Angizia Biography

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Source: http://www.angizia.com/

Angizia was founded by Engelke (Michael Haas) in 1994, above all to have the possibility to convert positive energy in a kind of artistic and egocentric expression. Engelke (for the present) – secluded in his chamber - worked on natural poetry, which he had to express with restricted musical means at this moment. The musical medium this time hadn’t been in the vein of Angizia’s baroque rhythms (the band used in the “Kemenaten”-era, 1997) or the really unconventional melody bows of the russian trilogy (“Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin”, “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”, “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”), but mainly gleamed in its graceful simplicity. In march 1995 Engelke developed the unofficial “Nordheim”-demo tape together with Szinonem (Cedric Müller), Emmerich and Henning, which Angizia never made accessible to the masses. Well, the “Nordheim” demo-tape Engelke understood as personal and important creation of ambitious musicians, whose ideas Angizia later integrated in conceptions such as “Kissarna” (Demo 1995), “Heidebilder” (split album with Amestigon) or “Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin” (CD 1997). In this time Engelke and Szinonem developed an intense musical friendship, which had been base and expression of the later released albums “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” (CD 1997) and “Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin” (CD 1997). Szinonem in those days was 16 years old and visited the conservatory of Vienna. He absolved countless of piano concerts at home and abroad and gleamed as classical genius in the Austrian television. At Szinonem’s precious grand piano Engelke and Szinonem compiled and developed the Angizia-foundations and thus the loan of an instrument, which will play an important role in Angizia for an indefinite period of time.

In November 1995 Angizia released the first official demo-tape (“Kissarna”), which was limited to 200 copies. “Kissarna” contained important musical “rough diamonds” of the later happened “Tagebuch”-era and found praised intercession in the musical underground. The music had been composed by Szinonem, Engelke and Jürgen Prokesch, who later played bass for “Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin” and “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” and today works as circus acrobat in Switzerland. Well, after amicable and commercial agreement with Napalm/Records Angizia conceived three songs for a split-CD (with Amestigon) in spring 1996. The musical content of these songs had been accepted because of its daring combination between classical music and metal, a symbiosis which was really rare (and exquisit) at this time and thus made Angizia to a kind of “trendsetter” for later (indeed more successful bands in a kind of profitable meaning for labels in this genre). “Heidebilder” had caused passionate and ardent, but also controversial opinions. For the first time Angizia made use of female vocals and engaged Aastedet as female contrast to Engelke in the musical conception.

Angizia developed itself into a kind of unconventional and crazy formation in a greedy musical underground and gave the piano more special emphasis in the course of time of the band’s existence. Both Engelke and Szinonem shifted the grand piano in Angizia’s extravagant theatrical foreground. Well, one large-scale year Engelke and Szinonem worked for (and tinkered at) the pompous debut-album “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter”; a work, which locked Angizia out of all musical drawers and categories and possibly has still remained one of the most discussed albums in the metal genre. The story around the gloomy court poet Konstanz Bürster, who had chosen to inhabit a (female) chamber for his old age (to write down his life), Engelke had put into the bombastic baroque-epoch of the 18th century (an era, which Szinonem and Engelke also thought of, while composing piano lines for the musical play). “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” faced the listener as musical setting of a theatrical play with musical chapters in an exceptional length and a pompous-baroque libretto, which included the soprano Irene Denner and the tenor Friedrich Rieder in the Angizia-ensemble for the first time. Engelke settled towards the convention (“printing the lyrics in the booklet”) and published the whole monodrama (in 5 acts) - word for word - in the booklet of “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter”. The album reached fantastic marks in German, Russian, Greek and Italian magazines, but gave rise to embarrass some bold (metal) reviewers, who wrote empty phrases (instead of honest words) in their reviews. A (concealed) fact, which showed, that “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” is an album they couldn’t handle. The crazy and unusual theatrical ensemble (increasingly) manifested in an exceptional “side street” of the musical underground and had become protected like noble vine in valuable “drawers” by its appreciated audience. It also became obvious that record companies weren’t equal to categorise Angizia the right way. Thus the Austrian eccentric developed itself into a big mystery of the musical industry and therefore exists as unconventional and musical “classic example” for comic, theatre and avantgarde.

