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High Castle Teleorkestra biography
A multi-national unit HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA (HCT) were founded as a "remote" super-ensemble featuring Tim SMOLENS (bass, cello, keyboards, vocals, ex-ESTRADASPHERE, DON SALSA etc.), Chris BOGEN (guitars, keyboards), Bär McKINNON (tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet, ex-UMLÄUT, MR. BUNGLE), Dave MURRAY (drums, ex-ESTRADASPHERE, TRAUN), Timba HARRIS (violin, viola, ex-ESTRADASPHERE), and Stian CARSTENSEN (accordion, pedal steel, vocals, guitar, ex-FARMERS MARKET). Their debut abum "The Egg That Never Opened" was released in June 2022 via an Australian independent label Art As Catharsis Records.

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2.96 | 7 ratings
The Egg That Never Opened (Radio Free Albemuth Part 1)

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 The Egg That Never Opened (Radio Free Albemuth Part 1) by HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA album cover Studio Album, 2022
2.96 | 7 ratings

The Egg That Never Opened (Radio Free Albemuth Part 1)
High Castle Teleorkestra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic

3 stars And the spirit of Mr Bungle lives on well into the 21st century. Ever since the Bunglers introduced their uncannily unique concoction of music genre skipping to the world of experimental rock / prog / metal all the way back in the 1990s, many a band has attempted to step into the arena to replicate this roller coaster ride of musical gymnastics and while a few have come close to the sheer magnitude of the Bungler's adept musical maestrohood, most have fallen short of tackling such a tall order of incorporating everything but the kitchen sink and then throwing that in on occasion just for s.h.i.t.s and giggles.

While many such bands have come and gone, a few have succeeded in finding their own way. Estradasphere, Secret Chiefs 3, Pryapisme, Unexpect and Diablo Swing Orchestra have all forged their own path with great success but this is an arena only for the most well versed musicians who have an insatiable appetite for every genre under the sun. Well just when you think this musical menagerie has fizzled out with the world declaring Mr Bungle the indisputable champions of this musical maelstrom induced madness there's always another willing to give it a noble effort!

HIGH CASTLE TELEORKESTRA is the latest conglomeration of musical talent to take on the wonder world of short attention span music, the kind that hop, skips and jumps around the musical spectrum from extreme metal to avant-prog to surf rock, to jazz-fusion and then some ethnic music such as muzică lăutărească which is a style of Romanian folk music strongly influenced by music from Turkey and Russia in case you were wondering :) It's no surprise that many of these groups feature a revolving cast of similarly minded individuals from the greater Bungle family tree.

This band features Tim Smolens (Estradasphere, I.S.S., Don Salsa, etc), Chris Bogen (Doc Booger), Bär McKinnon (Umlaut, Mr. Bungle), Dave Murray (Estradasphere, Traun), Timba Harris (Estradasphere, Probosci) and Stian Carstensen (Farmers Market). The band's debut THE EGG THAT NEVER OPENED was released in June 2022 and features ten tracks with a total running time of just over 48 minutes. The whole affair is the usual shtick of simply letting melodies, rhythms and motifs shape shift from one style of music to a seemingly opposing and unrelated one. Coming off more as a cheap Estradasphere imitator than anything unfortunately HCT doesn't seem to capture the music magic that Bungle and Estradasphere did.

This is a pleasant ride and i don't mind listening to it but this is the big kids' club of musical achievement. Not only is a diverse musical palette a prerequisite but so is a fertile imagination bound with a never-ending codex of creativity and in the end THE EGG THAT NEVER OPENED seems to lack the creative part. The whole thing comes off as a been-there, done-that shtick that ultimately leaves me unsatisfied. The album basically drifts on switching things up between the aforementioned genre shifts but never really has any high moments. Add to that the number of musical genres also seems like a short list compared to the unthinkable musical amalgamations of the Bunglers, Estradasphere and other non-related bands like Unexpect, Pryapisme and HAH.

To my ears THE EGG seems to favor loungy cocktail music, the kind of bachelor pad space pop of the 1950s and the entire album feels a bit too random for its own good. Add to that there are no infectiously catchy grooves or pop hooks that really get your juices flowing. In short the entire album feels like a warming up session where all the members can get to know each other rather than getting down to business and crafting a meaty album that succeeds in blowing your mind. It's true that the bar has been raised high in this small field of genre jugglers so although this may have been revolutionary in perhaps the 1980s, in the modern era it sounds more like a series of demos from Estradasphere. Oh well, still a good album and hopefully the band will take things to the next level if they continue this project. OK but nothing more. No i haven't heard the bonus tracks on the deluxe version and honestly don't want to!  

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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