyone to release their very first LP and make the first entry in your own label’s catalog (something that does not happen every day) is to join forces with undeniable masters, such as Prurient, Regis and Orphx. But Ancient Methods does not stop there and makes two bold personnel choices: Kind Dude on the one hand and Cindytalk on the other (the latter he had already teamed up with under the In The Mouth of the Wolf moniker). Even the art-work was created by Trine + Kim Design Studio, which is managed by Kim Solve of Blitzkrieg Baby, whom we much admire. Consider us intrigued!
The Jericho Records is a concept album where the author paints a heterogeneous soundscape around some biblical passages. Throughout the three chapters of the album (“The City Of Jericho”, “The Battle” and “The Aftermath”, each represented as one vinyl) he depicts these liturgic stories, building up the idea that “Music will tear down walls”, a statement used as a romantic war cry. The musical structure is far from stereotypical, boundless in terms of genre, and very visual. Albeit not a soundtrack in, let’s say, a John Williams sense, but, like a combination between Chu Ishikawa, Lustmord, and Raaf Jansen, it has a clear storyline behind it that structures the whole work. As a result, listeners should not expect a traditional Ancient Methods’ industrial techno EP. Rather, dark ambient, ritualistic and industrial techno compositions cohabitate in perfect harmony. In Silence and Walls, perhaps tracks that are closer to ambient music, open with magical layers, the very Jericho trumpets and a profound feeling of mystery or mysticism. They play a role as an introductory chapter, just before the 4/4 beat storm, which starts with the notably industrial Twelve Stones To Divide Jordan’s Sand, The House of Rahab or Swordsplay.
However, the outcome of the collaborations ends up being the most striking thing of all. Regis’ Array the Troop is undeniably reminiscent of Ugandan Methods’ live rituals: powerful, circular, employing traditional drums, factory sounds, and military-like rhythms. One step beyond is Orphx’s The Seven Shofars. Christina and Richie play with pulse and frequencies like no one else and, despite leaving their trademark rhythmical sound behind, the cinematic flavor they manage to give this track with is just mesmerizing. King Dude’s I Am Your New King brings in a cross-genre sound, a combination of dark folk vocals, black metal atmospheres, and techno kicks. Cindytalk’s Moonset adds a tragic elliptic mantra just before Walking On Cursed Soil, which features Prurient. This closing track is deeply in line with Mr. Fernow’s imagery and style: a simple, insistent 303-like bassline, a reverberated human voice that shifts from whispering to wild anger cries, a relentless circular beat, and thoughtfully-sculpted layers.
All in all, with The Jericho Records, Michael has proved three things to the world. First, he is completely capable of making a long play, and a superb one at that. Second, he has much more to offer than his famous industrial techno sound. And third, which probably applies to any human activity - when you team up with the right people, the result may be excellent. More power to Ancient Methods!
Ancient Methods - The Jericho Records
A2 Twelve Stones To Divide Jordan's Sand
A3 The City Awakes
B1 Treason Creeps In
B2 The House Of Rahab
C1 Array The Troops (feat. Regis)
C2 The Seven Shofars (feat. Orphx)
D1 Crack And Collapse In The Storm Of Lights
E1 Omen’s Duty
E2 I Am Your New King (feat. King Dude)
F1 Moonset (feat. Cindytalk)
F2 Walking On Cursed Soil (feat. Prurient)
F3 In Silence