In spring 1997 Engelke completed the novella “Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin”, which he understood as epic foundation for the 2nd Angizia-full-length-album and as start of a Russian orientated trilogy. The music for this conception Engelke and Szinonem already composed while recording “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” in the studio of Georg Hrauda in winter 1996/97. Well, both Engelke and Szinonem agreed on a transfer of fictitious “diary-writing downs” of the female Finnish-Russian pauper Hanna Anikin – the egocentric & main character of Engelke’s story – into a “modern styled” melancholy tone poem. Engelke engaged the Tyrolese vocal (eminent) authority Christof Niederwieser (KOROVA) in the vocal trinity “Denner-Engelke-Niederwieser” and thus presented an adding and new charismatic voice to the Angizia audience. Irene Denner gleamed as female soloist and impressed the musical press with “musical-lines”, which have to be seen distanced from the current boring and superficial Gothic-Metal-blabber. In “Das Tagebuch der Hanna Anikin” Irene Denner was the ingenious vocal contrast to Engelke and Christof Niederwieser. Szinonem’s piano playing distanced from the pompous musical structures of “Die Kemenaten scharlachroter Lichter” and dominated a musical medley around flutes, trombones, acoustic and electric guitars, drums and crazy vocals. For the first time Angizia co-operated with the female painting artist Gabriele Böck, who has created the picture “Weg zum Flug” as aesthetical metaphor and interpretation of “Die Fieberschauer eines betrunknen schwarzen Schmetterlings”. Well, Szinonem (this time had been 19 years old) and made the decision to work exclusively under his real name Cedric Müller (as of now). After some conflicts and disagreements Engelke and Szinonem finished their cooperation and thus first shocked the Angizia-audience. It is rumoured, that “genius” and “madness” had been next to each other and that the really extroverted Cedric Müller hadn’t accepted his grand as medium of his artistic work anymore. He founded the Industrial/Pop/Metal-Formation “The Virus” and left Angizia in 1997. Thus Engelke once more exchanged his collective and engaged new musicians to reach another aim: The musical conception of his novella “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”.

He engaged the virtuoso violinist Roland Bentz as guest musician such as the accordionist Florian Oberlechner for “Der Essayist” and brotherly separated from his friend Henning, who couldn’t find enough time anymore for a further large-scale project such as “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”. Well, Engelke this time started an intense cooperation with Angizia’s-guitar player Emmerich Haimer to compose the music for “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” in spring 1998. What came into being was a harmonious, melodious and extravagant medley consisting of dramatic elements and unconventional-humorous rhythms, which could give Angizia a new, but still unequalled look for the year 1999. The cooperation between Emmerich Haimer and Engelke required the necessity, to merge epic and “tone poem” in a way, which could be more unanimous than within previous albums; thus this cooperation amazed Angizia’s audience with the most appreciated Angizia-result up to now: “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”. Well, in 1998 drummer Moritz Neuner (KOROVA, KOROVAKILL, ex-DORNENREICH) and Jochen Stock (DORNENREICH), who played acoustic guitars for „Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias“, became an integral part in the rising Angizia-collective.

In “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” (1999) Engelke tells a story about two Russian chess players (1904-41), who both become busy to answer the question ‘bout the necessity and intention of the Russian social network and its hierarchy in (and with) decisive and indeed fatal games of chess. The protagonist of the story, Zacharias Kasakow, has been drummer boy in the Ukrainian army during his childhood, but decides to follow the teachings and chess theories of his father and to leave his drum behind. He followed his father’s theory, who was based on a scheme, which tried to socialise a simple board game with an intentional criticism upon the Russian social system (1900-1940). “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” developed itself to a kind of avantgardistic memorial of the Angizia-culture and once more demonstrated another musical modification, Engelke wished to reach with every new album. Julian Schönberg acted as timeless pianist, the music of the new album has to be seen as theatrical manifesto of an immortal musical formation. Timeless epic had been carried in its composition (in the same timeless way). Irene Denner gleamed with her charismatic female voice, which finally made her to a female unique specimen in the musical underground. Engelke acted as theatrical “infant terrible” and thus completed the vocal duet with Irene Denner as bold and crazy soloist. Christof Niederwieser once more aroused enthusiasm with fierce interpretation, but temporary became excluded from the vocal collective with modified musical Angizia-conceptions. Well, Gabriele Böck created the complete paintings for this album and thus enabled a perfect harmony between epic, libretto and painting art. With sensitive hands she interpreted the inner monologue of the protagonist Zacharias Kasakow, who wins his most important game to find real sense in his whole life. In a few hundred hours Engelke and Emmerich Haimer created their musical composition of “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias”, who made it possible for Angizia to walk new paths within the musical industry. Well, what Angizia’s record company Napalm/Records had feared, took place in 1999. On the one hand Angizia found a big audience, who understood to distance the crazy theatrical formation from the masses and a commercial orientated (indeed superficial) musical market; these music listeners will have time to enjoy the music of Angizia. On the other hand there are reviewers and music consumers, who had consciously been enervated by Angizia and its music; this part of the “listener-party” will have no time for demanding music, these listeners peer for catchy music with dozen of conventional and superficial musical elements. Of course the different demand of music listeners shared the Angizia- connoisseurs in two halfs. This indeed had been a foregone conclusion, which Angizia wasn’t and isn’t really interested in. From that onward Angizia drifted – bold, daring and boundless – like an aesthetic log in the sea of the musical industry…well, great distanced from these countless stranded boats, which disported themselves like disgruntled lackeys round the island of the money bringing king of the musical industry.

Two months before “Das Schachbrett des Trommelbuben Zacharias” had been released at Black Rose Productions (february 1999), Engelke was working on the theatrical play of his lifework “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”, which will appear to the listener as avantgardistic musical play. Aside from any musical borders and guidelines Engelke and Emmerich Haimer created effective short, but also longer songs for the up-to-date most intense, most crazy and insane Angizia-album. “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann” relates the tragic story ’bout four jewish musicians, who leave their hometown Lemberg to indulge in comic with beggars and poor men and to enrich the cold Russia with cheerful and lively circus-music and joy at life (during the I. & II. world war). For this most emphatic Angizia work so far, Engelke changed Angizia’s studio location and thought of a diligent cooperation with the famous violinist Roland Bentz, who besides his violine playing took over the important job as producer of the album. One busy year Angizia worked in Roland Bentz’ “Klangwerk”-studio in Steinbach to get a most satisfying result of “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”, an unconventional theatrical play, which Engelke (Michael Haas) thought in three acts and 16 chapters; a musical play, that presents all facets of the borderless, manifold & avantgardistic musical theatre.

Once more Engelke had to find artists, which have the right personality to deal with the Angizia-compositions, to deal with “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann”. Well, Moritz Neuner was replaced by jazz-drummer and important Angizia-member Alex Dostal, because of the fact, that Moritz Neuner had to absolve some tours with DORNENREICH long time and really has lived very distanced from Angizia’s home area. Mario Nentwich took over the important job as foolhardy pianist, Jochen Stock played bass for some songs and jazz-bassist Harald Hauser is Angizia-bassist since May 2001. Well, Krzysztof Dobrek became Angizia’s outstanding accordionist, Bernhard Seibt gleamed as fanatic-tragic circus clarinettist, Roland Bentz impressed with virtuoso and crazy violine-lines and bass singer Rainer Guggenberger completed the vocal trio around Engelke and Irene Denner. All these changes had been necessary to express the important balance between comic and tragic of this unusual story. Once more Angizia has fallen in love with eccentric instruments such as violine (Roland Bentz), accordion (Krzysztof Dobrek), clarinet (Bernhard Seibt), tuba, tambourine, triangel and typical funeral instruments and arranged them in insane, melancholic, but also circus- and comic-musical structures. Angizia also plans to convert the concept of “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann” for a performance on stage at home and abroad.

Gabriele Böck created dozen of excellent paintings in cause of an aesthetical and comic-tragic interpretation of the story and thus also outlined the course, which Engelke (who at present works under his real name “Michael Haas”) will let follow with Angizia in near future. Well, already in course of “39 Jahre für den Leierkastenmann” Angizia intensified the cooperation with the painting artist Gabriele Böck, whose burlesque-aesthetical creations gave Angizia and its musical works a new “still life”. All following Angizia-projects will demand this important cooperation, to express the importance of the artistic trinity of “epic, music and painting art” for the completion of Angizia’s work, with which Angizia wishes to be judged. The Angizia-mechanism will go on working unstoppable with new aims in the near future, as well as the band meanwhile decided to distance consciously from record labels, intentions and guidelines of the musical industry, to pursue its special art, which is complacent but not other people’s property. Well, thus you have to decide yourself, dear musical consumer, if you will relish the works of this unconventional theatrical formation or if you wish to distance – fair and upright – from the nonkonformism of this crazy band to realize that Angizia will still follow its artistic course in a defiant and obstinate way…aside flat trends and evident guidelines of the commercialized music market. “If you are mad and insane enough, so please follow Angizia’s trunk, who floats in the ocean and defies all this flat (and commercially orientated) islands, who wish to become serious for consumers with dopey slogans. If you become busy to hurry up, you will certainly reach the esteemed trunk of this eminent Austrian formation!”

August 2001

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